Juilliard Awards Full Scholarship to UMass Voice Student Natalie Lewis

Natalie Lewis
Natalie Lewis

Natalie Lewis ’21, a voice student in the UMass Amherst department of music and dance, has recently been awarded a Kovner Fellowship to attend The Juilliard School in New York City. Lewis, who graduates from UMass with a bachelor’s in voice performance later this month, will utilize the award to pursue her master of music in vocal arts.

Established in 2014, the Kovner Fellowship Program provides full tuition and living expenses for the recipients’ entire course of study—the only scholarship program at Juilliard to do so. The Fellowship Committee selects the top undergraduate and graduate musicians from around the world based primarily on their artistic merit; other factors include “a successful academic history, a personal capacity for intellectual curiosity, commitment to the value of art in society, and potential for leadership in the field.” The Fellowship also includes professional enrichment experiences such as travel to auditions, competitions and conferences, as well as recording and performance opportunities.

In congratulating Lewis on her accomplishment, department chair Salvatore Macchia commented, “The Kovner Fellowship is one of the most prestigious honors Juilliard bestows, and is a significant marker of a superb young talent, one which speaks to the bright future that Natalie has ahead of her. Natalie’s achievements are of course her own, but they also reflect the splendid work being done by our voice faculty.”

Lewis, who studied under voice professor William Hite, has distinguished herself during her time at UMass through her participation in the UMass Chamber Choir and Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and in productions like Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” by UMass Opera, in which she performed the role of Third Lady to the Queen of the Night. In the summer of 2019, Lewis was selected to participate in the American Institute for Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria where she performed with the AIMS Festival Orchestra and toured with the AIMS Spiritual Ensemble. Earlier this year, Lewis took first place in the regional Student Auditions competition sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing (Upper College Treble category). This summer, she will go on to compete in the NATS National Finals while also attending Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artists Vocal Academy and performing the role of Marcelina in Opera NEO’s production of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.

A graduate of Bedford (Mass.) High School, Lewis commented. “I am overjoyed at my acceptance to Juilliard and cannot wait to move to New York City.” She credits Hite with helping to develop her talents and guiding her through the almost six-month audition process to attend Juilliard. Hite hailed Lewis’s exceptional determination and resilience as a student and an artist, and noted that her “innate ability to tap into an instinctive connection to the material” will serve her well in what promises to be a bright future.