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Below are the awards and scholarships offered by the Department of Music. It should be noted that monetary awards can impact a student’s financial aid package. As the Office of Scholarship and Student Aid’s notes, “Funding in the form of tuition or fee awards and non-service awards are considered a form of financial aid and will be included as part of your total financial aid offer. In no case will the total amount of financial aid exceed the financial aid cost of attendance. Thus, student loans may be reduced to prevent an over award of aid.” More information about this can be found on the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid’s website.


Kenan Music Scholarship – The Kenan Music Scholarship is the premier scholarship of the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Music, awarded to four incoming students each year. This generous scholarship offers:

  • a four-year full-tuition scholarship (including student fees, room, and board)
  • additional financial support for musical enrichment activities (e.g. summer programs, masterclasses, travel, research)
  • workshops and masterclasses with internationally renowned performers (recent Kenan Program guest artists include Alice Giles, Sherrill Milnes, Laurie Smukler, Robert McDonald, Frederica von Stade, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Maestro Gerard Schwarz)
  • mentoring from distinguished Department of Music faculty and a dedicated Kenan Music Scholars faculty advisor
  • free attendance at world-class performances through Carolina Performing Arts (2019-20 performances include soprano Golda Schultz, the Sarod Trilogy, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.)
  • opportunity to combine musical studies with coursework (or a second major) in one of the nation’s most prestigious research universities

Emerging Talent Scholarships – Each year the Music Department awards scholarships to incoming undergraduates who intend to major in music. Typically some 15-20 incoming students a year receive scholarship aid from the Department of Music. These Emerging Talent Scholarships are funded by various named funds within the department. Students must audition to be considered for a scholarship award.

Undergraduate Awards and Grants

Nelson Delgado Latin Jazz Student Award – Named for Nelson Delgado, a founding member of Charanga Carolina, this award recognizes student excellence in the study and performance of Latin music.

Fred and Gail Fearing Jazz Award – The Fred and Gail Fearing Jazz Awards were created to honor students who have distinguished themselves in the Jazz Studies program at UNC both on stage and in the classroom. Each recipient receives a check for $500. The awards are given in recognition of their current accomplishments and to help them reach their full creative potential.

Jazz Studies Award – The Jazz Studies Award is made possible by an anonymous donor gift of $500 presented to the Jazz Studies area of the Department of Music. Students submit a proposal for a research project to a faculty committee for review. The projects may vary widely in scope, embracing academic research, composition, performance, or other topics related to the broad field of jazz studies.

Danielle Elizabeth Liotta Award – This award honors and celebrates the life of Danielle Elizabeth Liotta, a member of the 2006–2007 Marching Tar Heels. It is presented annually to a second-year member of the Marching Tar Heels who exudes the same extraordinary characteristics, values, morals, and beliefs as Danielle: a good campus citizen who was ambitious, compassionate, dependable, enthusiastic, loyal, and spirited, with a commitment to musical and academic excellence.

The Joanne and Victor Marshall Bluegrass Award – This award is presented to a graduating member of the Carolina Bluegrass Band who demonstrated excellence in performance and leadership with the band.

Mildred Brown Mayo Undergraduate Research Fund Awards – The Department of Music helps to fund independent research projects through the Mildred Brown Mayo Undergraduate Research Fund in Music. For the purposes of these awards, research is defined broadly to include scholarship in music history, music theory, ethnomusicology, performance-based projects, and composition.

Jonathan Gregory Rohr Scholarship/Award – The Jonathan Gregory Rohr Scholarship/Award is gifted by former UNC-Chapel Hill voice faculty Barbara Ann Peters in memory and in honor of her brilliant voice student Jonathan Gregory Rohr, who excelled at Carolina, and who embraced a successful and all-too-brief career as a professional baritone and lawyer. The award is offered annually for four consecutive years to support a deserving baritone voice major who maintains excellence in both vocal and academic studies until the completion of his undergraduate career at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Non-Monetary Awards

The Seamster-Sheinhaus Public Service Award – Austin Seamster (’18) and Adam Sheinhaus (’18) founded MTHVolunteers in 2017 to offer members of the Marching Tar Heels the opportunity to provide distinct direct public service to local organizations which support others in the community. The Seamster-Sheinhaus Public Service Award is given annually to the graduating member(s) of the Marching Tar Heels who makes substantial contributions to the community through participation in the MTHVolunteers program.

