Champion concert flute player whose music drew on his love of life


VINCENT BRODERICK, who has died aged 88, was a champion concert flute player and award-winning composer. His compositions are well known and widely played, and are part of the traditional Irish music repertoire.

The titles of his jigs and reels draw on his life experience and local history. The Whistler at the Wake is a jig composed at a wake, showing that inspiration can strike in the unlikeliest settings. Ward's Eviction is an ensemble piece in five parts that commemorates the attempt by bailiffs to evict a Loughrea shoemaker, which failed due to the resistance of locals.

Later compositions include what one critic described as the "sublime" Last Train from Loughrea.

A plasterer by trade, he knew hard times over the years and music helped pay the bills. The céilí bands with whom he played include the Brophy, Kincora and Éamonn Ceannt.

Born in 1920 in Bullaun, near Loughrea in Co Galway, he was one of the seven children of Tom and Ann Broderick. His mother taught him and his brother Peter to play the flute on instruments supplied by a local priest.

The brothers first performed in public at a school concert. Then, at a performance by the Ballinakill Céilí Band, they were invited to join the band for a few selections and duly obliged.

Thereafter they regularly played at house parties and dances, and joined the Wren Boys on their annual outings. They met and played with musicians such as Joe Cooley, Joe Leary, Aggie White, Paddy Carty, Joe Mills and "Son" Donnelly. Vincent left Galway for Dublin in 1951, and joined the Pipers' Club in Thomas Street. There he rubbed shoulders with musicians such as Leo Rowsome, Mrs Harrington, John Joe Gardiner, Willie Clancy, Seán Seery and many others.

At Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Monaghan in 1952 he took second prize in the concert flute competition, and in Athlone the following year came first. He retained his title in Cavan in 1954, and with Kieran Kelly also won the duets competition. In 1957 he won the gold medal at the Oireachtas.

He won the 1954 All-Ireland title playing one of his own compositions on a copper flute he made himself, having broken his wooden flute earlier in the year. Later, in a house he was plastering, he found a discarded Rudall and Rose flute.

He had the instrument repaired and played it for the rest of his life.

With Seán Ó Riada, Paddy Maloney, Seán Potts and Seán Keane he played at the first production of Bryan MacMahon's play The Song of the Anvil at the Abbey Theatre in 1960.

A lifelong member of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, he took part in many tours abroad, including the tour of Canada and the US in 1976. For many years he taught tin whistle and flute at the Pipers' Club. At the TG4 traditional awards in 2003 he was named composer of the year.

In 1992 a collection of his compositions The Turoe Stone was published. An accompanying tape featured himself and his sons Larry and Des, along with Antoin Mac Gabhann and Eddie O'Kelly. A second volume was published in 2008.

He is survived by his wife Philomena, and sons Larry, Vincent and Des.

• Vincent Broderick: born June 15th, 1920; died August 7th, 2008