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Presser Graduate Music Award

General Information

The Presser Graduate Music Award is designed to encourage and support in a special way the advanced education and career of truly exceptional graduate music students who have the potential to make a distinguished contribution to the field of music.

The Award is a cash stipend of up to $10,000, which is made available to a graduate student designated by the institution, provided that the institution agrees to the terms of participation and based upon receipt by The Foundation of a suitable plan prepared by the nominated recipient for use of the money. The amount of the award varies from year to year based on the number of graduate institutions.

The recipient is first nominated to the Presser Foundation by the executive head of the music school, utilizing judgments of faculty members able to gauge the relative merits of currently enrolled students who will be returning for further study next year.

Information on Applying

The applicant must submit a written statement to The Presser Foundation indicating how the Award, if granted, would be used to further his or her musical education and career. The following are illustrative examples only:

  • Commissioning and premiering a new work
  • Travel to audition with orchestras, opera companies or chamber ensembles for professional opportunities
  • Creation of an outreach program
  • Funding a performance tour

The Foundation seeks proposals that are imaginative as well as practical. The proposal should also describe how the Award will directly benefit a student’s career.

All interested students should submit the following to to the Office of Academic Affairs by 5 PM on Friday, January 19th, 2018. 

  • A written plan of no more than two typewritten pages
  • A detailed budget
  • One letter of recommendation from your major instructor

Recent Recipients

  • 2016-2017 – Lior Willinger: To fund the commissioning of short piano works to call attention to issues of social justice.
  • 2015-2016 – Brendan Betyn: to fund a commissioning project for three new works for the percussion trio, Tala Rasa Percussion
  • 2014-2015 – Jasmine Hogan: to fund the commision and performance of compositions based on poems by Federico Garcia Lorca 
  • 2013-2014 – Faye Chiao: to fund the commision and performance of a new operatic work by the Lunar Ensemble.
  • 2012-2013 – Ronaldo Rolim: to fund the commission, performance, and recording of a twenty-minute piano trio for Trio Appassionata
  • 2011-2012 – Jonathan Zwi: to fund the commission of a piece for the Atlantic Guitar Quartet to be premiered alongside visual art
  • 2010-2011 – Tracy Anne Smith: to fund the commission and recording of new works for a commercial CD
  • 2009-2010 – Douglas Buchanan: to fund a concert tour of his work for solo piano, Colonnades
  • 2008-2009 – Jolie Lin: to fund a comparative study on music education in Russia and China

Contact Information

For more details, please contact Isabella Robak in the Office of Academic Affairs: 667-208-6685 or