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2008 Winner: Fionnuala Ward (Piano)

Magherafelt pianist Fionnuala Ward holds a First Class Honours degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, studying under Korean pianist, Sinae Lee. Born in Co. Derry, she began playing piano at the age of 4, under tuition from Irish concert pianist Ruth McGinley.

At 15 she was named Northern Ireland Young Musician of the Year, and was subsequently requested to play for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at a lunch and evening reception at Hillsborough Castle during Her Majesty's visit to Northern Ireland in 2008. Since then, she has performed on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio Ulster, and reached the Category Auditions at the Royal College of Music for the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2010. She was a finalist in the Catherine Judge Memorial Award in 2011, and has received masterclasses from Peter Donohoe, John O’Conor, Roy Howat, Pascal Roge, Barry Douglas, Richard Goode and Philip Kawin.

This year Fionnuala will be moving to London to pursue a Masters degree at the Royal College of Music, studying with Ashley Wass and Sofya Gulyak.