Music Scholarships

Music scholarships are awarded to students from all majors who participate in music ensembles at Kutztown University. However, music majors are given priority consideration. Some scholarships may be renewed for multiple years.

All applicants are considered for available scholarships. Students in an instrumental or vocal area of greater need may receive higher priority in the consideration process. To be considered for music scholarships, students must:

  1. Apply for admission to the University by February 15.
  2. Audition for the music faculty by February 15.

After the above deadline, consideration will be made as scholarship funds permit.  The following scholarships are awarded to students:

KU President's International Piano and Strings Scholarship

Dedicated to diversity and the fine arts, Kutztown University has designated five full-tuition scholarships to attract international string and piano students. Four-string players and one pianist will form the Presidential International Piano and String Ensemble, which, at the initiative of President Kenneth Hawkinson and under the directorship and guidance of world-renowned violinist Kurt Nikkanen and international pianist Maria Asteriadou, will be the musical ambassadors for Kutztown University’s events and performances both on and off-campus. The recipients of the Presidential Scholarship will also be principal string players in the KU Orchestra and Chamber Ensembles and will participate in concerts, recordings, and interviews as required by the Music Department and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Recipients of the Scholarship have been recruited from around the world, from countries as diverse as Greece, Chile, and the Dominican Republic. While at KU, they have distinguished themselves both musically and academically, regularly making the Dean’s List and earning advanced degrees outside their primary field of study, as well as acting as leaders within the musical community.  

The Ensemble members rehearse several times a week and give multiple performances each semester with a focus on the standard literature. They also present a wide variety of contemporary works, including newly commissioned pieces, as well as lighter and holiday-themed arrangements for University functions.

The Kutztown University campus is advantageously situated, with direct access to world-class concerts and cultural events in nearby New York City and Philadelphia.  Performance opportunities throughout the region are abundant, and members of the ensemble have performed at venues in the neighboring cities of Allentown and Reading, as well as at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

  • Audition Materials Required
    • Complete audition for the Department of Music by submitting a link to video(s) of your performances of three contrasting works. (YouTube or other online video hosting service) 
    • Submit two letters of recommendation addressing your musical and academic abilities. 
    • Write a statement that expresses why you feel you would be a good candidate for this scholarship program. 
    • Participate in a zoom interview with the Scholarship Committee.  


    For more information, please contact the chair of the Music Department, Dr. Frank Kumor at: 

    International students may direct their questions to:

  • Scholarship Opportunity for a cellist

    KU President’s International Piano and Strings Scholarship Ensemble has currently an opening for a cellist, starting in Fall of 2022. 

  • Financial Considerations

    Please note that the scholarship covers the cost of tuition and housing for the full four years of the program; you will be required to fund your own administrative fees, meals, health insurance, books, and personal expenses. More information about funding requirements can be found at: 

  • Current and Past Members

    The current and past members of the President’s International Piano and Strings Ensemble are:  

    • Douglas Wei, violin, Taiwan/US
    • Jennifer Rubio, violin, Dominican Republic 
    • Rashawn Pressley, viola, US 
    • Georgia Lazaridou, piano, Greece 
    • Nicolás Gomez Amín, violin, Chile 
    • Alejándro Ortega, violin, Dominican Republic 
    • Jean Kiklikian, piano, Venezuela 
Student Bio's for Scholarship Award

KU President's International Piano and Strings Scholarship

Christoforos Petridis was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. He first began playing the violin at the age of 4. At the age of just 16, he graduated as an exceptional talent from the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki, receiving a Diploma with a grade of Excellent and a Special Award, in the class of Pr. Kostas Kampandais. From September 2022 he is a student of Pr. Kurt Nikkanen at the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, U.S A., where he was awarded the ''President΄s International Piano and Strings Total Scholarship/Principal String in the Orchesrta and Chamber Ensembles''.

He gave his first Violin Recital at the Athens Concert Hall ''New Greek Soloists 2021'' and received excellent reviews. In 2022 he performed the Violin Concerto by Jean Sibelius with the Symphony Orchestra of the Municipality of Athens at the Olympia Municipal Music Theater ''Maria Callas''.

