Sarah Stone: Cellist and Gambist

Why Early Music? Why Juilliard?

I've been interested in early music for a couple years now, starting my freshman year at Rice University when I learned to play vielle in an end-of-the-semester music history presentation. After that semester, I joined the collegium class that met once a week on Monday nights, started playing viol and baroque cello, and became a member of the Night Watch, a viol consort created by the incredible Malachai Bandy who's interest in early music inspired me to play more and get involved. At that time, Shepherd was the place I learned to love playing in orchestra and not as much a place where I could take baroque music seriously.

When I looked at grad schools for cello performance, I knew I wanted to go somewhere that I could play baroque as well as modern cello. I decided to go to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to work with Jean-Michel Fonteneau and Elisabeth Reed. I had no idea I would spend my two years transitioning to become a baroque cellist, taking mostly performance practice history classes and performing a large percentage of concerts on instruments other then my modern cello. I learned that I could received both a Master of Cello Performance and an additional Historical Performance Emphasis for Baroque Cello from the conservatory in my first year and so I completed the many extra requirements for the emphasis.

Almost as soon as I started my masters, I started wondering what I wanted to do afterwards as a musician. I couldn't help thinking that I didn't want to be done with school because I felt like I had not yet completed my formal education as a cellist. I had looked at the program at Juilliard when it was founded and endowed in 2009 but never seriously because I never thought I could get into such a fancy program that was so small and had FREE TUITION (scholarships valued around $70,000 for the two years of study at Juilliard)! When I did decide to look into the program seriously at the start of this year, I knew that getting in would be pretty steep odds but I decided that if I was going to go to more school it should be this program.

The audition preparation was actually fun compared to other music school auditions that I've done because I really loved learning the repertoire. I started to learn the 6th Bach Suite on 5-string cello and finally got to play Haydn D Major Cello Concerto on Baroque cello (and on 5 string for a little while too). I was introduced to the fun but crazy Barriere sonatas, learned one of the three newly discovered Vivaldi Sonatas and played a Gabrielli Ricercar, the earliest of the solo cello literature and the music that made cello more then just a bass-line instrument. A very good friend, Addi Liu (who was also in preparation for the Juilliard audition) and I were able to create a recital program from our repertoire, which we performed twice in San Francisco.

The audition itself felt a little intimidating because it was in front of the twelve members of the historical performance faculty including my future teacher, Phoebe Carrai. The audition process included two rounds, the first was from the prepared list and the second was everything else plus sight-reading with the faculty.

After the audition (which took place on March 5th, my birthday), I didn't hear back from the program until April 1st at which point I learned that I was waitlisted. This was around the time my mom started having medical problems that required hospital stays at Swedish and I was actually back in Seattle unexpectedly when I received the news. I thought it was fortuitous then that I would be free to stay and help out with mom and so I started imagining my life as a working adult taking care of my mom after school in Seattle. But then at the end of April, I got a phone call from admissions to say I was accepted! I was so excited! Having thought very seriously about what to do after school, I knew that I wanted so very badly to continue my education especially in early music at Juilliard.

Why I'm asking for your help!

This is an intense year and in particular this summer has been very challenging for my family and me. My mom has been having some major health problems, which leave her stuck in bed all the time and I am spending the summer in Seattle as her primary caregiver while my dad supports the family. We're all hoping that by the end of the summer (and hopefully much sooner) mom is at a stage that she can take care of herself a little bit more and even work again but she is not able to do either of those things right now and we have no idea when this will change. This means that neither my mom nor I can work this summer. For me, it means that I cannot prepare my personal finances for living in New York at all before I go there in the fall.

While I have received full tuition scholarship for my Historical Performance masters from Juilliard, I also need to be able to pay room and board in New York City for two years. Although I received a lot of scholarship from SFCM to cover my degree, I also took out some student loans and I would love to not take out more loans for Juilliard! The school estimates total cost of living in the city for a year to be $16,840.

Juilliard Estimated Costs for 2[phone redacted]:

Tuition $0
Off-Campus Housing and Meals $12,484
Orientation Fee $200
Books, Supplies, Personal Expenses $3,390
Health Services Fee (estimated) $200
Local Transportation $876
Out-of-Town Transportation $1,070

Total Indirect Costs: $16,840

Being able to spend time this summer with my mom is way more important to me then working to support myself but I don't want that to jeopardize my performance and educational future. That is why I'm asking you to help me in my artistic and musical path by funding my move and living expenses in NYC next year. I don't expect to be able to fundraise all of my expenses for next year but I would really appreciate any help that you can give!


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Sarah Stone 
Seattle, WA
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