Another Year of Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Awards

Flutist Douglas DeVries performing at our Aspen live radio taping.

Young Artist Douglas DeVries performing at our Aspen live radio taping.

Our live radio taping in El Paso, TX last month marked the fantastic milestone of more than $1,000,000 in scholarships awarded through our Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award program. To those not familiar with the program, every year the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award is given to twenty-five promising young artists from around the country with financial need. Although they come from diverse backgrounds, the Young Artists share one thing in common: passion for classical music. The select few are each given $10,000 to help with their musical development. In conjunction with the award, they perform on a live taping of From The Top and receive Cultural Leadership training that encourages them to share their talents and knowledge of classical music with their communities.

The following are some quotes from this year’s recipients about receiving the award, their experiences on the radio show, and giving back to their communities:

“Being a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist, you have the opportunity to be exposed to every type of inspiration: musical inspiration from the peers on the show, inspiration from the curious and awe-inspired kids that you work with through the cultural leadership program, and inspiration from the scholarship itself in knowing that so many things really are possible if you keep working hard for them.”

-Clare Monfredo, 17 year-old cellist.

“I vividly remember the day when I first received word that I was a candidate to receive a Young Artist Award. It was a feeling I will never forget! My family and I were possessed by thoughts about whether or not I would be selected as a recipient. When I finally got that phone call, I was ecstatic! I remember calling my mom, voice trembling, to tell her the good news! That day in particular I was on the way to my flute lesson and I ended up getting there late because in my excitement I got onto the wrong freeway. It was such a wonderful day!”

-Douglas DeVries, 18 year-old flutist.

“The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has given me opportunities this year that I thought I were going to be unattainable. Coming from a single-parent home, with a mother that works hard to provide with dignity a solid and established household, we struggle financially. This has opened doors to new and exciting events: earning a leadership position in the New England Conservatory’s Young Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as being accepted at the most prestigious music schools in this country to continue my education.”

-Karen Cueva, 17 year-old violinist.

From the Top was a blast. The atmosphere of the show was as fresh as the bracing snow outdoors in Indianapolis, and I especially appreciated that the staff was dedicated to musical excellence while at the same time being open and friendly. My favorite moments were actually the tense ones; I loved the challenge of staying cool when Christopher O’Riley asked me unexpected questions in the radio interview!”

-Michael Taylor, 16 year-old composer.

“The opportunities and progress I have been able to achieve this year could never have come about without the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. As this has been my senior year of high school, I feel that I have finally really taken off as a cellist and will be able to transition gracefully into my undergraduate years. Through my cello, the Young Artist Program, my teachers, my high school, my friends, and my family, I’m finally ready to go off on my own. Thank you for this growth spurt, as a cellist and as a young woman.”

-Emma Bobbs, 17 year-old cellist.

“With my cultural leadership project, I wrote a letter to the Madison Board of Education regarding the decline of music education in the public schools. From there, I was allowed to give a speech at the Board Budget meeting for 2009, and I hope that this will make a difference in the Fine Arts budget. Without continued support from the public schools, I believe that the skill level of up-and-coming musicians will decline, and this would be a terrible thing for the world.”

-Ansel Norris, 16 year-old trumpet player.

We  wish all award recipients the best of luck! Updates will be posted here as we receive them.

For more information on Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, please visit our website.