Christoforos made his debut at Carnegie Hall, New York, in November 2022.

Despite his young age, he has won scholarships, titles, and 14 First Prizes-Gold Medals in Panhellenic Competitions. He has won the ''Grand Prize'' in Greece five times, as well as other International Competitions. In 2017, he was awarded the ''Grand Prize Winner'' with an absolute score of 100/100 at the ''International Music Competition-Grand Prize Virtuoso'' in Vienna, along with a Special Distinction for ''Best Beethoven Performance''.

He has played with Kutztown Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Municipality of Athens, State Orchestra of Thessaloniki, Symphony Orchestra of Thessaloniki, Symphony Orchestra of the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki, Symphony Orchestra of the Thessaloniki Music Hall-MOYSA.

Pianist Georgia Lazaridou professional portrait

Georgia Lazaridou was born in Greece in a musical family.  Her first formal piano education started at the age of six.  She gave her debut solo recital at the age of eleven at the Athens Museum Concert Hall.  Georgia has performed extensively as a soloist with orchestra, recitalist, and chamber musician. She has been praised for “showing a mastery of technical difficulties and soulful expression” (Reading Eagle.) Georgia has participated in summer festivals, including Chetham’s International Piano Festival, Kutztown University Summer Music Festival and FIMCE Festival Internacional de Música de Cámara del Elqui in Chile.  The winner of many competitions and awards, Georgia received her BA in Music Performance degree from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania where she was a student of Dr. Maria Asteriadou and the recipient of the President’s International Piano and Strings scholarship.

Following her undergraduate studies, she earned her Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music, where she is also currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree under the guidance of Dr. Joanne Polk.

Georgia has also studied with Ekaterina Lebedeva, Murray McLachlan, Christos Noulis, and Domna Evnouhidou.


Nicolás Gomez Amín playing the violin

Nicolás Gómez Amín was born in April 1998 in Santiago, Chile. He first began playing the violin at the age of 7 under the guidance of Professor Nadia Salinas. Nicolás has also studied under professors Ruben Sierra, Elena Batrakova, and Oriana Silva. Nicolás has been active over the years, and he has performed in some of the most important concert halls in Chile.

In 2018, Nicolás was accepted at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania as a scholar of the President’s International Piano and String Quartet Scholarship to study under Professor Kurt Nikkanen, concertmaster of the New York City Ballet Orchestra. During his time at Kutztown, he has continued to perform as a soloist, chamber musician, and concertmaster. He also performs regularly with other local organizations such as Berks Sinfonietta and Reading Pops Orchestra. 

Nicolás has served as the President and Musical Director of the Chamber Players of Kutztown University since 2019. Some of the accomplishments of this organization during his term include recordings, the creation of the first KUCP Concerto Competition and Young Composers Competition, and the performance of pieces by composer Dinos Constantinides at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City. 

Nicolás takes conducting lessons with Dr. Peter Isaacson and has directed KU Chamber Players, KU Orchestra, KU Choir, and Berks Sinfonietta. Upcoming commitments include a performance of Faure's Requiem with KU Chamber Players and the Kutztown University Choir. He hopes to pursue a degree in Orchestral Conducting.

Jean Pierre Agustin Kiklikian Herrera playing the piano

Jean Pierre Agustin Kiklikian Herrera was born in Maturin, Venezuela. He started to play the piano at the age of four, studying first with Yumarina Guerra, and subsequently with Natalie Rojas and Carmen Marco at the Mozarteum Conservatory in Caracas. At eight years of age, Jean entered the “Escuela Experimental de Música Manuel Alberto López” (EEMMAL), where he studied under the guidance of professor Olga López until the age of 17. From 2015 to 2016 he was an exchange student in the Czech Republic with the AFS organization and travelled throughout Europe. In August 2017 he began his studies at the National Conservatory of Music in Santo Domingo with Jasmina Gavrilovich. In 2019 he participated in classes with Professor Mario Alarcón in Chile. Currently, he is a student of Dr. Maria Asteriadou at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, where he is a recipient of the President’s International Piano and Strings Scholarship.

