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Second Cohen string scholarship awarded to student violinist

November 26, 2013
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Hannah Kennedy
EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire freshman music major from Stillwater, Minn., is the second recipient of the university's Eileen Phillips Cohen String Scholarship.

Hannah Kennedy, who is studying violin performance with Nobuyoshi Yasuda, director of the University Symphony Orchestra, will receive full in-state tuition and become a member of the Eileen Phillips Cohen String Quartet, named for the donor who created the scholarship fund with the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. The distinguished ensemble will represent the university at special events and in touring performances.

The scholarship is designed to attract and invest in the best of the best musical talent, said Kimera Way, president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Because the fund criteria provide that students are eligible to receive the scholarship for multiple years, recipients can potentially be awarded the scholarship to cover their full four-year degree.

Kennedy took private violin lessons for 13 years and performed with Minnesota Youth Symphonies for 10 years, serving as concertmaster on three occasions. She also participated in orchestra and concert choir while attending Stillwater Area High School. She won a concerto competition her freshman year and performed at the Stillwater Concerto Concert her senior year.

In addition to performing in UW-Eau Claire's University Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy also is a member of a trio and baroque ensemble, both under the direction of Dr. Tulio Rondón, UW-Eau Claire assistant professor of music and theatre arts.

"This scholarship is a huge honor," Kennedy said. "It showed me that it is possible to do something you love for your entire life. I am incredibly grateful because it is giving me many options that before seemed impossible, such as study abroad and graduate school.

"Besides the monetary rewards, the instruction I am receiving through my trio rehearsals has been wonderful so far, and already I am making great strides in both my playing and my understanding of music."

Yasuda, an associate professor of music and theatre arts and coordinator of UW-Eau Claire's string division, said Kennedy has shown leadership and high musicianship in her performances with the University Symphony Orchestra and other ensembles.

"Hannah's performance with Kaitlyn Witherspoon, another Cohen scholarship recipient, at our new chancellor's inauguration earlier this month demonstrated her musical maturity and technical solidity," Yasuda said. "Her intellect and diligence naturally influence others' attitudes."

The remaining Cohen awards are available to string musicians who plan to be enrolled at UW-Eau Claire during the 2014-15 academic year. The application deadline is March 15, 2014. Applicants also must meet university admissions guidelines. For more information, visit the department of music and theatre arts website.

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