I'm very happy to share that I'm off to the UK for the next two years! I was extremely fortunate to win a Marshall Scholarship, which provides me with the means and backing to pursue my first levels of graduate education. As a BSUF/Marshall Scholar, I will also be supported in this journey by the British Schools and University Foundation -- my deepest gratitude to them.
In a few weeks, I will commence the first degree, the M. Mus. Ethnomusicology program at SOAS, University of London. I plan to focus on Carnatic music, which seriously thrills me. At this point, I'm not sure where I will go to pursue my second year's degree, but it will most definitely be for composition! Of course, I'm partial to schools that will encourage my singing.
For a gal who thought she'd always live in pop territory (don't try to tell me it's soda... or fizzy drink), I have been blessed to experience many new things in the past four years: moving to Jersey for college was itself a big change, but through Princeton, I also did summer programs in Austria, Germany, and India, visited a handful of other countries along the way, and participated in two amazing choir tours in Spain and South Africa. And, I happened to study abroad in ~London~ during my junior year at the Royal College of Music.
The experience was formative: I had an hour to hour-and-a-half commute each way. I ate self-packed lunches several days in Hyde Park. I also lost my keys in said park. I (for once in my life) practiced and composed like a maniac. Despite an awful banana curry and a disastrous turmeric incident, I learned to cook and enjoy taking care of myself (experiences I didn't have in my Princeton dorms). A dear friend introduced me to pie and mash outside the twinkling Oxford Street holiday lights. I explored places on my own. I listened to audio books while doing the dishes.
In short, I grew up... at least a little. There was a lot that was new (and hard) for me, and not every memory has taken on a *rosy* glow. But I am truly excited to turn the site of my extended vacation into home. And my connection to London (and its expansive South Asian diaspora) reaches back further-- past my parents' time there in the '90s, past my grandparents' visits, all the way to the imprints of imperial memory. This, ultimately, is what intrigues me about the UK. I was raised on a steady diet of Famous Five, the Greatest Hercule and, of course, Mr. Sherlock. In some ways, however, these contemporary icons in the colonized lands are relics in the former Empire, and I observed that while several Londoners are exactly like my family in their passion for Christie and cricket, many others lead lives that have evolved elsewhere. I look forward to learning what those different directions are... and participating in them musically.
Thanks to a lovely mentor, I have already begun exploring local artistic opportunities, and while I am aiming to continue projects in America, I am excited to plant new musical seeds in the UK. As for other preparations, I've already got my Oyster card (three, actually, since I collected them along the way), a handful of leftover GBP, and some coupons that I unwittingly found on my last day in London (...obviously saved, because you know the vendors are going to love accepting discounts from two years ago).
Finally, and most importantly, I will be working to keep this website and news page updated and fully functioning (just as important as my upcoming coursework & compositions!). Please contact me with questions/thoughts/passing fancies, or comment here. I look forward to hearing from you!