Alejándro Ortega holding the violin while looking out a window

Alejandro Ortega was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. At 7 years old, began his violin studies with Professor Claudia Reyes. He later entered to the National Conservatory of Music of the Dominican Republic, in the studio of professor Mercedes Ariza.

In 2008 Alejandro won the 1st Prize in the Cibao Strings Competition in the Junior Category. In 2010 he won the 1st Prize in the Cibao Strings Competition in the Intermediate Category.

Between 2012 to 2013 Alejandro was part of the "Gabriel del Orbe" Violin Program in Santo Domingo, studying with acclaimed violin pedagogue Paul Kantor. He has participated in Master Classes, Workshops and Festivals internationally, working with distinguished violinists including Philippe Quint and Timothy Schwarz.

Alejandro graduated with his BA in Music Performance from Kutztown University, where he studied with Kurt Nikkanen and was the recipient of the President’s International Piano and Strings Scholarship.



Jennifer Rubio playing the violin

Jennifer Rubio comes from the Dominican Republic. Jennifer started her violin lessons at the age of six with Maestro Rafael “Don Papín” González, and then later joined the National Youth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Darwin Aquino, where she became concertmaster. Later, she joined Mercedes Ariza’s violin studio at the National Conservatory of Music. She has also played with the Orchestra of the Americas (YOA), with the Philharmonic of Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) as soloist and concertmaster. She is currently a Junior in Music Performance under the tutelage of Kurt Nikkanen at Kutztown University. Jennifer also is a published author and organizer. 

Douglas Wei playing the violin

Douglas Wei was born and raised near the suburbs of San Francisco and started playing violin at the age of 8. As a youth, he has studied with multiple violin instructors around the Bay Area,
including Sarn Oliver, Second Violin Principal of the San Francisco Symphony as well as Davis
Law, a faculty member at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Douglas has had various
experience playing and performing in multiple youth group ensembles including the Santa Rosa Youth Symphony and the Marin Youth Symphony, where he performed the Kabalevsky Violin Concerto. Aside from orchestral playing, Douglas has also participated in and won several musical competitions around the Bay Area, including the Marin Music Chest in 2016 and 2017 as well as the Marin Youth Symphony Concerto Competition. As an ambitious musician, Douglas has also participated in music festivals in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, notably the Montecito Music Festival. Starting from the year 2020, Douglas has relocated to the east coast where he currently studies at Kutztown University with Kurt Nikkanen, the concertmaster of the New York City Ballet Orchestra where he plans on furthering his pursuit in his musical career. Aside from his passion for the violin, Douglas also enjoys studying languages and history, cooking, biking, and exercising at the gym. He also loves to travel, visiting a couple of countries including: Japan, Germany, Czechia, and South Korea.

Rashawn Pressley smiling and holding his violin

Rashawn Pressley is a native of South Carolina, and started playing viola at age 10 and became dedicated to his studies at the start of high school. Born into a military family, he has had the opportunity to participate in numerous high school community and regional state orchestras around the country.  

Now studying Music Education and Viola Performance at Kutztown University; he is engaged in numerous ensembles such as the University Orchestra, Kutztown Chamber Players, and the multiple smaller chamber ensembles at the University. He studies viola under the tutelage of Professor Michael Gamon and chamber music with renowned violinist Kurt Nikkanen and pianist Maria Asteriadou.  

Additional Music Scholarship Opportunities
  • Mamie Afflerbach Music Scholarship

    Mamie Afflerbach Music Scholarships are awarded for musical achievement, academic standing, and financial need. The scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen, and is renewable each year.

    Scholarship requirements:

    • Minimum "B" high school average
    • One letter of recommendation
    • An in-person audition
    • Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

    Upon acceptance, students must:

    • Maintain a minimum cumulative 3.00 GPA
    • Enroll in applied music courses
    • Participate in large ensembles such as concert band, wind ensemble, choir, marching unit, orchestra or jazz ensemble
    • Participate in small ensembles such as brass, percussion, woodwind, vocal, and string ensemble 

  • Department of Music Scholarship

    This scholarship was established by Department of Music faculty members to provide scholarship assistance for students enrolled as a full-time music major, participates in Department of Music activities, studies privately with a Department of Music faculty member, and has earned a minimum 2.5 GPA.

