Brother's tribute to "beautiful soul"

Danny Barkley.
Danny Barkley.
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The family of a talented young musician who passed away recently have paid tribute to his "beautiful and fragile soul".

Carrickfergus man Daniel Barkley, known as Danny, died suddenly on January 11 at the age of just 28.

A composer and pianist, Danny had been a PhD student at Queen's University in Belfast where he was a music graduate.

While at university he studied under Piers Hellawell and Simon Mawhinney, as well as taking private lessons with award-winning Canadian professor, Alan Belkin.

In 2012, Danny released an album, Watershed, featuring a wide variety of styles from Irish folk arrangements and classical originals to film style pieces and contemporary sounds.

His brother, Michael, is raising funds for mental health charity MindWise in memory of the dedicated musician.

"Danny was a beautiful and fragile soul whose being, company, wit and foremost music brought happiness to so many," Michael wrote on the fundraising site JustGiving.

"It is in memory of him that his family ask you to support MindWise, a mental health charity, rather than send flowers or cards. No amount is unsubstantial, and any kind message is gratefully received.

"While I work to catalogue his extensive collection of compositions and recordings, I will direct anyone to listen to some of his music on Soundcloud or YouTube and to read his website - a fitting way to remember his greatest passion and gift to those he left behind."

Over £5000 has been donated through the JustGiving page, which can be accessed here, so far.

Meanwhile, a concert by Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble at Belfast's Crescent Arts Centre this Friday (January 26) will be dedicated to the memory of Danny.

It will feature performances of two of his works - ‘Cadenzas from an Invisible Concerto’ and ‘Five go to the Mystery Moor’.

Greg Caffrey, composer and artistic director of the Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble, said: "Through my work with Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble I was fortunate to get to know Danny, through workshops that we conducted at Queen’s University Belfast, where he was a postgraduate student, but also through the Peter Rosser Composition Award, where his music was shortlisted in the first and second years of the competition.

"Given that all the works for this award are submitted anonymously, the fact that Danny’s music was selected not once, but twice, I think speaks volumes about his ability as a composer.

"Danny was no ordinary composer, no ordinary musician and no ordinary person. He was a prolific musician, as a glance at his Soundcloud page will testify. The many musicians and incredible ensembles he managed to garner performances from is mind boggling, all the more so given that he was only 28 years old.

"He was knowledgable, inquisitive and thoughtful about music, but above all Danny was the kind of gentle person who people enjoyed being around. The sense of fun in his music was a reflection of his character and personality. He will be massively missed by all his friends, colleagues and collaborators."