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Ayoun K., 25 – FUNDED

Cellist Ayoun K. is currently attending the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, working towards her Artist Diploma in Chamber Music. Previously, this Paliwal Club of 100 Music Scholar attended The Juilliard School in New York for her Master of Music degree and her Bachelor of Music degree. “I align with the values of empowerment and holistic development of the Paliwal Club,” says this accomplished musician. “The financial support emphasizes commitment to female music scholars.”

What is your professional dream?

My goal is to be a cello teacher at the collegiate level.

What does being in the Paliwal Club of 100 mean to you? 

Being in the club is more than a membership; it’s a commitment to empowerment and education. It allows me to contribute to a diverse and thriving musical landscape.

The club represents a collective effort to make a lasting impact on aspiring female musicians. It’s a chance to be part of a community making a difference in the lives and careers of women in music.

Women are underrepresented in the S.T.E.A.M. (science, tech, arts or math) fields and music industry. How can we change this? 

Mentorship Programs: Establish mentorship programs connecting aspiring women with successful professionals. Encourage collaboration and knowledge-sharing within the industry.

Diverse Representation: Advocate for diverse representation in media, showcasing women’s achievements in STEM and the music industry. Support initiatives that promote diversity in hiring practices.

Equal Opportunities: Ensure equal opportunities for women in education, employment, and career advancement. Challenge gender biases and stereotypes in recruitment and promotion processes.

Educational Reforms: Advocate for reforms in educational curricula to eliminate gender biases. Promote inclusive teaching methods that encourage girls to pursue S.T.E.A.M. and music.

Celebration of Achievements: Celebrate and recognize the achievements of women in STEM and music. Highlight success stories to inspire the next generation.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

In my journey through classical music, I have encountered several challenges, compounded by the fact that I am an immigrant. While there is a wealth of talented female musicians, the persistent lack of women in positions of power remains evident. Additionally, the representation of people of color (POC) and Asian women in authoritative roles, such as president, artistic director, chair of the department, etc., is insufficient, leaving me with limited role models in these positions.

Financially, the pursuit of the cello has been demanding due to the instrument’s high cost. String instruments, in general, entail significant expenses. Personally, as an immigrant, I do not own an instrument that meets industry standards, relying on borrowed instruments from various organizations throughout my collegiate studies. Beyond the initial cost, playing the cello introduces additional financial considerations, such as the need to purchase two plane tickets when traveling and covering maintenance fees for the upkeep of old wooden instruments.

These financial challenges, coupled with the unique hurdles faced as an immigrant, underscore the formidable barriers encountered by aspiring musicians in their journey to pursue their passion and professional development.

How will this grant from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals?

With this support, I will be able to apply for and attend programs outside of my school that I have long aspired to be a part of. This opportunity is crucial for enhancing my skills and becoming a more well-rounded musician and educator. Attending these programs will expose me to diverse musical experiences and allow me to interact with a broader range of musicians.

This exposure is essential for gaining a deeper understanding of different teaching approaches and musical styles. Aspiring to teach at a collegiate level requires a comprehensive knowledge base and a connection with a variety of musical contexts. This grant will enable me to build those connections, ultimately contributing to my growth as a cello teacher and enhancing my ability to connect with a wider range of students.