“I was hooked from day one!” Maeve Sheil, bassist, talks about her influences

Next in our series of profiles of Abigail’s band members is Maeve Sheil who is the bassist in the band. Thanks to Maeve I now know what a surtitlist is 🙂

Maeve will accompany Abigail at the launch of her new album Fall into Silence at The Bello Bar in Portobello Harbour in Dublin on February 21st 2015. Book your ticket now and receive a free copy of the album at the launch.

maeve shielHow did you first meet Abigail? What were your first impressions?

Abigail got my number from a mutual friend and rang me up to ask me to play a gig with her when her usual bass player wasn’t available. As soon as we met we got on wonderfully together. I find Abigail to be a highly imaginative and original composer and a very talented musician. And a super-fun person to spend time with too!

What instrument do you play? How long have you been playing it? Tell us about how you first started? What was it about this instrument that attracted you?

I play the double bass. I started when I was 12. The manager of Dublin Youth Orchestra was keen to recruit new players, so she asked would I give it a try, and she let me borrow a bass of theirs for two years. I was hooked from day one! I came home from my first lesson and spent the whole afternoon playing a little piece called “I Love Baked Beans” with my brother accompanying me on the piano.


What I find satisfying today about the instrument is always playing the low notes, always being the foundation of everything the orchestra is doing. The physical sensation of drawing the best sound I can from the instrument gives me great pleasure. Work rarely feels like work to me, and I’m thankful for that every single day!

Who or what is your strongest musical influence? Why?

My family have always been my main influence. I come from a large musical family and grew up completely immersed in classical music. I must say my brother Fergus has been the biggest influence. As a small child I would sit on his bed and watch and listen while he practised conducting. He would quiz me on musical general knowledge and he would put on a random cd and ask me to name the composer. He had me listening to Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Bach, Stravinsky, Wagner, and heaps more at the age of 6. When I started the bass he helped and encouraged me a huge amount. He was there beside me at my first orchestral rehearsal, pointing to the right place in my music whenever I got lost! Today he gives me lots of professional work with his orchestral projects and his opera companies. Thanks Fergie!

Tell us a little about other upcoming projects you are working on.

These days I spend a lot of time playing with the RTE Concert Orchestra, the NSO, and the Ulster Orchestra.

I have also started getting into orchestral management, orchestral librarian work, and opera surtitlist work, all of which present new challenges and new joys!



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