EM Alumni Award

DEADLINE: February 18, 2024 @ 11:59pm ET 

The 2024 EM Alumni Award, sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Musicianship and Alumni Engagement teams, provides funding and support for the aspiring projects of NEC alumni. Granted annually to NEC graduates, the award includes a $1,000 stipend, along with project consulting from the Entrepreneurial Musicianship team.

Have questions for us? Feel free to email us, or watch this recording of our February 1, 2022 Information Session


  • Applicants must be graduates of New England Conservatory
  • There is no restriction on graduation year eligibility
  • Applicants may request funding up to $1,000
  • Applicants may not pay themselves using grant funding
  • Previous winners of the EM Alumni Award are ineligible for 2 years following their last award


Written applications will be reviewed by a panel of NEC Faculty, Staff, and industry professionals, and evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • A clear explanation of what the project/experience/initiative is and how it is entrepreneurial
  • A clear statement of the project’s value (its intended benefit to others)
  • The viability of the project budget, with preference given to applications that demonstrate more than one source of funding (e.g. ticket revenue, donations, other grants etc.).
    • Here is the EM Budget Template 
  • Insight into the future sustainability of the project
  • A clear explanation of why this funding is critical for your work and career



    • Stipend #1:  50% of funding awarded after you sign Grant Agreement Letter

    • Stipend #2:  50% of funding awarded upon your project’s completion and submission of all post-project Documentation Requirements submitted via the EM Grant Exit Form (written summary report, photos/videos, and estimated/actual budget).
  • The grants/stipends are considered prizes for IRS reporting purposes. Individual recipients of prize money will be responsible for the tax implications of their winnings.
  • Note that prize payments are treated as income by NEC and the IRS, regardless of whether the payment is made to an individual or company. Non-U.S. citizens are taxed on their prize money up front at a rate of 30%, which is withheld from their prize checks.
  • For grant projects with multiple team members, grant stipends will be awarded to the primary applicant listed on the grant application, who will be responsible for distributing the funding as allocated in the grant application.
  • For grants awarded to 501(c)3 organizations (only available for Grow Your Art and EM Alumni Award), the following information must be provided within the appropriate fields of the grant application in order for the grant to be paid to an organization rather than an individual: Organization Name, Tax ID, completed Questionnaire, and W9.
2024 EM Alumni Award Application - Open

Apply Here

(Due Date: February 18th, 2024 @11:59PM)

Congratulations to our 2023 EM Alumni Award Winners!

Ana López (aka Nnux) '18 BM Contemporary Improvisation.

'23 Alumni Headshot Ana Lopez

Metamorfosis - Video Project

A live video session for the music of their upcoming album, working with an all-female all-Mexican vocal ensemble. This new work explores the story of a fictional goddess who goes through a process of learning and transformation. This work reflects on the experience of femininity, oppression, freedom, and transformation, all through the lens of symbolism and myth. 

Holly Choe '17 MM Instrumental Conducting 

Holly Choe Alumni Award

Ensemble Reflektor CONDUCTING 101 Workshop

An introductory conducting workshop for young conductors. While anyone is allowed to apply for this course, there will be a focus on engaging female conductors. This educational project will help create new pathways for aspiring female conductors by giving them the opportunity to see other female conductors in addition to all of the course material they will receive. 

Iva Casian Lakos '16 MM  Cello Performance 

Iva Alumni Award HS

Unheard-of // Ensemble Presents: Helix

A 25 minute length work for clarinet, violin, cello, piano, electronics, and video, exploring the concept of femicide, specifically the ways femicide has shaped the composers perspectives as artists and women, the way it has impacted Latinx communities generationally, and ways in which the cycles of women's collective trauma can be broken. This album will premier as a cross-genre collaboration in September 2023 for their on-the-water concert series at the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club. 


Honorable Mentions: 

  • Zoe Murphy '22 MM Jazz Performance 
  • Lysander Jaffe '20 MM


Past Winners


rafael natan '17 mm contemporary improvisation

Rafael Natan

The School of Arts and Social Justice 

The School of Arts and Social Justice was founded in 2020 to provide virtual community arts and education initiatives that center the needs of LGBTQ people, POC, Immigrants, and people with disabilities. Classes held include writing workshops tailored specifically for queer, trans, and POC identities, basic education seminars on a variety of social justice issues, artistic techniques that focused on empowering specific communities, and much more. Each semester features a minimum of 10 classes over the span of 3 months, with all classes being professionally closed-captioned to maximize accessibility. In addition to Pandemic safety considerations, our virtual classroom model allows students all over the world to attend, and provides greater accessibility to students with walking disabilities, chemical sensitivities, and busy schedules.

