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Music major wins prestigious Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award

Jack Barry, junior music major has won The Presser Foundation Undergraduate Scholar Award of $4,400.

Barry has won The Presser Foundation Undergraduate Scholar Award of $4,400.

Jack Barry knows a little something about winning.

The music major won the music department’s Talent Award for Music Theory in 2013 and Percussion in 2014. The TU junior is now also the recipient of The Presser Foundation Undergraduate Scholar Award, a merit-based cash stipend totaling $4,400.

“Winning the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award is an affirmation that I am on the right track with my education,” says Barry, an Honors College student.

“During my undergraduate career, I have always had creeping doubts about whether or not I could succeed in the competitive world of being a performing musician. Receiving this award means that I have earned the faith of my professors that I can continue to improve and compete in the real world.”

Susan Picinich, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, and Eileen Hayes, chairperson for the Department of Music, presented the award during the Towson University Percussion Ensemble Concert on Wed., May 7.

“I would not have been able to achieve this goal without the faculty and resources here at Towson University,” says Barry, who will be known as the “Presser Scholar” for his senior year. “I have been able to work closely with more professors than I can count on two hands who have a wealth of knowledge to share about studying and performing music. It is also a luxury to be involved in a music department with as many wonderful performance and practice facilities as Towson.”

As a member of the Towson University Percussion Ensemble, Barry performed in the public debut of Jenn Figg and Matthew McCormack’s Kinetic Light Drums at the Salvage art exhibit hosted by the Department of Public Works in Baltimore. The ensemble also played alongside Eighth Blackbird in a performance of John Luther Adams’ ecological composition Inuksuit at the University of Richmond.

What does the future hold for Barry?

“I plan to spend two more years at Towson completing my undergraduate degree,” he explains. “As a percussionist, I have access to a number of large instruments in the music department, many of which I cannot reasonably afford on my own, such as marimba and timpani. I plan to make the most of my remaining time at Towson by becoming the best player I can possibly be by the time I graduate. Following the completion of my undergraduate program, I hope to attend graduate school to continue my pursuit of becoming a professional musician.”

One of the few private foundations in the United States dedicated solely to music education and music philanthropy, The Presser Foundation was established in 1939 under the Deeds of Trust and Will of the late Theodore Presser. The organization supports music performance and education through undergraduate and graduate scholar awards, operating and program support for music organizations, capital grants for music building projects, and assistance to retired music teachers.

Undergraduate schools of music are invited to apply for the opportunity to present the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award to an outstanding music major whom they select. Schools chosen for participation must maintain a minimum enrollment of 60 undergraduate music majors, offer a curriculum of study that includes at least one-third non-music academic subjects, and show evidence of meeting high professional standards for faculty, curriculum and facilities.


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