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Tuesday 5th December 2000 at 5pm 0 Comments


John Hewitt Bar, Donegall Street, Belfast

December 7th 2000



Lifetime Achievement award for renowned Irish traditional musician

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Irish Fest Foundation of Milwaukee Wisconsin, and private sponsors, will recognise Sean McGuire’s lifetime of achievement by awarding him a specially designed violin bow worth £2,350.

The bow was made by Stephen Bristow of the Hamilton Caswell Violin Shop in Bristol. Mr Bristow is widely recognised as one of Britain’s finest living bow makers. Working to Mr McGuire’s specifications, he has created a boldly magnificent instrument of snakewood, ebony and silver.

Sean McGuire is arguably the world’s most accomplished living Irish traditional musician. Certainly he is the most influential traditional instrumentalist to come from Northern Ireland, and will rank among the very top fiddle players of the 20th century.

Now 76 years old, he has a had a stellar recording career which began in the 1950s. He brings an impeccable classical technique to bear on the traditional repertoire, has an amazing capacity for improvisation, and is a magnificent performer. His music has been heard on stages across Europe and America.

His tunes, in particular his challenging version of the famous Scottish reel The Mason’s Apron, have left an indelible mark on the tradition. But equally important, he has been a tireless teacher of young people in Belfast. A number of very promising young fiddle players have benefited from his influence, including Maeve O'Hare, recently named Young Traditional Musician of the Year by the Irish-language television station TG4.

Appropriately Sean McGuire will be joined in performance by some of his students from the Andersonstown Traditional School, and by his regular guitarist and accordionist.

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