Joan Trimble Centenary Celebration exhibition opens at The Ardhowen

Published: 24th June 2015

An exhibition celebrating the work and achievements of Enniskillen born performer and composer Joan Trimble (1915-2000) has opened at The Ardhowen, Enniskillen.

The exhibition ‘Joan Trimble: A Centenary Portrait’, which has been organised as part of a programme of celebrations to mark the centenary of Joan Trimble’s birth, illustrates Joan’s life through Fermanagh County Museum’s collections. Images on display record Joan’s development from musical child prodigy to performer and composer of international acclaim.

Officially opening the ‘Joan Trimble: A Centenary Portrait’ at The Ardhowen, Vice Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Paul Robinson, said:

“This year marks the centenary of Joan Trimble’s birth and it is fitting that we are honouring the life of one of Enniskillen’s most famous daughters.

We in Fermanagh are justifiably proud of Joan Trimble and it is only right that we honour her achievements through this excellent exhibition.”

Joan’s career as a performer began at the age of 8, playing piano and violin with a small local orchestra which provided musical accompaniment for productions of Enniskillen Amateur and Operatic Society. Joan was awarded a scholarship to Trinity College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music degree.

Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Joan and her sister Valerie formed a musical partnership. During the war the sisters became household names performing at concerts throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland at venues including the National Gallery in London and the RDS Pavilion in Dublin.

At the age of 25, Joan composed her first Chamber work, ‘The Phantasy Trio’. She composed an opera ‘Blind Raftery’ based on the 1924 biographical novel by Donn Byrne, on the life of the 19th century blind poet Antoine Raftery, which was specially commissioned by the BBC in 1957, the first ever commission awarded to a woman.

Joan was a Professor of Accompaniment and General Musicianship at the Royal College of Music from 1959 to 1977. Following in her father’s footsteps, Joan became Managing Director of The Impartial Reporter. In 1985 Joan was inducted as a Fellow of her alma mater, the Royal Irish Academy of Music, an honour afforded to very few people.

Joan passed away in 2000, aged 85 years old. Her legacy lives on in her music and through the Joan Trimble Awards Scheme which provides bursaries for individual young people in the fields of the creative/performing arts and Irish culture.

‘Joan Trimble: A Centenary Portrait’ continues at The Ardhowen until Friday 10 July 2015. Admission to the exhibition is free of charge. The exhibition is open Monday to Saturday 11.00 am to 4.00 pm.

Other events that took place to celebrate the life and work of Joan Trimble in her centenary year included a concert featuring Joan Trimble’s Compositions at The Ardhowen on Thursday 18 June 2015 and a public discussion about the achievements of Joan Trimble, led by the composer Dr Philip Hammond, with composer and academic David Byers and Joanna McVey, daughter of Joan Trimble on Friday 19 June 2015.

The Joan Trimble Centenary Celebration programme is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Lottery Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, The Impartial Reporter, The Fermanagh Trust, the Education Authority Western region and St. Fanchea’s College.

For further information about ‘Joan Trimble: A Centenary Portrait’ exhibition contact Bronagh Cleary, Development Officer, Museum Services by emailing bronagh.cleary@fermanaghomagh.com or telephoning 028 6632 5000.

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