Emerging talent continues to reach new heights in Ireland and the recent performances by some of our aspiring musicians were certainly a testament to this. A capacity audience at the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) watched aspiring young pianists compete for the inaugural Ursula Uí Chuinneagáin Bursary. Sponsored by her son, Luke O Cuinneagain and orchestrated in collaboration with Darina Ní Chuinneagáin and the Ó Cuinneagáin family and a wonderful team from the RIAM, including Deborah Kelleher, Audrey Phelan, Ciara Higgins and Colma Brioscu, this exciting new bursary recognised Ursula Uí Chuinneagáin's contribution to the music world in Ireland throughout her life to date and her ongoing commitment to supporting and nurturing key talent.
In attendance were many distinguished guests including the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan. This special event was privileged to have one of Ireland's exceptional musical ambassadors, Barry Douglas as its Chair.
Each of the four selected finalists performed in front of a distinguished jury, chaired by Barry Douglas as noted above, alongside Luke Ó Cuinneagáin and Deborah Kelleher. The ultimate winner of this inaugural of bursaries was 13-year-old Defne Gultoprak, a student of Professor Therese Fahy at the RIAM received a bursary of €2,000 towards her musical education, a beautifully-designed Waterford Crystal perpetual trophy and a solo concert to be arranged at a future date.
Photographed by Mark Stedman