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DIPC Finlay Programme participants meet with John O’Conor, Artistic Director, DIPC and Sae Yoon Chon, winner of the 2018 DIPC

Above: (Back row left to right) Joe O’Grady, Lucy Byrne, Defne Gultoprak & Stan O’Beirne (Front row left to right) Sae Yoon Chon & John O’Conor.

The four young Irish pianists in the Finlay Programme recently met with Sae Yoon Chon, winner of the 2018 DIPC, and Dr. John O’Conor, Artistic Director of the DIPC . 

The four Finlay Programme participants are Lucy Byrne, Defne Gultoprak, Stan O’Beirne and Joe O’Grady. 

Sae Yoon Chon was in Dublin for lessons with John O’Conor prior to travelling to Switzerland for the Verbier Festival. Sae Yoon took part in the Verbier Festival in 2019, and was invited back for 2021, and will also be there in 2022. 

This ‘meet up’ was a great opportunity for the Finlays to meet with both Sae Yoon and John. Sae Yoon spoke about his experience at the Dublin Competition, and the opportunities that winning the Competition have presented. 

Sae Yoon gave the Finlays an insight into his studies and repertoire, his practice schedule and how he prepares for performance. He spoke about his participation in other piano competitions, and of his recitals in the US, Asia, and Europe, in particular playing at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, and  playing at the Rockport Music Festival in Massachusetts with Max Levinson, the winner of the DIPC in 1997. 

The Finlays also got an insight from John O’Conor on his successful career as an international soloist and his role as Artistic Director of the DIPC. John also answered questions about practice, performance and repertoire. 

The Finlay Programme, named after William Finlay, the first Chairman of the Board of the DIPC, is for Gifted Young Pianists aged between 13 and 17 years, and the programme takes place every three years. 

The pianists are given intensive coaching in a variety of areas related to the piano, including education in the wider arts, performance psychology, mentoring, marketing, and presentation skills. The Covid 19 pandemic has resulted in the programme being on hold, but the DIPC is hopeful that it will resume in the near future. 

All of us in the world of music, especially piano performance, are missing live performance, we are looking forward to the return of live performance with enthusiastic and appreciative audiences.   

‘Together Again’ for the DIPC is coming closer and the future is bright for the four pianists in the Finlay Programme.