DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas College of Music has named mezzo-soprano Alyssa Narum of Spring, Texas, the 2013-14 Presser Scholar and recipient of the $4,800 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 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. The foundation was founded in 1916 by Theodore Presser, a music publisher and philanthropist.
“When I heard her, before she started at UNT, I knew Alyssa had a career voice,” said Dr. Linda Di Fiore, Regents Professor of Voice. “Talented and smart, she is often the youngest finalist in competitions. She distinguished herself at an early age. I believe she has the potential for a career on the opera stage.”
The vocal performance senior started singing in choir when she was in the fourth grade and began taking voice lessons at age 13. A student of Di Fiore, Narum has participated since her freshman year in UNT’s A Cappella Choir, Collegium Singers, and UNT Opera Theatre, and has been featured as a soloist with each of these groups. She performed the role of Stéfano in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, and was featured in two roles in the 2011 Opera Gala. Narum was a finalist in the most recent UNT Winspear Opera Competition and was selected as Outstanding Undergraduate in Vocal Studies in 2012. She is also a member of the Honors College at UNT.
“At first, I wanted to sing because I knew I had a natural ability for it and it was something I really enjoyed,” said Narum. “Now, I sing because it fuels my passion for life. This musical medium is what I have to inspire people, and I have accomplished something of great worth if I can make someone feel a fraction of what I feel when I perform.”
Receiving the Presser Scholarship is an honor and shows her how the College of Music supports her work, Narum said.
“Often times, it is easy to feel like I am alone in this world of music trying to press forward through obstacles, but in this scholarship I see that there are people behind the dream I envisioned for myself as a child and that is just one more reason to be motivated,” she said.