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Christopher hits the right note to win €3,000 prize

A teenage music prodigy has banked €3,000 in the country's biggest classical music competition.

Christopher Ellis (17) scooped first place at this year's Fr Frank Maher Classical Music Awards.

The win will bring the Sutton Park College student closer to his goal of owning his own cello, as the instrument costs several thousand euro.

"I am delighted to have won - it was a wonderful event and I plan to put my prize money towards the purchase of my own cello," he said.

The other six finalists did not leave empty-handed, with each taking home a €250 bursary.

The event was held in the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin, with seven young finalists from Dublin, Louth, Waterford and Clare competing for the top prize to further their musical careers.

The judging panel consisted of several music academics and professors from around the country including renowned concert pianist Veronica McSwiney.

The panel cited Christopher's "technical ability and sense of performance" as reasons for awarding him first place.

For most of the finalists it would have been their first time displaying their talents in such a prestigious venue, in front of an audience of 160 people.


Christopher can now add the Fr Frank Maher Music Award to his long list of accomplishments which include the Dublin Philharmonic Award and the 2013 National Concert Hall Young Musician Award.

The Fr Frank Maher Music Awards were established by Emmet O'Rafferty in honour of his former teacher.

The competition is open to sixth-year students of strings, woodwind, brass and piano.

The event's founder expressed his delight at the standard exhibited by all the talented young performers involved, and said his former teacher would have been proud of the standard set by the participants.

He said: "Fr Frank was a teacher at Castleknock. I know that he would have expressed enormous pride and pleasure in tonight's performances at this wonderful event."

Mr O'Rafferty also wished the winner all the very best in his musical endeavours.

"Christopher now joins an extremely talented line of young musical talent and I wish him every success in his future career."