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Where Are They Now? Episode One: The Girls of 2013

Nearly three years have passed since the launch of the first DIPF, and with a steady stream of new students coming every year it’s time to take inspiration from Canadian sensation Justin Beiber - to stop and ask “Where Are Ü Now?”

For Episode 1: The Girls of 2013, we’ve caught up with a few students from our 2013 festival who have all sorts of exciting news to share. Here’s a glimpse of what our superstars have been getting themselves into:

Chloe Power, a Kilkenny native and one of the youngest participants of the festival in its inaugural year, is now studying mathematical sciences in UCD. Despite not enrolling in a music course she says she is spending more time at the piano than ever before! She is a recipient of the prestigious Ad Astra Performing Arts Scholarship, a merit-based award providing practise spaces, ensemble opportunities, and performance opportunities to college students who are enrolled in courses other than music. She also won her first senior-level medal at the Feis Ceoil last year, coming second in the Senior Solo Pianoforte Competition! When she’s not kicking butt on the piano bench, you can find her slaying on the field playing camogie with her local club, James Stephens, in Kilkenny. Don’t worry about her hands though - she wears a protective glove at all times. In 2015 Chloe returned to DIPF for round two, and found that the “warm, friendly atmosphere and the wonderful core faculty members have remained the same.” She’s currently working on Ravel Jeux d’Eau, Debussy Jardins sous la Pluie, Haydn Fantasia in C Major, Chopin Ballade No. 2, and Ravel Piano Trio in A Minor.

A current student of our director Archie Chen, she says: “I feel very lucky to be in a position to be still so involved in piano, even as a twenty year old, non-music student. For me, the piano incorporates my favourite aspects of so many different subjects and disciplines. It is mentally and physically challenging, but also allows a great deal of creativity and communication. It also gives me the opportunity to meet wonderful people and to be part of great occasions!”

[Editor’s note: I can hear her in her lesson as I write this and she is sounding great!!]

Dream Piece: Though indecisive, she said she’d love to play Chopin’s Piano Concerto in E Minor or his Ballade No. 4.

Nora Gunning, who came to the festival from Seattle, Washington, is currently typing this article as the official DIPF Blogger! After the festival I went back to the University of Washington to finish my undergraduate degrees (a BA in History and a simultaneous BM in Piano Performance), studying with Drs. Dainius Vaicekonis and Robin McCabe. In an attempt to combine my two degrees I wrote my senior thesis on the Women’s Orchestra in Auschwitz, and was named grand prize winner in the UW Library Research Award for Undergraduates. I continued to accompany and music direct musicals with youth casts and got involved in teaching piano to groups of 4-6 year olds as well as individuals of all ages; as it turns out education is really my thing! So after a senior recital of Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Bolcom I set off to lead groups of teenagers on bicycle tours in Nova Scotia. When that ended in August I just kept biking and spent four months cycling from Massachusetts to San Francisco via Mexico, camping along the way and meeting more kind people than I ever thought existed. In search of more adventure I asked Archie and Rhona if they knew anybody who needed an employee in Ireland, and turns out they needed a spreadsheet maker/blogger extraordinaire/jack-of-some-trades, so I find myself here in the office, surrounded by piano lessons, learning the ins and outs of music administration.

I couldn’t be more grateful to DIPF for giving me an insight into the lives of pianists from so many different backgrounds and for helping me form connections that are still important to me today. This summer I will return to lead 12 teenagers on a bicycle trip across the United States, and after that a friend and I will cycle from Canada to Mexico along the spine of the Rocky Mountains; I clearly have no long-term plans in place but down the road I see myself being involved in education as a career. For now I’m happy to work away in the office and hang with DIPF’s favorite unofficial mascots: Solomon and Sheba.

Dream Piece: Someday in the distant future I’ll give the Schumann Fantasie in C a shot – but not for a good long while!

So that's the story. Check back soon for Episode 2: The Boys of 2013! Here's a sneak peek of what's to come - maybe we'll change the title to "John and the Photobomber..."