Rising star

Classical legend hails young Donegal musician as "truly outstanding"

Sir James Galway lauds Bridgetown flute player

By Eamonn McFadden


By Eamonn McFadden



Classical legend hails young Donegal musician as " truly outstanding"

Amy Gillen with Sir James Galway and his wife Lady Jeanne.

A young Donegal woman who is a rising star in the world of classical music has been described as a “truly outstanding talent” by the legendary Sir James Galway.
Amy Gillen, 21, is a classical flute-player from Bridgetown, Laghey, who has just returned with a major award, the “Galway Rising Star”, won at the Sir James Galway Flute Festival in Switzerland recently.
In a recent interview, Sir James said they music students playing was of a very high standard and was up there with “the big time guys” in the flute world.
He stated: “When Amy Gillen played the other day ….. I thought that was really and truly outstanding. You really don’t hear flute playing like that from any of the big time guys. She really put it to them I tell you.”
Amy, the daughter of Ashling and Billy Dillon, Bridgetown, near Laghey, has been studying music since she was six and initially began with the recorder before began the flute.
She has studied under a number of top local teachers as well as the guidance of the Donegal Music Education Partnership.
Now she has just finished her third year of her undergraduate studies in music performance in flute in the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and is preparing for her finals next year.
“I started music at the Donegal School of Music with Jim McDermott. Sister Concepta got me started in record before I started with Jim. When I was 8 sister concepta said I should move on to the flute, but it all started through the Donegal music education system,” she stated.
“I was just passionate about music, I play piano as well. I just love classical music but I also love other different kinds of music as well. I love jazz and traditional irish Music, I play bit of that as well,” she stated.
She said her recent trip to Switzerland, her third time to play there after being invited to the prestigious event, was an amazing experience. After her studies she hopes to be a fulltime musician but say she could not have got this point with a lot of support from her parents and brother Michael John, grandmother Margaret Gillen in Moville are among her biggest supporters
She said all her family, including aunts and uncles, are very supportive, as well as the Donegal Music Partnership and all the teachers she has learned from since she started playing