Yale college

Yale, a place for poets

Elizabeth Alexander ’84, professor of African American studies, American studies, and English, received the first annual Jackson Poetry Prize of $50,000 for poets of "exceptional talent" who have not yet received widespread recognition. (For the Yale Alumni Magazine report, see Milestones.) The prize was awarded by Poets & Writers, Inc., and judged by three poets, Lucille Clifton, Stephen Dunn, and Jane Hirshfield. Alexander is the author of four books of poems, including American Sublime (2005), which was one of the American Library Association's 25 Notable Books of the Year as well as one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. She teaches courses on African American poetry, drama, and twentieth-century literature, as well as the survey introduction to African American studies.

Undergraduate musical stars

Yale has no undergraduate conservatory of music, but it has a great range and level of musical talent and accomplishment in the undergraduate population. An annual competition sponsored by the Friends of Music at Yale, an organization supporting undergraduate music on campus, seeks to recognize the outstanding musical talents of Yale College students. The three winners of this year's Friends of Music at Yale Undergraduate Recital Competition are fine examples of the extraordinary talent that can be found among undergraduates.

Ashley Jackson ’08 (Timothy Dwight) is the principal harpist of the Yale Symphony Orchestra (YSO) and a member of the Berkeley Orchestra, Saybrook Orchestra, and Yale Bach Society. A 2003-2004 ARTS Merit Award winner in the music/instrumental category, she received the 2004 New Jersey Governor's Award in the Arts and was a semifinalist in the 2003 American Harp Society Competition. She was a gold medalist in the NAACP ACT-SO instrumental competition for three consecutive years. She won two principal concerto competitions at the university: the 2005 Berkeley Concerto Competition and the 2005 YSO William Waite Concerto Competition. As winner of the latter award, she was featured in a YSO concert on April 14.

Elizabeth Schurgin ’07 (Trumbull), a history major, is enrolled in the Yale College/School of Music BA/MM program. She plays bassoon. This past summer, as a winner of the Lewis Curtis Fellowship for Travel, Schurgin traveled to Turin, Italy, to research the original manuscripts of Antonio Vivaldi's bassoon concerti. A member of many other musical groups on campus, Schurgin is also on the Yale women's club water polo team and, as its captain for the 2005-2006 season, led the team to a New England championship title and 13th place in the nationals.

Lauren Libaw ’09 (Davenport) is a music and Italian major. In her first year at Yale, she sang the title roles in Poulenc's Les Marmelles de Tiresias and Handel's Semele for the Opera Theater of Yale College. A member of Yale Schola Cantorum, she also appeared as a soloist with both the Yale Bach Society and the Yale Undergraduate Musical Theater Company. A native of Pasadena, California, Libaw began singing as a member of the Los Angeles Opera in The Magic Flute, Werther, and Tobias Picker's Fantastic Mr. Fox. She has also sung with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Libaw won first place in the Friends of Arts Education at the Cerritos Center 2005 scholarship competition, and is the 2005 winner of the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Award in classical voice. In the summer of 2007, she will create the role of Endymion in the Los Angeles world premiere of Peter Ash's Keepers of the Night.

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