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Orla O’Sullivan, a deaf and blind pianist and teacher from Cork, has just released her first album “Sound Senses”. The CD contains solo piano pieces from extracts of Bach, Schubert, Chopin, John Field, Phil Coulter and many more.
All pieces are played from memory and due to her low vision, Orla uses magnification to enlarge the scores, memorising each bar one at a time.
Orla has been profoundly deaf and partially sighted since shortly after birth. Born prematurely, Orla contracted an infection in hospital which damaged both her eyes and ears. She was taught nursery rhymes and songs by her mother, which stimulated her musical ear from an early age. She helped her play the piano by holding her fingers on the keys so that she could feel the vibration and hear the sounds.
She started formal piano lessons at the age of six and through her school years she got the highest scores in her music exams at Inter and Leaving Cert level. She also learned several instruments including violin, guitar, piano accordion, electronic keyboard, and organ. Orla gained a Diploma in Youth Work Practice, Music Performance Management and Sound, and a teacher’s certificate in University College Cork. She studied the organ in St Finbarr’s Cathedral. She also has a Diploma in Recital from the Cork City College of Music, where she has been a student for many years. Orla has also been teaching children, both hearing and deaf, for the past 19 years.
Feel the Sound
“I feel and hear the sound through vibrations, which are then interpreted by the brain. It is the sense of hearing and touch that can do this. Also with sight, the brain creates the sound through movement,” said Orla.
“Being deaf and partially sighted does not stop me from doing what I want. Music is a great healing therapy for the body, mind and soul. Music has given me great enjoyment and pleasure and helped me overcome my disability. To quote Friedrich Nietzsche: ‘Without music, life would be an error’,” according to Orla, who is very determined to continue to achieve her ambitions in music.
For more information or to purchase a CD visit www.orlaosullivan.ie.
This page carried a photo of Orla seated at her piano. The caption reads:
Orla O’Sullivan whose new CD has been released.