Matthew Breen – My Newry Musical Feis Experience
My name is Matthew Breen, and I was a prizewinner at the 2014 Newry Musical Feis. At present, I study at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, specialising in organ performance, whilst forging a career as a recitalist, church organist and choir director, accompanist and jazz pianist.
When I competed in the Feis, I was a school student with a few years of organ lessons behind me. The competition was an excellent opportunity to test and improve my skills as a performer. I was required to present a balanced and musically engaging programme on an unfamiliar organ in front of an audience. Most importantly, among that audience was the adjudicator, the revered Professor Gerard Gillen of Dublin's Pro-Cathedral. I was most excited to perform for Prof. Gillen and to hear his feedback on my playing, which was further developed in the subsequent masterclass at St Colman's College.
I was awarded recitals at St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh, and St George's, Belfast. At the time they were the two most important performances I had given so far, and I believe they were instrumental in helping me establish the beginnings of a performing career.
Newry Musical Feis provided to me, and continues to provide to young organ students the invaluable experience of performing for a distinguished recitalist and pedagogue, playing on a fine tracker organ in the exquisite acoustics of St Catherine's Church and receiving instruction and advice in a masterclass setting. For the winner, it offers two prestigious recitals that could give the student a taste for the career of a concert performer, as it did for me!Back