Bassoonist Elizabeth Schurgin has performed throughout North America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.  An avid chamber musician, Liz has performed with Windscape, is a three-time winner of the Lillian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition, and a member of the Sirocco Quartet.  She recently graduated with her Master of Music in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music where she was a student of Frank Morelli.  Before attending MSM, Liz received her BA in History and Master in Music from Yale University.  As a recipient of Yale’s Lewis P. Curtis Fellowship for Travel, she spent the summer of 2006 researching Antonio Vivaldi’s original bassoon concerti in Turin, Italy.  In the spring of 2010, as a Mozart Project Fellow, Liz co-taught an after-school music appreciation and composition class for elementary students at P.S. 218 in New York City.  In addition to playing the bassoon, Liz captained the Yale Women’s Water Polo Team and cycled across the United States with the Habitat Bicycle Challenge to raise money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity, bassoon in tow.  Liz is originally from Deerfield, Illinois.

Read Elizabeth Schurgin's blog.

A Talk with Elizabeth Schurgin

1. Why did you apply to the Abreu Fellows Program?

I admire what El Sistema has done for Venezuela and want to get involved.

2. What tools will you develop during this fellowship and how do you think these tools will be useful in your future post?

I believe it will enhance my leadership and teaching skills and further enlighten me about the current state of music education in the United States.  My goal is to use these skills to develop a program that provides music education to any interested members of a community.

3. Where do you see yourself in five years? What will you be doing and why?

 I see myself in a multifaceted music career that incorporates my passion for performance with my love for teaching.  I hope to be in a leading role in an organization that uses classical music to better serve its community.

4. Why do you think that music education is important to a child's development?

Music education teaches children a variety of life skills including creativity, teamwork and discipline.  It helps them discover a self-identity while at the same time, learn to respect others.

5. Write a short analysis of the present state of music education for children in the US. What has been done right and where do you see room for  improvement?
Too many programs have been cut for budget reasons.  Every child should have the same opportunity to learn music. If we can create and sustain more programs, then we can ensure that more children have the necessary self-confidence and creativity to follow their dreams.

6. How did you learn about El Sistema?

We discussed it during an orchestra rehearsal in college.  The clarinetist sitting next to me said that he had performed with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra and had one of their red, yellow and blue jackets.  Curious, I browsed Youtube later that day and was hooked.

7. Why do you think El Sistema is unique? What elements made the El Sistema program successful where others were not?

It has an entire country excited about music and music education.  It provides much-needed social welfare and as a result, has given many communities a reason to value the symphony orchestra.

8. Have you worked with or mentored children in the past?

I tutored students while in college and graduate school.  This past year, I co-taught an after school music appreciation and composition class to fourth and fifth grade students at P.S. 218 in the Bronx.