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Cellist Audrey Chen Wins $90,000 National Graduate School Fellowship

Audrey, a Harvard/New England Conservatory graduate, is now a DMA student in cello performance at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Cellist Audrey Chen Wins $90,000 National Graduate School Fellowship

This week The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, a $90,000 graduate school fellowship for outstanding immigrants and children of immigrants in the United States announced its 2022 Class of Fellows, which includes cellist Audrey Chen. Audrey, a Harvard/New England Conservatory graduate, is now a DMA student in cello performance at the CUNY Graduate Center. She was the only musician selected to join the Fellowship from a pool of 1,800 applicants in fields ranging from music and medicine to law and the social sciences.

In addition to receiving up to $90,000 in funding, Adurey join the prestigious community of past recipients. The active alumni network includes US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy; Olympians Amy Chow and Patricia Miranda; US Ambassador to Spain Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón; Stanford AI leader Fei-Fei Li; computational biologist Pardis Sabeti; composer Paola Prestini; Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah; Aspiration CEO Andrei Cherny; award-winning writer Kao Kalia Yang, and more than 715 Fellows.

Born and raised in Redmond Washington, Audrey Chen is the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants from Taichung who immigrated to the United States in pursuit of further education. Through the support of her parents and a robust elementary school orchestra program, Audreyfound her way to the cello and was challenged and inspired by its possibilities.

Audrey continued to participate in multiple music programs throughout middle and high school, including her local youth orchestra. As a member of the inaugural United States National Youth Orchestra, she was granted the opportunity to play in concert halls in Russia, London, and across the United States. This program provided her with an understanding of music's ability to transform young lives, leading to her desire to give back through similar educational endeavors.

As an undergraduate at Harvard University, Audrey studied molecular and cellular Biology while she took lessons at the New England Conservatory (NEC) as part of the Harvard/NEC Dual Degree Program. During her years at Harvard, she sought to better understand how to foster connections between people from different fields through shared musical experiences.

Audrey's love for chamber music blossomed as she played in and directed various ensembles at Harvard and founded a string quartet at NEC that performed concerts and taught musical workshops in schools around Boston. She performed as a guest artist with numerous groups including the Boston Chamber Music Society, the Argus Quartet, the Parker Quartet, the Borromeo Quartet, Silk Road Ensemble, and A Far Cry. Audrey has been featured at festivals including Music@Menlo, Perlman Music Program, Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Youth Music Cultural Guangzhou, Tanglewood Music Center, and Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival.

Audrey is currently pursuing her doctorate in musical arts at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaching at Hunter College, CUNY in New York City. She aims to combine performance with education and her research on the systems that underlie classical music's culture in order to better share and expand classical music to all.

"Immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees are an essential part of the United States. The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows demonstrate the ingenuity and diverse perspectives that immigrants of all backgrounds bring to America's graduate programs and to the country as a whole," Fellowship Director Craig Harwood said of the new Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows.

Eligible New Americans include green card holders, naturalized citizens, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, individuals born abroad who graduated from both high school and college in the United States, and the US-born children of two immigrants.

The new class of Fellows have heritage in the following countries: Afghanistan, Cameroon, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, France, Germany, Grenada, India, Israel, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Syria, Taiwan, Uganda, and Vietnam.

The 2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows are studying a wide range of fields, including law, music, economics, architecture, business, physics, medicine, engineering, and agricultural studies.

Founded by Hungarian immigrants, Daisy M. Soros and her late husband Paul Soros (1926-2013), The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program honors the contributions of continuing generations of immigrants in the United States.

"The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship liberated me from the traditional path I was expected to follow," said 2009 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Shantanu Gaur, the cofounder and CEO at Allurion Technologies. "Unburdened from debt and energized by peers who were taking the road less traveled, I have been able to thrive."

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