Former NCH Rising Star and 1st prize-winner of the 2012 Jaques Samuel Intercollegiate Piano Competition Fiachra Garvey is one of Ireland's best-loved concert pianists.

His many accolades include Dublin AXA, EU Prague and Collioure, France. Concerto highlights include performances with the Janáček Philharmonic, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, UCD Symphony Orchestra, RIAM Symphony Orchestra and the Hibernian Orchestra.

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Founder and Artistic Director of the West Wicklow Festival, since 2019 Fiachra has also been Artistic Director of the inaugural Vauxhall One Concert Series. He is also a board member of the Dublin International Piano Competition.

He curates his own Chamber Series, entitled Shared Dreams, at the National Concert Hall, on Sunday 3rd April and Friday 27th May 2022.

We asked Fiachra for his choice cultural picks...

FILM

Paul Laverty's Sorry We Missed You, directed by Ken Loach. It feels more like a quasi documentary than a film and casts a light on the horrific working conditions a lot of people on those infamous "zero hours" contracts have to endure. It’s very upsetting to see the protagonist working so hard to earn almost nothing at times due to all the penalties and fines he faces (for the most ludicrous of reasons), from his inhumane boss. At the same time it's a very inspiring film to see what one person is prepared to go through to provide for their family but it really re-affirms why these types of "contracts" should be illegal.

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MUSIC

A lot of Oasis at the moment, bringing me back to my school days in the 90’s / early 2000’s. Schubert is always a constant, there’s just some extra magic in his music that I can’t explain. I’m also enjoying getting to know the music of Amy Beach at the moment, too!

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BOOK

The Ipcress File. I love spy novels and this is just a must read. Never mind the movie or the current BBC series, the book is one of those you just can’t put down!

THEATRE

Lily Allen in 2:22. It was the first play I went to see with friends when lockdown in London ended and it was just such a joy to be in a full theatre watching a live performance again. I thought Lily Allen was wonderful in her first leading role in a West End production and despite an ending which I found disappointing, it was a lighthearted and fun outing.

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TV

The Hour. I think Ben Whishaw is a phenomenal actor. I would highly recommend London Spy, but I would even more highly recommend The Hour. Set in the 1950's it conveys all the fun that working in news broadcasting at that time must have been when media was vastly changing. The characters and the chemistry between them is so real, acting on another level!

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GIG

Gabriela Montero at the London Piano Festival in 2021. She studied with the same piano professor I did in London, Hamish Milne, who is sadly no longer with us. Gabriela can do things at the keyboard I think very few people alive can. Another fantastic gig was Mumford and Sons in the Phoenix Park in summer 2013, I think. The sun shone in Dublin and the vibe was everything great about large gatherings! I should also say (cheeky plug) I’d love to see people at the upcoming concerts I’ll be giving at the National Concert Hall on March 20th, April 3rd and May 27th. It would be great to see as many of you there as possible!! Also if anyone wants to escape the city for the beauty of Wicklow for chamber music look then look no further than the West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival, taking place from 18th -22nd May at Russborough House!

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TECH

I’m not into tech at all really but I do now perform using an iPad so I would say the app forScore has changed my life and helped me massively in not having to carry heavy music scores around with me anymore!

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THE NEXT BIG THING...

I’ve driven the same little VW Polo for the past 17 years and it has served me incredibly well, some highs and more recently a lot of lows! I’d love to buy an electric car but Ireland and the UK (the two countries I bounce between the most) just don’t have the infrastructure in place to make it practical for people like me who travel away from home a lot. So I hope the next big thing will be developing that infrastructure and electric cars becoming more affordable! I also think flares (as in trousers) are going to come back with a major bang!

Fiachra curates his Chamber Series Shared Dreams on Sunday 3rd April at 3pm and Friday 27th May at 8pm in the National Concert Hall - find out more here.