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Claire Marquardt, of Poteau, OK, started playing piano at age four. She was homeschooled through high school graduation. At age twelve, Claire began studying with Mrs. Noma Curtis. When she was thirteen, she won the OFMC piano duet division at the state level, followed by three state solo wins before graduation. From 7th to 12th grade, she attended Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony Piano/Strings camp in the summers. She went on to win IPFAC’s junior and senior solo competitions and the concerto competition, performing Haydn’s Piano Concerto No. 11 in D Major with the string orchestra. During this time, she also entered several OFMC composition contests, winning multiple state and regional awards. At age 15, she also won Honorable Mention in the national Lynn Freeman Olson Composition Contest, missing first place by only 0.6 point.
In 2010, Claire began attending East Central University and studied with Dr. Starla Hibler and Dr. Lark Powers. During her time at ECU, she won Honorable Mention at the Oklahoma Music Teachers’ Association collegiate contest and performed at their annual convention. She also won the collegiate division of the Lynn Freeman Olson Composition Contest in 2011. Claire graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Music with highest academic achievement and gave the graduation speech at the honors graduation ceremony. She is now pursuing her Master of Music in Piano Performance at the University of Oklahoma. She studies with Dr. Stephen Beus. Claire plans to graduate in May, 2016.