Scholarship opportunity for harpists


Young harpists between the ages of 8 and 18 may be interested in the Young Artist Award offered by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and the National Public Radio show “From the Top.” Each year, 20 “high-achieving, low-income musicians” are awarded up to $10,000 toward their classical music studies as well as a featured performance on NPR, as part of the “From the Top” broadcast with host Christopher O’Riley. Upcoming deadlines for applications are January 9 and March 1, 2017.

Who can apply?

This scholarship is designed for talented young musicians who have not yet entered college, ages 8-18, to help offset the high costs of classical music eduction – e.g. the cost of instruments, music lessons, summer festivals, and travel. The main criteria are “exceptional musical achievement” and “unmet financial need,” but it is also important to demonstrate high academic achievement, motivation, and of course the desire to perform on “From the Top.” Applications are open to all different kind of musicians, including harpists. It is also possible to apply as part of a small chamber music ensemble.

How to apply?

Applicants must submit two unedited recordings, as well as two recommendation letters (one from a music teacher and one from an academic teacher), a recent tax form, school transcripts, and standardized test scores. There is no application fee. Applications can be submitted online, at the “From the Top” website, which also provides a complete list of application requirements.

Previous winners

Harpists who have won the Young Artist Award in past years include Angelica Hairston, from Athens, Georgia, and Sage Po, from Northern California. Sage says, “I was 14 when I received the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. I used the money for two major trips. First,…to attend a three week program in Alsace called MusicAlta…The second trip I attended was to go to the American Harp Society Conference…Being on From the Top and receiving the scholarship also had a huge impact on me in terms of developing my love of giving back to the community.”

From the Top

Harpists who would like to perform on “From the Top” but are not eligible for or interested in the Young Artist Award are welcome to apply here at any time throughout the year. Lucy Ann Sotak appeared on “From the Top” at the age of 11, after winning the Junior Division of the AHS National Harp Competition in 2011 (listen here). Katherine Siochi (featured in the September/October 2016 issue of the Harp Column magazine) has appeared twice on the show; and the Band of Angels Harp Quintet, from Massachusetts, was featured playing an arrangement of Chanson dans la Nuit by Carlos Salzedo (listen here).


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