07 Oct 2022

Carlow’s top teen music talent sought for new substantial award

Carlow’s top teen music talent sought for new substantial award

Last year’s winner, 18-year-old pianist Stan O’Beirne

Good news for Carlow’s top teen music talent as the 2022 Top Security/Frank Maher Classical Music Awards has just been launched. 

With a €5,000 prize for the winner, it is the largest such competition for secondary schools in Ireland.

The closing date for entries is Friday October 7, 2022 and Irish TV and radio star Marty Whelan is master of ceremonies for the competition night in Dublin at the end of October.

Last year’s winner, 18-year-old pianist Stan O’Beirne (pictured) was at the photocall to launch details of the 2022 competition.

He has been awarded an Ad Astra Performing Arts Scholarship at UCD, which allows top performing students to develop their artistic talents while at the same time pursuing an academic degree.

Stan said:

“Winning the Frank Maher Award in 2021 was fantastic to have on my application for the UCD Scholarship. It means that I can study for my academic degree yet be supported in my piano studies at the highest level. I can continue entering competitions, performing in concerts and festivals and taking part in other events. It gives me so many options careerwise.”

The Top Security/Frank Maher Classical Music Awards were created in 2001 by Emmet O’Rafferty, chairman of the Top Security Group, to honour the memory of his late teacher, Fr Frank Maher, a pioneer in the nurturing of musical talent in secondary schools. They went nationwide in 2012.

Emmet said:

“The Awards are now into their eleventh year of national competition, and we never cease to be delighted at the high calibre of teenage talent that it attracts  We’re proud to be able to support them at a key time in their lives and we’re very much looking forward to meeting this year’s crop of talented finalists.”

The Award entrants are a rollcall of rising young Irish classical music talent. All the winners have received national and international recognition for their achievements, and many have used their prize money as a springboard to fund their studies at some of the world’s most renowned music colleges and institutions.

These include Juilliard School, MUK Vienna, Barenboim-Said Akademie, Royal College of Music, Conservatoire Nationale Superieur de Musique et de Danse and Kronberg Academy.

The Awards are open to sixth year post-primary students of string, woodwind, brass and piano. The €5,000 top prize will be used by the winner to attend a recognised place of tuition, a course of study in Ireland or abroad or on a purchase necessary for the development of their talent. The remaining finalists will each receive a €300 bursary.

The closing date for this year’s entries is Friday October 7, 2022. The competition night is Friday October 28 in Dublin with Marty Whelan as master of ceremonies. 

Further information, rules and application form at

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