DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas College of Music has named jazz studies and music education student Brendon Wilkins of Saratoga, NY, the 2015-16 Presser Scholar and recipient of the $4,200 Presser Scholarship.
The Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award is presented annually to a student entering his or her senior year who has shown extraordinary musical and academic accomplishments. The Presser award is considered the most prestigious undergraduate award in music at UNT and has a continuous history in the college that stretches back well before 1951.
The winner is nominated and selected by the UNT music faculty and receives the award from the Presser Foundation, which awards annual scholarships, grants and funds for the furthering of music education and music in America. Theodore Presser, who was a music publisher and philanthropist, established the foundation in 1916.
"Brendon exemplifies the Presser Scholar Award in every way through his achievements as a performer, scholar and future educator, and it's been a pleasure to guide and direct his musical growth through his undergraduate years," said Regents Professor of Music Mary Karen Clardy, who nominated Wilkins for the scholarship.
In addition to his jazz studies in saxophone and instrumental music education studies in classical flute, Wilkins has been an active member in the Honors College. In the past year, he won first prize in the local and regional National Association of Negro Musicians' Winds and Percussion Competition – and won fourth prize in the national finals in Los Angeles. He also recently won first prize in the Denton Music Teachers Association 2015 Young Artist Performance Competition.
When he found out he was chosen as the 2015-16 Presser Scholarship recipient, Wilkins said he felt very privileged to receive such a prestigious award and was proud to represent UNT.
"It is a great honor to be chosen as the Presser Scholarship recipient when I am surrounded with such a wide array of great musical talent at UNT," said Wilkins.
He said the scholarship will help him as he continues to further his education, which will ultimately help him achieve his professional goals of becoming a college music professor.
"This scholarship will help me pursue my education after my undergraduate work. I plan to pursue a master's degree in multiple woodwinds to study jazz and classical flute, jazz and classical saxophone, clarinet, and double reed instruments. After the completion of my master's degree, I plan to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree as well," said Wilkins.