  • Martha F. Hafer Scholarship for Jazz Studies

    This scholarship was established in 2011 by Martha L. Hafer to provide scholarship assistance for students in the Jazz Studies Program. Scholarship recipients must be registered for a jazz ensemble, demonstrate successful academic progress, and be nominated by the Director of Jazz Studies as scholarship recipients.

  • Dorothy S. Barbera String Scholarship

    The Dorothy S. Barbera String Scholarship was established by Aceste J. Barbera, professor emeritus of music, in loving memory of his wife, to provide scholarship assistance to accomplished string instrumentalist students. Preference is given to students studying violin.

  • Reid F. Lessig Scholarship for Bands

    This scholarship was created in 1994 in remembrance of Reid F. Lessig, instructor, drill designer, and band front coordinator of the KU Band program from 1972-1982. Reid also founded the Graduate Organization of Bands, which has continued to support the band programs at Kutztown University for decades. 

    The scholarship is awarded to students who exhibit the technical ability and leadership skills through involvement in the KU band programs. This one-time scholarship is awarded to students who qualify in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the KU Graduate Organization of Bands.

    Scholarship applicants must be in their first academic year at Kutztown University, and they may be enrolled in any major. An application form can be downloaded and it is also available through the Department of Music Office. 

    Participation in at least one of the following ensembles is required: 

    • Concert Band
    • Wind Ensemble
    • Marching Unit
    • Jazz Ensemble 

  • Earl L. Mayberry Music Scholarship

    Established in memory of Earl "Jim" Mayberry, a dedicated professor of music (1967-1984) by family and friends, to recognize exemplary commitment and accomplishment by a student majoring in music or music education.

    The recipient will be majoring in music or music education, and have completed at least 12 but not more than 20 credits. Preference will be given to a student majoring in trombone.

  • Edwin Schatkowski Music Scholarship

    This scholarship has been made possible through the generosity of the Schatkowski family, who has created an endowed scholarship in recognition of Dr. Schatkowski's years of service and leadership to Kutztown University as a music faculty member. Selection is based on music performance.

  • Esther F. Smith Piano Scholarship

    The Esther F. Smith Piano Scholarship was established by Samuel P. Smith '43 (former President of the Kutztown University Foundation) in memory of his mother, Esther F. Smith '13, to provide an annual scholarship to a worthy student majoring in music. Preference is given to students studying piano. 

  • Rudolf and Flora M. Wertime Music Scholarship

    The Wertime Music Fund was established in 1988 by Selma Wertime Thomson, Professor Emeritus of Music, in honor of her parents. Rudolf Wertime was a concert pianist and chair of the Music Department at Wilson College. Proceeds from the fund are to be used for music scholarships to be given to students who demonstrate exceptional aptitude and potential for growth in musicianship. The Music Department is grateful to Professor Thomson for the establishment of the fund.

    Students in any major at the university may be considered for the Rudolf & Flora Wertime Music Scholarship. Candidates may be requested to interview or audition for the selection committee. Scholarships may be renewed based on annual reviews of the recipient's performance.

  • R.G. Wells Jazz Band Scholarship

    The R.G. Wells Jazz Band Scholarship was established by Richard G. Wells, former director of the Kutztown University Jazz Band, to provide scholarship support for members of the Kutztown University Jazz Band.

    To be eligible, students must be a freshman, sophomore or junior, current member of the Kutztown University Jazz Band, show performing and soloistic skills on their instrument/s, maintain a good academic record, and show leadership qualities.

    Recipients will be selected through a process determined by the Chair of the Department of Music and the Jazz Band Director in consultation with the Graduate Organization of Bands and Mr. Richard G. Wells. Complete the application form to apply.

In addition to the music scholarships, need-based financial assistance is available to qualified students. To be considered for need-based awards, students should file the FAFSA early (by February 1 to meet the March 1 priority date) to ensure that your financial aid package reflects the best combination of scholarships and financial aid for which you qualify. Please visit the Financial Aid Office for more information.      

*Kutztown University offers an Out-of-State Tuition Reduction Program which provides tuition savings for first-time, non-resident, undergraduate first-year and transfer students.

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