Earl Slocum Band Award – This award, honoring Earl Slocum, Director of Bands from 1935–1956, is given annually to the senior member of the University Bands who has demonstrated meritorious achievement with regard to musicianship, leadership, and academic excellence, and who also has made a significant contribution to the growth and success of the UNC Bands. The band faculty determines the recipient and the award is formally presented at the Chancellor’s Award Ceremony.

UNC Band Directors Award – The UNC Band Directors Award recognizes the member(s) of UNC Bands who made the most significant contributions to the program during their years of involvement.

UNC Bands Concerto Competition Winner – The winners of UNC Bands’ annual Concerto Competition, selected by a panel of faculty judges, are given the opportunity to appear in concert with the UNC Wind Ensemble in the spring semester.

UNC Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition Winners – The winners of UNC’s annual Concerto Competition, selected by a panel of outside professional judges, are given the opportunity to appear in concert with the UNC Symphony Orchestra in the spring semester.

Major John Yesulaitis Award – This award is presented to a graduating member of the Marching Tar Heels who best embodies Carolina spirit through dedication, participation, motivation, and support of the missions of the UNC Athletic Bands.

Other Campus Arts Grants

Arts Everywhere Student Innovation Grant – UNC students (undergraduate and graduate) can apply for an individual award of up to $1,000 or a group award of up to $3,000 to exhibit, perform, or showcase an original work on UNC’s campus. An interdisciplinary committee of faculty and staff members from across the university’s arts departments and institutions will select the recipient, and the winner will be announced at a small ceremony each April. Click the link above for more details.

Commencement Awards

Carolina Choir Award – The Carolina Choir Award has been presented since 2002 to a graduating senior whose singing and service have been outstanding over the course of four years. The Director of Choral Activities determines the recipient of the award.

Chamber Singers Award – The UNC Chamber Singers Award recognizes a graduating senior whose musical excellence and dedication have been significant for four years. The award was established in 2003 and is determined by the Director of Choral Activities.

UNC Outstanding Dissertation in Musicology Award – This award recognizes a dissertation that is an outstanding example of research and writing in the field of musicology, making a highly original and significantly insightful contribution to scholarship in music.

Benjamin Swalin Orchestra Award – This award was established in 2000 in honor of Maestro Swalin, former conductor of the UNC Symphony Orchestra and subsequently Music Director of the North Carolina Symphony for 33 years. The award is given to graduating seniors who have made significant contributions in artistry and leadership to the UNC orchestra program during their undergraduate years. The recipients are determined by the orchestra director.

Thelma Thompson Composition Award – This award, established in 1984 by friends of Thelma Thompson, is given annually to the student who during the academic year has created the strongest original musical composition(s). The award is determined by the composition faculty.

Non-Monetary Awards

David Arons Award for Excellence in Musical Performance -This award was established in 1998 by the wife and family of the late Mr. Arons, a longtime supporter of music in the Chapel Hill area. The award is determined by the Music Scholarship Committee, based on the student’s overall artistic contribution to the performance program for four years.

Music Department Award for Academic Excellence – This award was established in 1998 by the Music Department. The recipient is the graduating music student with the highest grade point average for four years.

Baroque Ensemble Award – The Baroque Ensemble Award is for outstanding contributions and commitment to this period instrument ensemble.

Chamber Music Award – This award is in recognition of outstanding achievement in chamber music performance. The director of the University Chamber Players determines the recipients of this award.

UNC Opera Award – The UNC Opera Award is given to a graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding performance in UNC Opera productions and who has made a significant contribution to the opera program throughout his/her undergraduate career. The opera director determines the recipient of the award.

Graduate Awards and Grants

Marcia J. Citron Graduate Research in Musicology Award – This award was established by alumna Dr. Marcia J. Citron and is designated for Ph.D. candidates nearing the end of their time at Carolina in hopes that this extra funding for research will help them complete their degree.

Kenan Graduate Student Activities Fund – The Kenan Graduate Student Activities Fund was established in 2012 thanks to the generosity of the Kenan Trust in recognition of the important work done by students in good standing in the graduate program in musicology and the training they undergo throughout the course of their career at UNC-Chapel Hill.

 James and Lilian Pruett Graduate Research Fellowships – Established in 2007, the  James and Lilian Pruett Graduate Research Fellowships offer graduate students the opportunity to spend up to three summer months in the Music Division of the Library of Congress or the Wilson Special Collections Library processing archival collections in the Division and conducting independent research. The Program is named after James W. Pruett, former chair of the UNC Music Department (1976–86), and Chief of the Music Division at the Library of Congress (1987–94).