Conor Linehan (50 years old) is a pianist, composer and piano teacher. Born to actress Rosaleen and writer Fergus Linehan in Dublin, he lives in Churchtown with his wife Valerie and their 15-year-old son Fergus. He appeared in a new stage show The Tin Soldier.
I am the youngest child in a family of four. If you ask my brothers and sisters, they will say that I am completely spoiled. I was pampered in a way they weren’t. I’ll be horribly cranky if I don’t do it my way. When you are the fourth child, they almost forget that you exist.
Mom would give me 10p and a sandwich and say, “Don’t come back until 7pm.” We’ll go down to the Blackrock tub, which is completely heaving. Whenever I look at it, it’s a bit sad, so derelict. I remember the hundreds of people there and all the men diving in diving boards and three different swimming pools. It is magic. When I was 10 years old, I used to cycle with my best friend Gareth to Bray. We’ll play slots and then come back. I made a song about it. I was quite free when I was a kid.
Tell us about your undetected low vision.
I’ve had terrible eyesight since I was born and we really didn’t figure it out until I was three. So I used to cling to people and they just thought I was a parasite kid. When they found out about my eyesight, I received a large pair of thick, bottle-top glasses.
Tell us about the music in your home.
I started playing the piano when I was 5 years old. My mother takes me to lessons and I have many different teachers. I made my small points, but I was also absorbed in playing the piano and learning the songs, and learning everything by heart. I always had two directions, and I still have it to this day.
Why piano? There are two at home – a dilapidated old one in the back and we have a new upright Yamaha up front. My mother also always played the piano. She is a very good pianist. She wrote songs for the musical with my dad and for their comedy sketches with Des Keogh. So there’s always a lot going on. I am hooked on the piano and I love it.
This year you turned 50. Did you do something special to mark it?
I have a cello. I don’t know how to play it but I will start learning. It’s great to be able to do what you can’t.
Best advice given?
Video of the day
My mom told me, when you perform, just get good grades and everything else will come.
The best advice you give?
Enjoy your life as much as you can and take a selfie wherever you can find it.
Are you nervous before performing?
Always. But you befriend it and accept that it’s just part of the whole process. Sometimes I smoke an Extra Strong Mint before going on stage. It gives a little sugar rush. I have all kinds of psychological strategies for dealing with nerves. I accept that people make mistakes and I move on.
What motivates you?
Provide for my family – it’s a real working musician – and can create exceptional work.
How would you describe your work on the reviewed page? Tin soldier?
It’s a super theatrical show about writer Hans Christian Andersen interspersed with The steadfast tin soldier. There was music and dancing in it and I played Steinway on stage. We enjoyed children aged 12 and up watching it.
Has being a father changed you?
It made me more empathetic and a kinder and more patient person.
What do you do for fun?
I run marathons. In 2012, I had whooping cough and it left me bummed for six months. I decided to run a marathon when I got better. I like to run. It’s about sanity and you get a great sense of accomplishment. I only wear shorts, a t-shirt and headphones. I didn’t even time it. I always say I’ve never been in such a bad mood that I couldn’t shake it off by running 40 minutes.
Gate Theater and Lovett Theater present ‘The Tin Soldier’ at Black Box Theatre, Galway, from tomorrow to Saturday, as part of the Galway International Arts Festival; Giaf.ie
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/upfront-pianist-conor-linehan-on-growing-up-with-talented-parents-music-and-his-latest-show-41825842.html Upfront: Pianist Conor Linehan grew up with talented parents, his latest music and shows