Daniel T. Davis of Waxhaw, N.C., who is working on a bachelor's degree in music and a master's degree in history at The Johns Hopkins University, has been selected by the British government as a Marshall Scholar, one of 40 chosen nationwide.
Davis is a senior in the university's Peabody Conservatory of Music and also is pursuing a master of arts in American history in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, from which he already holds an undergraduate degree. His selection to one of the most prestigious of academic scholarships for graduating seniors and recent graduates will allow him to spend two years in Great Britain, where he hopes to pursue a master's degree in music composition at the Royal Academy of Music.
"As a composer, I find it extremely important to be exposed to musical artists who will challenge my artistic senses in yet unimaginable ways," Davis, 22, wrote in his application essay for the Marshall Scholarship. "British composers have traditionally worked from notably different aesthetic sensibilities than American composers, and, though I most certainly consider myself an 'American- sounding' composer, I am thrilled at the prospects of gaining new perspectives on the art."
Davis is one of two Marshall Scholarship winners from Johns Hopkins this year. The other is Sondra L. Hellstrom, 20, of Ellicott City, Md.. Hellstrom is double majoring in physics and electrical engineering and minoring in math. A third Johns Hopkins senior, 20-year-old biology major Wen Shi of West Bloomfield, Mich., was named a Rhodes scholar. The university's most recent previous Marshall winner was Lionel D. Foster in 2001. Marshall Scholarships are funded by the British government to commemorate the Marshall Plan, the U.S. government program that assisted in the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.
Davis already holds a bachelor's degree in history from Johns Hopkins and is on track to earn his master's in May 2004. Davis is also on course to receive a bachelor's degree in piano composition from the Peabody Conservatory at the same time. He has served as composer-in-residence at Brightstar Music Festival and is also founder and director of Carolina NewMusic, a free series of summer concerts devoted to contemporary music. In addition to winning numerous prizes, grants, and fellowships, he was named to the USA Today All-USA Academic Team in 2002, the first composer to earn a spot on the team in 12 years. His saxophone chamber concerto, titled "Bridge of San Luis Rey," written for Harlan Parker and saxophonist Jason McFeaters, was performed by the Peabody Wind Ensemble on Nov. 5. The Peabody Camerata and the Peabody Opera Workshop will present the world premiere of Davis's chamber opera "If I Were a Voice" in April 2004. The opera follows the lives of the Hutchinsons, a 19th-century family of singers and radical reformers.
At Peabody, Davis studies composition with Christopher Theofanidis, winner of the 2003 Masterprize, and piano/accompanying with Nancy Roldan and Eileen Cornett. In the Krieger School, he works under the guidance of history professor Michael Johnson.
Marshall Scholarships give up to 40 winners each year the opportunity to study at any British university. The scholarship pays university fees and living expenses, as well as travel to and from the United States. It is typically a two-year grant, with the possibility of extending the scholarship for a third year. Recipients must be U.S. citizens no older than 25 with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.70 after freshman year.
Besides a letter of endorsement from their university and four other letters of recommendation, applicants must submit by early October an outline of their proposed studies in Great Britain along with a personal essay. After a regional selection committee reviews the applications, candidates are chosen and interviewed by the committee in mid-November.
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