Annemarie Guzy '10 MM piano performance

Annemarie Guzy

Cuddle Concerts

This is a concert series for babies, young children, and their families called “Cuddle Concerts,” in downtown Riverside, CA. This delightful concert series provides a playful and interactive live concert experience for the youngest of children that is high quality, baby-friendly, and designed to boost learning. Each concert is hosted by a professional singer and features a small ensemble of high caliber professional musicians. Preconcert activities are provided by partners such as the Riverside Public Library.

aristides rivas '06 mm cello performance

Aristides  Rivas

English Course for Spanish Speaking Musicians 

The English Course for Spanish Speaking Musicians is an initiative that is designed to help Spanish speaking musicians of all levels to understand musical terms in the English language. The English Course for Spanish Speaking Musicians is an online three units program with 7-8 lessons/weeks each. The course will be taught online as a hybrid between asynchronous and synchronous sessions. The asynchronous sessions will be a mix of pre-recorded videos and PDF materials for students to prepare on their own time. The synchronous sessions will be held via Zoom, where students will have the opportunity to work on their communication skills and ask questions to the instructors.

The expected outcome of this project will provide musicians the language tools to have a successful communication in different situations: as students, teachers for English speaking students, members of Symphony Orchestra, etc.


Honorable Mentions

  • Andrea LeBlanc '06 BM 
  • Ross Wightman '18 MM


Fanny wyrick-flax '18 MM flute performance

Fanny Wyrick-Flax

Musical Storytelling Project

Musical Storytelling Project is to design and present two distinct musical storytelling programs featuring diverse composers/storytellers and inspirational subject matter. There will be 6 performances, with one program being presented in both English and Spanish. All performances are free to attend.

isabella dawis '16 bm vocal performance

Isabella Dawis

SUNWATCHER - The Civilians' Findings Reading Series

Isabella Dawis is the librettist for a new chamber musical entitled SUNWATCHER - the story of astronomer Hisako Koyama (1916-1997), intertwined with the ancient Japanese myth of the sun goddess Amaterasu, in a retelling inspired by classical Japanese Noh theatre. This musical celebrates this underrecognized asian woman in science; her message of perseverance is urgently needed during the global pandemic. SUNWATCHER was created with an all-female team of Asian-American theatre artists with preliminary research done with bilingual interviews from solar scientists and Noh scholars in Japan and the U.S.

katie martucci '16 bm contemporary improvisation

Katie Martucci

Creative Practice in Wilderness 

Creative Practice in Wilderness leads tours to build connections with the self, others, and the environment through music, movement, and immersion in the natural world. By inviting individuals into the creative practice and refusing to treat music as a club one has to earn entry to, this project shares the connection, imagination, and agency that music provides and gives participants powerful tools to stay present and engaged, process the scope of shared stories and recognize the potential in interdependence. 

abigale reisman '13 mm contemporary improvisation

Abigale Reisman

The Klezmer Fidl Project 

To create video recordings of Klezmer Fidl after delving into the historically challenging and moving techniques ,after using secret sources and recordings from lost klezmer archival 78's, to learn the intricacies of the Klezmer Fidl. 


Emma Gies '19 MM contemporary improvisation

Emma Gies

LA Chinatown Massacre of 1871 Commemoration 
The second installment of a 3-year commemoration of the Los Angeles Chinatown massacre of 1871, leading up to the 150th anniversary of the massacre on October 24, 2021.

Listen to Emma's podcast: Blood on Gold Mountain, which focuses on a tragic day in US history 150 years ago, that resulted in the largest race lynching in this country.  With romance, intrigue, and mass murder, this seven-episode storytelling podcast describes the little-known, horrific, 1871 Los Angeles Chinatown Massacre.

Jose Soto Gamboa '14 Jazz Piano Performance

Jose Soto Gomboa

Orquesta Juventud Esperanza International Ambassadors
An appearance at the Festival Internacional de Jazz por la Paz in Santiago, Chile.


