‘A career in music is not about making money’

My Money


Fiona Kelly
Fiona Kelly

The award-winning Irish flautist Fiona Kelly is from Cork city. She lived there until she was 18, when she travelled abroad to study music. She has lived for a number of years in London, New York and Sweden before returning to live in London last year.

Kelly will be performing at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in Bantry, Co Cork. For more details on the festival, which runs from June 29 to July 8, visitwestcorkmusic.ie.

What is the most important lesson about money which your career in music has taught you?

That a career in music is not about money and if making a lot of money becomes the priority, it’s time to move on to something else.

What’s your favourite song or tune about money?

It’s an obvious one, but it has to be Money by Pink Floyd.

What’s the most expensive country you ever visited?

I lived and worked in Sweden for four years and that was a pricy place to be. New York was really expensive for a student. The most expensive country would be Switzerland – I remember buying a sandwich in an airport for what felt like a million Swiss francs.

What’s the most expensive musical instrument you have ever bought?

A flute, and I am not comfortable to disclose how much it cost. Most flutes depreciate in value over time as the mechanism wears down. But the instrument I have is made from gold and, as gold prices have increased, so has the value of the instrument. The instrument-maker phoned me hysterically a few years ago to make sure I had it insured it for the right amount.

What’s the best advice you ever got about money?

Investing in a good instrument, and learning Pachelbel’s Canon – which is very popular at weddings. I got that advice from my father, who is also a musician.

What was your best financial killing?

Playing in my father’s string quartet for weddings most weekends while I was still at secondary school.

Are you better off than your parents?

No, sadly. I think most of my generation in their early 30s are not better off than their parents. The cost of property is the main reason.

If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?

I would set up an initiative for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to have access to free music education – such as instrumental teaching, orchestras, bands, and so on. I would donate the other half of the money to homeless charities in Ireland and Britain.

What’s the most expensive thing about living in London?

The price of rent.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

Yes – after dropping a phone down a loo.

iTunes or Spotify? Or are you more into CDs and records?

I like Spotify and CDs. Spotify is an amazing resource to have, although I feel uncomfortable about how little money artists receive with it, so I prefer to buy CDs.

What was the last thing you bought online?

This is embarrassing, but my mother will be delighted with me – a floor steamer from Amazon. It will be a pipe and slippers next.

Would you buy Irish property now?

As much as I would love to buy a little house by the sea in west Cork, I’m still trying to work out if I could ever afford a property in Britain. I’m waiting on my future millionaire husband to turn up.

What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?

My flute, Bose speakers and my bicycle.

Sunday Indo Business

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