Bienen-Weinberg senior wins Beinecke Scholarship

Conner VanderBeek

Source: Conner VanderBeek

Conner VanderBeek

Tyler Pager, Assistant Campus Editor

A Bienen-Weinberg senior has been awarded a Beinecke Scholarship to finance part of his graduate studies for his academic and music accomplishments.

Conner VanderBeek, who is pursuing a dual degree in music composition and Asian studies, is one of 20 undergraduates out of 88 students to win the scholarship. He is in his fourth year of a five-year program and is also minoring in ethnomusicology.

The Beinecke Scholarship was created in 1971 to provide funds for students to pursue graduate education. Universities can only nominate one student for the award. VanderBeek will be awarded $34,000.

“It’s such a big thing for me because there are very few other composers at this school, and I don’t know anyone else in the Asian studies program,” he said. “For somebody to take notice of what I’m doing in these areas — something that feels so small and obscure when compared to everyone else — it’s a huge acknowledgement that … somebody is really after me and sees potential in me. It means a lot to me.”

VanderBeek is interested in studying music composition in graduate school and said his three top choices are Oxford University, Yale University and the New England Conservatory.

“Music is the way in which I understand the world,” he said. “A lot of what we experience is beyond what we can communicate through words. I see music as a language that is as powerful as spoken language.”

VanderBeek is currently working on his thesis, for which he is conducting an ethnography of the Gurdwara Sahib of Chicago, a Sikh temple, with a particular focus on music.

“Conner’s interest in Asian studies complements his skill and energy as a composer and performer,” history Prof. Peter Carroll said in a news release. “Many composers are content to appropriate instruments or compositional styles from other cultural traditions. Conner brings a sophisticated musicological perspective to the possibilities and challenges of a cosmopolitan approach to composition.”

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