Going to NYU Steinhardt for my Master of Music!

I am very happy to announce that, with funding from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (see this post), this fall I will begin a two-year Master of Music in Music Composition program at NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions located in the heart of New York City. NYU Steinhardt offers a hybrid conservatory and university setting where performers and researchers work alongside each other and composers are encouraged to develop interdisciplinary collaborations with choreographers, visual artists, writers, filmmakers, and scholars in other departments at NYU. In addition to the concert music composition program, directed by the wonderful composer Julia Wolfe (founding member of the legendary Bang On a Can collective), Steinhardt offers high-caliber study in composition for film and multimedia.

The composition faculty includes Julia Wolfe, Ron Sadoff, David Spear, Ira Newborn, Michael Gordon, Justin Dello Joio, and Herschel Garfein, among many others. As a first-year graduate student, I will receive a performance of a new string quartet by the internationally renowned JACK Quartet in a public New York City venue, in addition to opportunities for student performances. I am thrilled to be able to take advantage of the many opportunities that NYU will provide, not least of which will be getting a head start in developing ties within the music and arts community in New York.

My Dream Scholarship… is a Reality.

I learned this week that I’ve been chosen to receive the nation’s most generous independent scholarship for graduate studies in the arts. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private foundation established in 2000 by Jack Kent Cooke to help exceptionally promising students with financial need reach their full potential through education. The Foundation has taken an amazing vote of confidence in my future by selecting me to be one of this year’s 15 recipients of the Graduate Arts Award.
JKCF Graduate Arts Award
JKCF Graduate Arts Award

The Award covers cost of attendance in a graduate degree program for up to $50,000 per year for three years (extending to multiple degrees as needed). It’s given to college students or recent graduates with significant financial need who will pursue a graduate or professional degree in the visual arts, performing arts, or creative writing.

Candidates for the scholarship must be nominated by a faculty representative at their undergraduate institution. Each college or university may nominate up to two candidates. I was nominated by NEC’s Provost and Dean, Thomas Novak, and recommended by Chair of Composition, Michael Gandolfi, and Chair of Liberal Arts, Patrick Keppel. A review panel of distinguished artists, arts faculty, and university administrators selected the recipients using criteria including artistic or creative merit, academic achievement, financial need, will to succeed, and a breadth of interests and activities.

I’ve Graduated from NEC… with the Chadwick Medal in Tow!

Nell Receives NEC's Chadwick Medal
Nell Receives NEC's Chadwick Medal. Photo by Jeff Thiebauth.
President Tony Woodcock Presents Nell with Her Diploma.
NEC's President Tony Woodcock Presents Nell with Her Diploma. Photo by Jeff Thiebauth.

At Commencement, I was thrilled to be presented with the George Whitefield Chadwick Medal: the highest honor bestowed upon an undergraduate at NEC. The Chadwick Medal recipient is selected by members of NEC’s faculty and administration and is presented “to a graduating senior whose entire record of achievement has been most distinguished in the candidates major field, supplementary studies, extracurricular activities, and good citizenship” (according to the Commencement program).

The Chadwick medal is one of several honors that the Conservatory has presented me with–including the Presser Scholar Award, which was announced at the Convocation ceremony last fall and was accompanied by a $4,800 prize.