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EM Nova Fellowship

The NEC EM Nova Fellowship is a new student-run music presenting collaborative managed by six fellows who program, produce, and perform two evening-length performances, one community engagement experience, and two board meetings, overseen by the EM Department and NEC Administration.


The six-fellow team consists of two executive co-directors, one each from the classical and Jazz/CI departments, and four department directors each responsible for one area of nonprofit leadership. The fellows work together to design two concert performance experiences; each fellow also works under the tutelage of their counterpart within the NEC administration in their particular area of responsibility.

The EM Nova Fellows have access to a discretionary budget to hire additional NEC student musicians and pay costs related to venue booking, promotion, or concert materials. Fellows are responsible for all concert planning and production including but not limited to performing, producing, marketing, ticket sales, additional personnel hiring, and all patron services.

The yearlong fellowships are open to any returning NEC student in any discipline.  The application consists of essay questions, a resume that shows related experience, and an in-person interview and audition. Fellows each receive a $2,000 stipend for the year; workload mirrors the time commitment and compensation of a 4-6 hour/week work study position. 

Co-Executive Directors

Sara Pajunen is a violinist and composer who has received classical music degrees in both the United States and Finland and currently studies in the Contemporary Improvisation department at NEC). She has released six albums in connection with her Finnish ancestry, including the most recent on German record label Nordic Notes. Centering around themes of culture, immigration, home, and progress, Pajunen’s work asks us to find the threads that connect us beyond time and culture, to look toward commonality rather than difference.

Julia Cohen is a vocal performance major and acting minor at NEC. She loves learning new styles of music to help her growth as a musician. Julia’s previous experience includes fellowships with the Community Partnerships and Entrepreneurial Musicianship departments at NEC, and she is excited to spread live music in the Boston area as co-director of the NEC EM Nova Fellowship.

Production Director

Nick Rosario is a master's student at NEC in Jazz Performance for trombone. Nick recently recorded and produced an original record, The Out Crowd¸ and has also worked to produce various music productions in Boston and in California.

Marketing Director

Cordelia Tapping is a jazz singer and songwriter entering her last year at NEC.  She has performed at the Vermont Jazz Center, in Music for Food concerts, as backup for Lake Street Dive, and on the stage of the Yellow Barn Music Festival in Vermont, as well as in Boston and New York neighborhoods on Yellow Barn’s Music Haul.  In her free time, she enjoys biking, baking, and making lists.

Finance Director

Andrew Barnwell is a sophomore pianist at NEC studying with Victor Rosenbaum and works for NEC's Preparatory school as student manager of the piano seminars. Andrew was an NEC 150 fellow in 2017, a position for which he curated a diverse set of ten ensembles for NEC's Open Studios event, and is excited to be interning this summer at Celebrity Series, one of Boston's premier performing arts organizations.

Engagement Director

Tyler Martin is a graduate student at NEC studying flute in the studio of Paula Robison. In addition to being a seasoned performer and teacher, Tyler is also a pioneer for musical advocacy, especially in underserved and minority communities.