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Music Department

Music Scholarships

Past Filene Scholars

The first Filene Music Scholarship Competition at Skidmore took place in the spring of 1982, awarding scholarships to four members of the incoming Class of 1986. Since then, more than 50 students have attended Skidmore as Filene Scholars. Here is a look at a few of them:

Peter Wan '95 (piano), from Irvington, N.Y., graduated with numerous honors and a double major in biology and music—plus the "good general education" that he says attracted him to Skidmore. An active chamber music player and soloist who won the annual Orchestra Concerto Competition in his freshman year, he capped off his four years with a senior honors recital that featured works by Liszt and Schumann. He is preparing for a career in biotechnology law. As for the other half of his double major, Wan says, "Music will always be part of my life, an outlet for expression."

Sylvia Stoner '94 (soprano), from Kansas City, pursued a double major in music and theater at Skidmore and spent her summers at the Aspen Music Festival and the Seagle Colony. At Skidmore, she performed in numerous theater productions, presented an award-winning senior recital, won the Orchestra Concerto Competition, and directed a production of a short contemporary opera. She had the opportunity to study with Ann Bogart and Tadashi Suzuki during the Saratoga International Theater Institute residency, and with the Western Wind vocal ensemble when they were Filene artists-in-residence. She is completing a M.M. in opera performance at the Kansas City Conservatory of the University of Missouri and is an apprentice artist with the Des Moines Metropolitan Opera.

Stephen Steigman '94 (trombone), from Wynnewood, Pa., created a self-determined major in arts administration. A summer internship with the National Symphony after his sophomore year led to internships with the Jerusalem Symphony during a semester abroad; the American Symphony Orchestra League; and the Albany Symphony Orchestra. He served as manager of Skidmore's orchestra as well as principal trombonist, played in the jazz ensemble, and was executive producer for the Music Department's "Pirates of Penzance." He is now manager of concert activities at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Andrea Silver '94 (French horn), from Wilmette, Ill., majored in biochemistry, worked for two years on original research with biology professor Elaine Rubenstein, and broke records as a diver on the women's swim team—in addition to musical activity that included performing with the orchestra and in a woodwind quartet. A summa cum laude graduate, she is a research assistant at Advanced Bioscience Labs in Arlington, Va., helping in the search for an AIDS vaccine. Next on her list: going on to medical school.

Jennifer Perry '93 (clarinet), from Malone, N.Y., discovered a kinship with nature at Skidmore. In addition to playing in the orchestra and in chamber music groups, and studying guitar, she created a self-determined major in environmental studies and designed a nature-trail plan for Skidmore's woodland. She is now an environmental education instructor at Northwoods Resource Center in Minnesota.

Frank Heiss '93 (percussion), from Newton, Mass., earned Honors for his senior recital of electronic compositions utilizing devices triggered by and accompanied by his live percussion playing. After graduation, he studied at the Drummers Cooperative in New York City.

Whitney Savage '93 (voice), from New York City, was an accomplished singer and actress before coming to Skidmore. At the College, she majored in American studies and performed extensively as soloist and member of the chorus and the a cappella Sonneteers. A summer internship at LucasFilm got her interested in production work, so after graduation she headed to California to be at the heart of the entertainment industry. She is now working in marketing and advertising at Castle Rock Entertainment, the company that produced Seinfeld, and on her own she is putting together a female a cappella singing group.

Rachel Malinow Bergman '92 (flute), from Great Neck, N.Y., majored in math and music, earning graduation honors in both while preparing a math thesis on the use of set theory as a method for analyzing atonal music. Her performance activities at Skidmore included solo recitals, the flute ensemble, master classes with Paula Robison, and principal flute in the orchestra. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in music theory at Yale University. During the 1996–97 academic year Rachel returned to Skidmore to teach freshman music theory.

Jonathan Brody '92 (percussion), from Potomac, Md., majored in biology and, between his junior and senior years was awarded a National Cancer Institute fellowship to work with a research team investigating gene therapy at the National Institutes of Health. Following graduation, he rejoined this team.

Juanita S. Wong '91 (piano), from Somerville, Mass., was a dual major in math and music. She graduated with honors in music, earning one of four Periclean scholar awards for her senior recital, and went on to earn an M.M. at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Ellen Horan '90 (violin), from Massapequa, N.Y, pursued a music and business double major, aiming at a career in arts management. After graduation, she went to work for the accounting firm of Ernst & Young, where she specialized in nonprofit organizations, including the Juilliard School. She is currently assistant comptroller for the Lighthouse, a service organization for the blind and visually impaired, and she plays violin in a chamber sextet.

Amy Briggs Dissanayake '89 (piano), from Canterbury, N.H., says she chose to attend Skidmore rather than a music conservatory because "I would be able to do so much more than just play piano." Along with studying music and performing actively, she developed a minor in Asian studies that included an independent study of Indian classical music. Briggs offered an award-winning senior recital and graduated with Honors. She is now principal pianist with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and substitute pianist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She made her New York City debut in 1992 and in 1993 toured Africa and South Asia as a United States Artistic Ambassador.

Sarah Lyon '88 (string bass), from St. Johnsberry, Vt., majored in anthropology and is now completing her Ph.D. in biological anthropology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Jonathan Wachtel '86 (violin), from Memphis, Tenn., majored in music at Skidmore, served as concertmaster of the orchestra, and performed extensively. He now practices law in Pittsburgh.

Andrea Miller Weber '86 (soprano), from Wayne, N.J., majored in music. She described the opportunity she had here to study with the late vocalist Jan DeGaetani as "the most amazing thing that ever happened to me." Weber did graduate work at the University of Michigan, received her master's in music from the Manhattan School of Music, and has sung in the New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in small roles and in the chorus.