Graduate Violinist Offered Prestigious Fellowship in Cincinnati

Graduate violinist Giuseppe Tejeiro has been offered the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) Diversity Fellowship. He is the second string student from Kent State to be offered this prestigious fellowship, the first being violist Cristian Diaz of the Efferus String Quartet. The fellowship is now in its third year, providing a full-tuition scholarship along with a $10,000 stipend. Together, these and additional financial benefits equal nearly $100,000 that would directly support his studies and professional development over the next two years.

“I’m so proud of Giuseppe,” says Cathy Meng Robinson, recently-retired assistant professor of violin and founding member of the Miami String Quartet. “He has worked incredibly hard since arriving at Kent State and is very deserving of this award to support further study. CCM is a highly distinguished music conservatory and I look forward to seeing what he can accomplish there.”

Tejeiro recently completed his Master of Music in violin performance, studying violin with both Jung-Min Amy Lee and Robinson. During his studies, he has held the concertmaster chair of the KSU Orchestra as well as performed professionally with the Akron, Canton and Youngstown symphonies. Last summer, he spent five weeks in immersive music studies at the Kent Blossom Music Festival—Kent State’s 52-year partnership with The Cleveland Orchestra. 

“For me, it has been a great time being a student of my amazing professors,” says Tejeiro. “They helped me to improve my musicality so much. When I came here, I already knew they were amazing but now that I am leaving I want to come back again to keep learning from them.” 

At CCM, Tejeiro will study with Timothy Lees, the former concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra who retired in 2018. Should everything work out, the fellowship will also allow for several opportunities to perform with the Cincinnati Symphony, engage in educational outreach and extensive professional development with members of the CSO.

“I couldn’t be happier for Guiseppe to have the opportunity to study at CCM and to [potentially] play with the great Cincinnati Symphony,” says Lee, Kent State artist-in-residence and associate concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra. “What a fabulous opportunity to gain real-life experience as he works towards his dream. Timothy Lees was a great concertmaster and I know Guiseppe will be in good hands.”

Originally, Tejeiro was planning on returning to his home country of Colombia but he needed to rethink that decision once he heard he’d been accepted to CCM. “I now have this tremendous opportunity,” he says.

Tejeiro is part of a growing group of students from Colombia to attend Kent State to pursue training in music. Since 2015, 14 string players have called Northeast Ohio home, including three string quartets and two independent students. Many have gone on to university teaching positions and prestigious contract orchestra positions in Colombia. Others have pursued additional studies in the United States on full assistantships or scholarships.

Ricardo Sepúlveda, a two-time Kent State music graduate and a Colombian native, has been instrumental in helping to bring these students to Kent State. Now the director of the Kent Blossom Music Festival, he started exploring how he could connect music students in Colombia with Kent State in the early 2010s. 

“I wanted to expose fellow Colombians to the wonderful education and opportunities I was provided at Kent State University,” says Sepúlveda. “ In 2014, I pursued the opportunity to take two of my former professors, Keith Robinson and Cathy Meng Robinson, to my hometown of Bogotá, Colombia. Along with the Colombian Q-Arte string quartet, we organized and launched a string quartet chamber music festival in Bogotá.” 

The festival was a success, attracting over 100 student participants from across Colombia. In addition to the lessons, masterclasses and concerts, it was important to Sepúlveda that the participants knew they could apply to Kent State for additional music training. “During the festival, the Robinsons and I encouraged the Colombian musicians to apply to the Glauser School of Music for graduate school,” says Sepúlveda.

Over the past five years, Sepúlveda and the Robinsons have continued to work together to identify and encourage outstanding students to apply to Kent State. When they do apply, Sepúlveda takes an active role in helping them to navigate the process, often meeting with them in Colombia to answer questions about Kent State and study abroad. 

“Word travels fast,” says Sepúlveda, “and these achievements, as well as the positive experiences that the students have here, have created awareness among many other musicians in Colombia. More students from Colombia, including non-music students, continue to apply to Kent State University. We hope to continue and expand on this very successful relationship.”

Read an Akron Beacon Journal story about the Efferus String Quartet (Colombian graduate string quartet) by Kerry Clawson. 

Read a 2014 story about the chamber music festival that was founded in Bogotá. (in Spanish)

Written by Andrew Paa


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Andrew Paa, Marketing Assistant


POSTED: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 - 10:02am
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - 3:15pm