“It means really a lot to me,” Mei said. “I still remember that I was very insecure, nervous and stressed when I just started my study of ethnomusicology at UNT in 2012. I was not only frustrated by the language barriers as an international student, but also I needed to adapt to an entirely new academic area and a different educational system. Receiving this prestigious award today is special to me, as it recognizes my six years of hard work and study, and it also encourages me in my studies and for my future career.”
The Presser Graduate Music Award is a program 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 winner is nominated and selected by the UNT College of Music faculty and receives the award from the Presser Foundation, which awards annual scholarships, grants and funds for the furthering of music education in America. Theodore Presser, who was a music publisher and philanthropist, established the foundation in 1916.
“I really appreciate the academic and professional support I received from my advisor Dr. Catherine Ragland, as well as Dr. Steven Friedson, Dr. Vivek Virani, the ethnomusicology department, and the Division of Music History, Theory and Ethnomusicology,” Mei said. “Without their help and encouragement, I could not have reached this achievement.”
Mei is currently working on her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at UNT. She plans to use the scholarship to study Chinese ensemble music with professors from the renowned China Conservatory in Beijing, Xinghai Conservatory in Guangzhou and Teochew Music Ensemble in Chaozhou from July 2 to August 27.
“It will help grow my capacity for teaching varied styles of Chinese ensemble music to American students and make the UNT Chinese Ensemble stand out among others in the United States,” Mei said.