Honorable Mentions

  • Laura Umbrio '05
  • Bennett Parsons '19 MM
  • Melanie Leinbach '11 MM & Jessica Harika '14 MM


Timothy Feil '14 MM Oboe Performance

Timothy Feil EM Alumni Award oboe reed making

Timothy Feil is an active freelance performer and teacher and the sole proprietor of Timothy Feil Oboe Reeds. The EM Alumni Award will fund the expansion of his current business to showcase interviews with experts that document the philosophies behind the precise craft of reed making. For more information, please visit his reed making websites, www.ihateoboereeds.com and www.howtomakeoboereeds.com.

Bo Lee '18 MM Flute Performance

Bo Lee Flute EM Alumni Award Magic Pearl

Bo Lee is currently a freelance flutist and teacher in Augusta, Georgia. Most recently, she was a 2018 Kenan Fellow at Lincoln Center Education (LCE) in New York City. While a Kenan Fellow, Bo collaborated with theater artist Maggie Gayford to present Magic Pearl: a shadow puppet play with new music by EM grant winner Christopher Vu, which premiered at LCE on December 14, 2018. The EM Alumni Award will fund the purchase of projection equipment that will bring Magic Pearl to a city near you!

Honorable Mentions

  • Amanda Ekery '18 MM
  • Becca Conviser '09, '11 MM
  • Sadie Gregg '14 MM
  • Michael Unterman '12 MM
  • Fanya Wyrick-Flax '17 MM
  • Isabella Dawis '16 UD


Congratulations to the 2018 EM Alumni Award winners!

Ashleigh Gordon '08 MM

Ashleigh Gordon is the violist, co-founder and artistic director of Castle of our Skins (www.CastleSkins.org), a Boston-based concert and education series dedicated to celebrating Black artistry through music. With the help of the EM office and EM Alumni Award, she will transition her series into a 501(c)3 non-profit and create a long-term, sustainable business plan.

Ariel Friedman '11 MM

Ariel Friedman is the cellist in Cardamom Quartet, a Boston-based ensemble dedicated to raising the profile of women composers through performance and education. The EM Alumni Award will fund a community concert on the morning of June 16, 2018 at the Jamaica Plain branch library with a program of music written entirely by women, including the premiere of a piece by Ariel.

The following individuals have been recognized as Honorable Mentions for their exceptional proposals:

Honorable Mentions

  • Katharine Martucci '16
  • Tong Wang '16
  • Kayleigh Miller '16 GD


Congratulations to the 2017 EM Alumni Award winners!

Hannah Nicholas ’14 MM

Violist Hannah Rose Nicholas is dedicated to music as a means for building relationships with other cultures. She currently plays in the New World Symphony in Miami under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, where she has performed as principal viola on highlighted concerts including Strauss' Don Quixote with cellist John Sharp, and on tour to the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall with soloist Anne Sophie Mutter. The New York Classical Review wrote of the Carnegie performance:  “Violist Hannah Nicholas’s solo line that elided off the end of one of Mutter’s phrases was exceptional.” Most recently, Hannah was appointed Principal Viola of the Central City Opera Orchestra in Colorado. 

Hannah is producing a multi-disciplinary concert this April for the O, Miami Poetry Festival in Miami, Florida. Combining live readings of poetry with live music performance, the concert culminates in the premiere of a work combining newly commissioned poetry and music. Previous interdisciplinary collaborations include commissioning Silk Road Ensemble’s visual artist Kevork Mourad and composer Sahba Aminikia.

Kiyoshi Hayashi ’16

Kiyoshi Hayashi is currently a violinist in Boston’s Palaver Strings Chamber Orchestra and in 2016 performed as a guest artist with A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra. In 2012, his quartet was selected as semifinalist at the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Competition. Kiyoshi is very interested in the capacity for music to heal and teach, and he regularly volunteers to perform at local health-care settings, nursing homes, and schools. He is on the community engagement and music education committees for Palaver Strings Chamber Orchestra and is a violin teacher for The Roxbury Youth Orchestra, a nonprofit organization inspired by El Sistema.

In February 2017, Palaver Strings will be focusing its efforts in Jamaica Plain through a partnership with Fenway Health and the LGBT Aging Project to develop Life Songs, a songwriting workshop for older adults in the LGBT community. Based on their work with the Lullaby Project - a program that helps young disadvantaged mothers write lullabies for their children - Palver will create a similar workshop for a community that is close to the heart of Jamaica Plain. These songs will be professionally recorded in Emmanuel Church in Boston and performed on February 25, 2017 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain.