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Meadowmount School of Music Awards the Inaugural $50,000 Gurrena Fellowship to Cellist Sydney Lee

Meadowmount School of Music, the summer program for young string players founded by legendary violin teacher Ivan Galamian in Westport, NY, that has helped mold some of the world’s most prominent musicians, has awarded its inaugural Gurrena Fellowship, worth $50,000, to 25-year-old cellist Sydney Lee. The announcement was made at the final student concert of this year’s session, on August 10, at which Lee performed Schumann’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in A minor, Op. 105.

Sydney Lee (center) accepting the Gurrena Fellowship from Meadowmount Artistic Director Janet Sung (left) and Executive Director Mark Hayman (right)

Created in memory of David A. Barnebl, a passionate music lover, by his wife, Linda Gurrena Barnebl, of Panton, VT, the Gurrena Fellowship provides generous support to an exceptional student artist at Meadowmount School of Music at the end of each season. The purpose of the fellowship is to enable extraordinary young artists who pursue their careers with vigor and passion to do so without the burden of financial constraint. During the Fellowship year, the recipient receives a generous housing allowance; professional artist management services including consulting by Monica Felkel Creative Partners; featured concert engagements supported by Meadowmount School of Music; and continued training by Meadowmount faculty for the summer of 2023.

Meadowmount, “the original practice camp” that counts among its illustrious alumni Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Joshua Bell, marks its 78th year this summer with its first fully in-person session since 2019, and its first under the leadership of Executive Director Mark Hayman and Artistic Director Janet Sung.

Sydney Lee said, “I am so honored and grateful to be the first recipient of this amazing award! Meadowmount has been instrumental in my development as a musician, so this really means so much to me. What an incredible opportunity! I am so excited for another year of continued friendship and music-making with Meadowmount!”

“I am excited to partner with Meadowmount and their inaugural Gurrena Fellowship recipient,” said Monica Felkel. “The school has created a unique opportunity for an emerging artist to have career-building support at a critical time in their development that is rarely available but so greatly needed. Sydney is a fantastic artist, and I am looking forward to working with her to explore new opportunities that take into account her individual artistic aspirations.”

Sydney Lee, cello
Korean-American cellist Sydney Lee is a young artist captivating audiences on the international stage. An avid chamber musician, she is the founder of the award-winning Galvin Cello Quartet, and is pursuing a DMA degree at Northwestern University, where she continues her studies with Hans Jørgen Jensen. This summer was her seventh year at Meadowmount; her mother, also a cellist, is a Meadowmount alumna.

Sydney has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe in many of the world’s leading venues, including Washington DC’s Kennedy Center, the Palladium at the Center for Performing Arts, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, New World Center in Miami, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall, Carnegie Hall, Euphrasian Basilica, Konzerthaus Berlin, and Fryderyk Chopin University Hall in Warsaw. She won first prize at the 2022 Washington International Competition and second prize at the Classic Strings International Competition; she also received first prize at the International Antonio Janigro Cello Competition in Croatia, second prize at the Lennox International Young Artists Competition, and was a winner of the New York Classical Music Society Recital Series, winning a solo recital engagement in New York City.

Sydney was a finalist of the National YoungArts Foundation and was subsequently named a 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. She was the recipient of the 2015 Korean Honors Scholarship, awarded by the South Korean Embassy in Washington D.C. Recent engagements include an appearance with the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, where Sydney was praised by renowned cellist Julian Lloyd Webber: “Sydney Lee’s playing of Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante was mesmerizing. She surmounted all of its technical challenges with ease and gave us a joyous musical experience. It was a performance to treasure.” Previous engagements include performances with the Zagreb Soloists, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Bravura Philharmonic Orchestra, and Monmouth Symphony Orchestra.

Meadowmount in brief
Founded in 1944 by legendary violin teacher Ivan Galamian, Meadowmount School of Music is a seven-week summer program for young violinists, violists, and cellists whose approach of intensive study and practice has helped mold some of the greatest artists of our time. Musicians ages 13 to 30+ from around the world gather at the school’s campus in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York to further their musical skills with, in Mr. Galamian’s words, “a special spirit that is conducive to total concentration on excellence in musical performance,” aided by a faculty of renowned artists.

The stellar array of alumni over the school’s 78-year history includes Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman, Jaime Laredo, Lynn Harrell, Kyung-Wha Chung, Ani and Ida Kavafian, Joshua Bell, James Ehnes, Rachel Barton Pine, Alisa Weilerstein, and Jessie Montgomery. Meadowmount alumni are well represented internationally among soloists and chamber musicians, principal players of leading orchestras, and distinguished teachers.

With a capacity enrollment of 200 on the 52-building, 240-acre campus, the school retains an intimacy that provides for personal attention and fosters camaraderie among the students. Many of the school’s alumni return as members of the faculty, ensuring the continuity of the Meadowmount teaching tradition. The faculty roster that has over the years included Gregor Piatigorsky, Josef Gingold, Isaac Stern, Leonard Rose, Sally Thomas, and Dorothy DeLay, has recently featured cellist Hans Jørgen Jensen and violinists Ann Setzer and Gerardo Ribeiro – a lineage that is unmatched in the field.

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