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Student pianist Kimiko Darcy represents Georgia in prestigious national competition
Portrait of Kimiko Darcy

Kimiko Darcy, a first-year student in Emory College, is the first Georgia pianist to compete in the national round of the Music Teachers National Association Competition in more than a decade. She competes March 17 and will perform her competition program during a solo recital on campus April 28.

Editor’s note: Kimiko Darcy won the national round of the competition on Sunday, March 17. Hear her winning performance during a campus concert on Sunday, April 28.

Next week, Emory College first-year student Kimiko Darcy will participate in the national round of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Competition as a Senior Performance finalist in piano, the first representative from Georgia to do so in more than a decade. The 2024 National Conference takes place March 16-20 in Atlanta, with Darcy performing on March 17.

“In recent years, no other student from the state of Georgia has come close to competing in the national round so this is a huge accomplishment on its own,” says Elena Cholakova, director of piano studies in the Emory Department of Music.

When Darcy auditioned for one of Emory Music’s merit-based scholarships in the fall of 2022, Cholakova was “immediately impressed with the maturity of tone production, phrasing and artistry in her playing.”

Darcy’s poise at the piano continues to impress now that she has a home in the music department.

“There is a level of confidence in her performance that comes with a great deal of practicing and performing that we don't often see in our freshmen students,” says Cholakova.

Despite her confidence as a performer, Darcy feels a bit on-edge as she looks ahead to her big moment in Atlanta.

“I am very excited to challenge my musical abilities at the national competition, but I am also quite nervous,” she says. “I try not to worry about the result. However, I will try my best, and whatever the result is, I will be content with it, as long as I am happy with how I performed.”

For Cholakova, Darcy’s success is evidence of Emory’s growing support of the arts on campus.

“In recent years, Emory University has placed a bigger emphasis on the arts, and in return we have seen our students flourish and achieve great things. I know this is only the beginning of the journey for Kimiko and I can't wait to witness all the wonderful things she will achieve during her undergraduate studies at Emory.”

Emory community members can hear Darcy perform her national competition repertoire during her solo recital on Sunday, April 28, at 12 p.m. in the Performing Arts Studio. The program features compositions from Bach, Beethoven, Ginastera and Rachmaninoff.

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