Prestigious conducting award is cherry on top as Council Award Civic reception to Violinist Patrick Rafter

Family members of Patrick Rafter photographed with his award from Kilkenny County Council. From left : Sean, Nicole, baby George, Charlotte Rafter ( Patrick’s wife), Paddy (dad), Maura, ( mother) Alexander Carly.

The Kilkenny Observer caught up with the multi-talented Patrick Rafter this week and spoke to him of his recent achievements.

Patrick Rafter, international award winning violinist is no stranger to accolades and momentous occasions.

However, for the Threecastles man and former St Lachtain’s hurler, there have been some recent exciting moments.

Patrick was honoured by Kilkenny County Council with a Civic reception on 25th April 2022.

A Civic reception is the highest honour that the people of Kilkenny can bestow upon one of their own, and his nomination was unanimously accepted by the entire Council.

Patrick was joined by a multitude of representatives of Kilkenny County Council, and his proud family comprised of his wife, Charlotte, parents Paddy and Maura, brothers and sisters Sean, Isabelle, Alexander and Nicola.

Patrick was congratulated for his musical achievements in violin and conducting, and commended for bringing his talent home to Kilkenny as well as representing Kilkenny with pride in all his international appearances.


In his speech, Patrick mentioned how “deeply touching it was to receive this civic reception, and that being recognised in his home city is greater than winning any international award”. Patrick and his mother, Maura Duggan Rafter treated those in attendance to a short recital full of fireworks and violinistic acrobatics!

It is unsurprising that Patrick has such an immense gift for music as his mother Maura, and father Paddy, are two long standing bastions of music making in Kilkenny.

The Rafter family, from Threecastles, undoubtedly have music in their veins.

Maura, a pianist, and Paddy, a Tenor have supported and shaped their son into the musician he is today by exploring all genres of music in the home.

When asked about his favourite music, Patrick shares that he loves all great music from Bach, Mozart and Beethoven through to Freddy Mercury and Leonard Cohen.

Patrick is set to have a jam packed 2022/23 season with concerts and recordings across Europe, and he is delighted that normal life seems to be resuming again.

You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram or at


And for the other exciting career development for the young musician.. A case of “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade”…

Like most musical artists, Patrick was faced with insurmountable career changing obstacles as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

It was a pivotal period of time which allowed him the freedom to dedicate time to studying his ‘forbidden’ discipline – conducting. Patrick describes his yearning to learn the art of conducting from a young age, but had the wisdom to recognise that he needed to be an outstanding musician prior to commencing his studies as a conductor.

In his early 20s, Patrick recognised that conducting was an avenue he desperately wished to explore, to add another string to his musical bow.

When it became apparent that Covid would have long lasting ramifications on live music making, and international travel, Patrick decided that the stars had aligned to create the perfect circumstances to begin his conducting journey.

Throughout Covid, he commenced studying with the best of the best conductors of today through zoom, immersed himself in literature, became artistic director of his beloved choir, Carlow Voices, was awarded the Conducting Fellowship at UCD under Ciaran Crilly and Amy Ryan.

The cherry on top of these accolades and experiences came in March 2022 when he won the prestigious Feis Ceoil Conducting competition in association with the RTE Concert Orchestra.

Patrick is ‘forever grateful and humbled to have had the opportunity to conduct Ireland’s leading musicians’, as the final round saw him making music with the RTE Concert Orchestra. His prize will be a recording and performance with the Concert Orchestra in 2023 Season.

Other exciting plans for Patrick are debuts with London Mozart Players(UK), Bad Nauheim Symphony Orchestra (Germany), RTE Concert Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra among others and performances at a host of International and National Festival.. There is even a special trip home for Kilkenny Arts Festival this summer.

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