Six Outstanding Young Performing Artists Emerge from Among 360 Applicants As Inaugural Recipients of “Rhodes Scholarships in the Performing Arts” New York University President L. Jay Oliva and Alberto Vilar — co-chairs of the International Selection Committee of the Alberto Vilar Global Fellows in the Performing Arts program — today announced the outstanding young performing artists who have been selected as the first recipients of the new, prestigious Vilar Fellowships.

The winners are:

Rania Ajami - Filmmaking; Princeton University,’01; Ann Arbor, MI

Aaron Jafferis - Musical Theatre Writing; UC Berkeley, ‘97; New Haven, CT

Arnulfo Maldonado – Design for Stage and Film; University of the Incarnate Word, Texas, ‘01; Eagle Pass, TX

John Savage – Woodwind Studies; student, NYU Steinhardt School of Education, and graduate, Portland State University, ‘94; Portland, OR

Matthew Shulman – Jazz Studies; Oberlin College, ‘96; St. Johnbury, VT

Patricia Zarate – Jazz Studies; Berklee College of Music, ‘99; Santiago, Chile

The Vilar Global Fellows program at NYU was unveiled last spring. Mr. Vilar, a renowned philanthropist of the arts and the chairman of Amerindo Investments, has pledged $23 million to establish the Vilar Global Fellows program, which is modeled as a Rhodes Scholarship program for the performing arts based at NYU. The program will bring promising and talented young performing artists to New York City for two years of fully funded study, beginning in the fall of 2002.

Dr. Oliva said, “Every once in a great while, we are privileged to see something novel and great emerge. The establishment of the Vilar Global Fellows in the Performing

Arts was one of those moments. It is a simple idea – to marry young artists of outstanding talents with an institution renowned for its training in the arts in a city widely recognized as the cultural capital of the world.

“Ideas are potent, and this one in particular. Alberto Vilar recognized it right away. And I believe that is why we were so successful in having so many applicants from so many fine schools – they responded to the compelling power of this idea. This first group of Vilar Fellows are possessed of such extraordinary talents – they will add immeasurably to the life of this University, of this city, and, I am certain, to their artistic disciplines.

“I admire all our applicants – they displayed a wonderful range of talents and interests. And I am grateful to those who agreed to serve as selectors, both on the international committee and on the regional committees; their own professional backgrounds and artistic passions ensured today’s excellent outcome. And I would like to thank Alberto Vilar especially, whose commitment has enabled this powerful idea to become a reality.”

Mr. Vilar said, “These extremely talented young artists are about to embark on a life-changing voyage as they refine their skills and benefit from the wisdom and guidance of some of the world’s greatest teachers. I would like to congratulate each and every one of them for being selected to the first-ever class of Fellows. I am thrilled to play a part in ensuring that tomorrow’s stars receive the best possible training today, and I am proud to be associated with a university as high-caliber as NYU.”

In all, there were 360 performing artists – students and graduates from 191 colleges and universities — who applied from Europe and North America for the chance to be a Vilar Fellow at NYU. Candidates for the fellowships applied in the following artistic categories: acting, dance, design, dramatic writing, filmmaking, instrumental performance (piano and woodwinds), jazz studies, musical composition, music technology, music theatre (vocal performance and writing), and cross-disciplinary.

On March 25th, the 19 semi-finalists gathered at New York University for additional auditions. Twelve finalists were selected to go on to a final round of auditions today (March 26) before members of the International Selection Committee. Its members include:

James Bartek, production manager and technical director, Teatro de Madrid

John Conklin, designer for Metropolitan Opera, among others

John Corigliano, composer William Finn, composer/lyricist/writer; works include Royal Family and Falsettos

Derek Gordon, jazz musician and vice president for education, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Joanna Merlin, actress and casting director

Mark Morris, dancer and artistic director, Mark Morris Dance Group

Marilyn Neeley, pianist and dean of the Benjamin Rome School of Music at the Catholic University of America

Jacquline Park, author and emerita professor of film, television and dramatic writing at the Tisch School of the Arts

Morton Subotnick, composer and director of the composition department and the Center for Experiments in Art, Information and Technology at the California Institute for the Arts

Petr Zelenka, filmmaker and faculty member at NYU in Prague

Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimò, philanthropist and patron of the arts

The first step of the application process for the Vilar Fellowships is to submit work to NYU for evaluation by appropriate academic departments. Those who pass a stringent faculty review are then forwarded to the six regional selection committees, which are located in eastern Europe, western Europe, and the north-eastern, mid-western, south-eastern, and western regions of North America. The regional selection committees are the second step. Top candidates from this step of the process – semi-finalists — go to New York City in the spring, where they compete further. The international selection committee chooses the group who will become Vilar Fellows and study at NYU.

Regional selection committees will be established in Asia/Australia and South America in fall 2003 and in Africa and the Middle East in fall 2004.

The Alberto Vilar Global Fellows in the Performing Arts was established by philanthropist Alberto Vilar at New York University to identify and support promising students of exceptional talent in the performing arts from around the world for a special two-year program of graduate education, training, and support. Vilar Fellows will receive full tuition, housing, and travel funds.

New York University, which was established in 1831, is one of the largest and most prestigious private research universities in the U.S. It has more international students than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 13 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, dentistry, education, nursing, business, social work, the cinematic and performing arts, public administration and policy, and continuing studies, among other areas.

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