Doctoral student Juliana Yap, who is graduating from the West Virginia University School of Music this spring, traveled halfway around the world from her home in Indonesia to study in the WVU College of Creative Arts, where she recently was awarded a WVU Dissertation Fellowship for her research on long-forgotten American female composer Margaret Ruthven Lang.

The Dissertation Fellowship Program provides selected doctoral students with support of $6,000 during the last semester of their programs of study to allow them focused time to complete the writing of their dissertation.

The awards are based on academic merit and demonstrated progress in research, scholarship or creative activities.

Yap, who is a pianist, said the international reputations and connections of the faculty in the School of Music made a very big impression on her and were key factors in her decision to attend WVU.

“It was a realization of my dream to come to WVU,” she said. “It seemed like a wonderful place to share my passion with other aspiring musicians and gain real-life musical experience.”

Yap’s research subject, composer Margaret Ruthven Lang (1867-1972), made history in April 1893 when the Boston Symphony Orchestra premiered her work titled “Dramatic Overture, Op. 12.” It was the first time a major American symphony orchestra performed a composition written by a woman.

Yap is helping to rediscover the life story and works of this long-forgotten female composer, who published pianos pieces and some 140 songs. Her works were well-received and performed internationally by many of the great performers of the day.

“The culture of American women composers has driven me to learn more about Lang, the sociocultural influences on composition and the function of music during that specific era,” Yap said.

Yap’s mentor at WVU, piano professor Lucy Mauro, has long been interested in Lang’s music. She recently recorded two volumes of songs by Lang with tenor Donald George. The works have received much critical acclaim, including being named Recording of the Year 2011 by MusicWeb International and selected by iTunes for their New and Noteworthy, among other recognitions.

Mauro has been an influential part of Yap’s time at WVU.

“She is a great, dedicated mentor,” Yap said. “Her rich ideas and suggestions have broadened my knowledge specifically in this dissertation. Her dedication and collaboration have driven me to be a more professional and skilled writer.”

After completing her doctorate in piano performance this spring, Yap plans to continue her education at WVU, completing a second doctoral emphasis in collaborative piano, which is a new program in the School of Music.

Yap currently serves as a piano/theory senior faculty member in the WVU Community Music Program. She also received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WVU and, as a graduate assistant, taught class piano to non-keyboard music majors as well as applied lessons to undergraduate piano majors. She is also an adjunct piano professor at Washington and Jefferson College. Besides teaching, she often accompanies vocal and instrumental music majors in the School of Music.

Yap participated in the International Performing Arts Institute in Germany in the summer of 2010 as a Collaborative Piano Fellow and performed at the Rubinstein Hall at the Steinway-Haus in Munich.

She has also been the recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship and the North-Sumatra High-Scorer from the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music.

-WVU-

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CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
304-293-4359, Charlene.Lattea@mail.wvu.edu

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