Our Scholars

Extraordinary Minds

Story: Keir GoGwilt ’13

New York City—Stuyvesant High School

My father grew up in Edinburgh and my mother was born in Indonesia but grew up in Rome. I was also born in Edinburgh, but have grown up in the New York City public school system. I spent my junior year of high school studying in Beijing before returning to graduate from Stuyvesant High School.

As a violinist, I have found the Harvard community incredibly supportive. The Office For the Arts is incredible, and faculty members like Robert Levin and Federico Cortese make me very happy that I chose this university over a conservatory.

In addition, many of the professors in other departments are extremely knowledgeable about music and performance. There are exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary studies. I have organized a class for next semester—to be taught by Federico Cortese in the music department and John Hamilton in the literature department—that will engage in an academic, interdisciplinary study of music performance. It will be an eventful collaboration between students and professors of many different fields.

For the past two years I have performed recitals at the Harvard Club. I am also looking forward to another recital opportunity there this coming year. The Harvard Club has been a warm, welcoming environment in which to perform. It has given me the opportunity to collaborate with great musicians and composers from Harvard and elsewhere, such as Matthew Aucoin ‘12 and Tobias Picker. The hall is wonderful, and I always enjoy meeting interesting Harvard alumni at the events.

This summer, I have been granted an Artist’s Development Fellowship to study music in Europe, and to travel to the Bowdoin International Music Festival where I will perform the Beethoven Violin Concerto. Next semester, I will be collaborating with Matt Aucoin on composing and performing a concert series at the Peabody-Essex Museum (hopefully in collaboration with Harvard), that will explore the limits of the program through recitals, lectures, outreach events, operas, and symphony concerts.

As a rising senior, I am very excited to begin work on my thesis in the literature department. I specialize in the study of music performance. I find it the ideal place to explore the intersection between my interests in the practical considerations of music performance as a performed criticism, and the seemingly more theoretical considerations of literary theory and philosophy. I find that my time studying at Harvard has changed the way I discuss and perform music, as well as more generally helped me discover new ways to encounter the world around me.

I am extremely grateful to be a HCNY Foundation Scholar, as well as for the wonderful, encouraging environment the Club has provided me as a musician and a student.

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