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Bloomingdale School Of Music Awards Van Lier And Arena/D'Eletto Fellowship

Recipients of the Fellowship are Alexa Carmona, Aaron Nichols, Julian Walther, and Layton Yang Zhang.

Bloomingdale School of Music has announced that they have awarded four students the Van Lier and Arena/D'Eletto Fellowship. Made possible with support from the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund and the Joseph Arena and Tom D'Eletto Fund for Fellowships in Classical Music through the New York Community Trust, the two-year pre-professional fellowships are offered to selected students in the Music Access Program (MAP) who aspire to have a career in the arts.

Recipients of the Fellowship are Alexa Carmona, Aaron Nichols, Julian Walther, and Layton Yang Zhang.

"We are blessed and excited to grant this opportunity to these four outstanding students at this time" said Erika Atkins, Executive Director of Bloomingdale School of Music. "This is an incredible achievement with professional development opportunities such as representing Bloomingdale as an ambassador by performing, speaking, and working at events and concerts."

This Fellowship, in the amount of $90,000 for two-year fellowships, provides four young musicians with mentors, workshops, and help with college applications. Fellows also will perform in an annual recital and receive $1,000 college scholarships, with at least one fellow focusing on classical music.

About the Recipients

Alexa Carmona is a junior vocal major at LaGuardia Arts High School. She began her cello studies eight years ago at UpBeat NYC, an El-Sistema based music program in the Bronx. In 2020, Carmona successfully auditioned for the Music Access Project, a scholarship pre-college program at Bloomingdale School of Music, and is currently studying with Margalit Cantor. Besides classical music, Carmona enjoys a variety of genres, and she is a big fan of Bad Bunny (a Hispanic Trap/Reggaeton Latino artist).

Aaron Nichols (b. 2003) is a homeschooled eleventh-grader in New York City. He has studied cello with Margalit Cantor at Bloomingdale since he was seven years old, and has been in the map program since fall of 2017, through which he has played chamber music and studied theory with Yvonne Troxler and Sebastian Cruz. He has also been composing since the age of eight, and has had many of his compositions played through Bloomingdale's A4TY student composing project. Since 2018 he has studied composition with Kevin James through the American Composers' Orchestra's program ACO Compose Yourself, which has provided professional readings for several compositions. His composition Don't Get Blue, Get Angry won the Ensemble Ibis composition competition in 2019, and he was among the winners of MATA Jr. in 2020. He has also worked extensively with Face The Music, a youth program dedicated to studying and performing works by living composers.

Julian Walther, violinist, began his musical studies at age 6. Throughout middle school, he played in Westchester County's Rivertowns Concert series for three consecutive years as first chair. He also competed annually in NYSSMA, achieving near perfect scores, earning him first violin in All County Orchestra. Walther has been studying at Bloomingdale School of Music, with Naho Parrini, since 2018. He also began sessions with The Chamber Music Center of New York, where he was featured with his group on a performing tour of Tuscany in the summer of 2019. Other performances include appearances at Lincoln Center, Riverside Cathedral, Central Park Classical Theatre of Harlem and Scandinavia House. Walther successfully auditioned for the Music Access Project to further intensify his music studies. He is currently a junior in high school, Concert Master of his school Chamber Orchestra, and is looking toward a musical career in college.

Yang (Layton) Zhang is a junior instrumental major at LaGuardia Arts High School. He studies piano with Judith Olson at Bloomingdale School of Music as part of the Music Access Project. He began playing the piano at the age of 7 in Hong Kong and later also began singing with the Children's Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera House once moving back to the United States. Joining the Children's Chorus exposed him to many new musical elements, as well as the thrill of performing live on stage. Aside from musical activities, he also enjoys volleyball, programming, video editing, and STEM activities.

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