Greencastle’s Nadene Fiorentini rounded off a whirlwind 2014 by officially launching her debut album at the Royal Irish Academy of Music on December 20.
It’s another important milestone for Nadene, one of the extended Fiorentini family from the North West, who was awarded the National Concert Hall’s ‘Rising Star’ award for 2014.
She said her musical odyssey began under the instruction of her great aunt Joanna Fiorentini, proceeded through the McGinley School of Music in Londonderry, before yielding rich rewards at the RIAM and Dublin International Piano Competition (DIPC) over recent years.
Her debut release, commissioned by the DIPC, was launched by Contemporary Music Centre (CMC) Director Evonne Ferguson.
Nadene paid particular tribute to DIPC organisers without whom none of this would have been possible.
As the highest placed Irish competitor in the competition in 2012 she claimed the prestigious Brennan prize and hasn’t looked back since.
Speaking recently she said: “I guess it’s all starting to come together and the hard work has really paid off.
“So I’m grateful to the competition for everything they have done for me.
“It was then that - not only did I learn a lot musically, and my playing and everything developed, personally speaking as well, it was the moment I realised I was good enough to pursue this as a career.
“I owe that to the DIPC.”
Alongside a programme of classical, romantic and twentieth century works, Fiorentini also performs Eibhis Farrell’s 2011 piece Gleann na Sídhe – the Fairy Glen.
Commissioned by RTÉ Lyric fm, the work was written as a test piece for the 2012 DIPC and is published by CMC as part of its Piano Album VII.
Nadene says the album is the product of a musical education that began years ago in the North West.
“I guess I started piano when I was about six years of age but I always had that interest, even from before then.
“In fact, there’s a picture at home, mum proudly has it on the wall, of me stretching up to the keys...and I can’t even reach and the hands are formed perfectly, curved fingers and all the rest.
“So, yes, I’ve always had that interest and then. my mum and dad took me to lessons when I was about six.
“I started off with my great aunt, Joanna Fiorentini, and then I later transferred to the McGinley School, where I worked with both Ray and Ruth McGinley. I had a fantastic time there and had some success in the Derry Feis and local competitions up the north,” she said.
Nadene auditioned for the RIAM when she was 16, and was lucky enough to be accepted.
“I later went on to do a Masters, which was two years at the academy as well. I didn’t want to go anywhere else,” she explained.
“I feel that Ireland is great for looking after its young musicians and creating opportunities, providing platforms for us to get out there and perform, and I really wanted to raise my profile here before going abroad,” she said.
She achieved that with her DIPC performance in 2012 winning the Brennan Prize, the National Concert Hall prize, the RTÉ Prize, the Seán O’Connor Bursary and the McCullough Bursary, and as ‘Rising Star’ ended up playing with the National Symphony Orchestra in July.
“It was a fantastic experience,” she explained. “I’ll never forget it.”
She acknowledged none of this would have been possible without the DIPC.
“It’s ranked among the fifth highest in the world. To have that here in Ireland is amazing and they really take the Irish competitors under their wing as well.
“What really stood by me I’d say, in the lead up to that, was all the concerts that were arranged for us, just to give us an opportunity to play through our programme, which was vital then, when the pressure was really on in the RDS for the first round.
“I was delighted to be the recipient of the Brennan prize that year, the top Irish placed competitor that year and it was a huge, huge honour receiving the prize fromk President Higgins,” she said.
Nadene’s debut release - produced by Pine Valley Productions and sponsored by Denis McCullough - is available for purchase now.
To order a copy email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com