Chris Quaid

Musician of the Month: Chris Quaid

Irish violinist Chris Quaid has recently brought his experience as an orchestral musician to the London Firebird Orchestra. Today we hear his story…

Can you tell us something about your musical training and professional development.

I’m currently studying at the Royal College of Music with Jan Repko for a Masters in Performance. I previously studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. Before pursuing a career in music, I was determined to be a criminal lawyer and studied Law at University College Dublin. I loved the violin too much though and jumped ship!

How long have you been involved with Firebird and what other musical groups are you involved with?

My first concert with London Firebird Orchestra was back in June where I renewed acquaintance with Beethoven Symphony No. 5. Since moving to London, I’ve done quite a few projects with the RCM Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestras, covering a huge amount of repertoire with a number of international conductors and soloists.

Recently, I’ve become involved with a number contemporary music string orchestra- Tiresisas Ensemble. In July, I played in Royal Festival Hall for the first time as part of the New Music Biennial 2017. I’m lucky enough also to play regularly with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and the RTE Concert Orchestra.

Chris Quaid

Tell us some of the highlights of your career to date…

Several things stand out to me for various reasons. My very first performance of Mahler Symphony No.1 with the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland will always stick in my mind as I was absolutely blown away by the sound! Performing and meeting Ray Chen was incredibly exciting as he is a world star who isn’t much older than me. Performing at the Irish Embassy in London was probably the scariest and the nervous moment of all while getting the chance to sit beside members of the LSO and RPO at Chipping Campden Music Festival was very special.

And what about your future ambitions in music?

I’ve always wanted to become a professional orchestral violinist so that of course is my main goal. In my mind, I always saw myself as a potential principal player, but I know I have to work incredibly on everything to even think about that. I love to play chamber music also so developing a concert series with a chamber group is on my ‘to do’ list. Outside music, I love long distance running so I want to cover a few more marathons. I missed out on the London Marathon Ballot but there are plenty of city marathons around.

What do you see as the value of Firebird to musicians like yourself?

For someone like me who is aiming to become a professional orchestral musician, any organisation that facilitates the learning and experience of orchestral repertoire is incredibly important. The repertoire is so vast that it’s virtually impossible to cover everything at college. London Firebird means I can learn new repertoire very quickly and to a very high level.

The next concert in the 2018 Firebird Season is on Tuesday 12 June at St Paul’s Covent Garden with Firebird Flies to the States. Join us for our all-American-themed annual Summer Concert…