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Nadene scales musical heights at gala piano event

Nadene, who began playing at the age of six, was the highest ranking Irish competitor in this year's competition.

The 22-year-old was the only home competitor to make it to the second round at the RDS and NCH where she competed against 51 pianists from 23 countries.

She was first taught how to play by her great aunt Giovanna Fiorentini at her home in Greencastle, Co Donegal.

Her grandfather, Ignatius Fiorentini, had moved from Italy to Derry at the age of 11 -- later setting up an Italian ice cream and fish and chip shop -- a tradition continued by her father.

Nadene has a masters in the Musical Performance with the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin and has won several competitions, most recently the Feis Ceoil Morris Grant Bursary.

Last night she was presented with her prizes, including the Brennan Prize and the McCullough Bursary, at an official ceremony.

The bursary will assist Nadene advance her musical career by providing funds and valuable studio time to produce her own CD and €3,500 to facilitate additional studies. The Charles J Brennan Prize of €1,500 will give Nadene the chance to host a debut recital at the NCH accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra.

She was presented with her awards by the President Michael D Higgins.

"I am absolutely over the moon," Nadene said.

"It was amazing to get as far as I did in the competition and now these fantastic prizes are going to provide me with some amazing opportunities, I want to thank my parents and my teachers for helping me to get this far," she added.

A total of 51 international competitors have performed more than 50 hours of solo piano pieces during a competition which is ranked in the top five piano events in the world.

Since its foundation in 1987, it has been held in Dublin every three years.

Irish Independent