The Fred Fox School of Music 2020 outstanding senior was chosen not just for her talent, but for her passion, assistant professor of music Theodore Buchholz said. And that same passion has earned her a prestigious position across the country following graduation.
Maria Savarese, hailing from Gilbert, Arizona, is graduating in the coming days with a Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance (with a high-brow GPA of 3.93) under the guidance of Buchholz, but cello is just her base instrument. Savarese plays about 10 different kinds of instruments, but has played cello for 13 years.
“Both of my grandparents on my dad's side were professional musicians, and so I always kind of grew up around music," Savarese said. " In high school I was involved with a lot of things, but music was the number one thing I was involved in."
Throughout Savarese's academic career, she learned to stay involved. She does her best to be present and practice in the music room as much as she can. She was involved in ensembles, chamber music and also participated in University of Arizona String Project, a program that aims to “inspire and foster creativity among young musicians and to cultivate a learning environment that enables the development of future string teachers," according to the Fred Fox School of Music website.
Savarese explained that the “String Project is for Tucson kids, and we give them private lessons on cello, violin, viola, bass and they also get ensemble classes. I was teaching the ensemble classes and started teaching private lessons.”
The String Project was Savarese's first real teaching gig as a musician.
"[It] was a huge adjustment because we grow up when we go into high school and college and understand, and what it takes to teach that kind of class, because we are in them all the time," Savarese said.
She explained that she found teaching elementary school children difficult because young kids have trouble remembering things, but it didn't sway her passion for music.
"[Teaching kids] was really fun because it kind of makes me remember, like, the fun parts of learning music the first time," Savarese said. "That was really cool and really special to be part of.”
Buchholz has had the pleasure of watching Savarese grow both academically and professionally. According to him, she has all the traits of a great student and a great musician: courteous, professional, hardworking, "well-learned," proactive and "willing to go the extra mile," prompt, accountable and ready to work.
“But more importantly than that, she always brings her love of music and desire for excellence to rehearsals and performances," Buchholz said. "That is the quality that I value most in a musician."
With commencement on the horizon, Savarese's journey lies just over it. She has been accepted into a prestigious position as a graduate teaching assistant at Oklahoma State University, where she will apply her hard-earned skills of teaching and performance in the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.
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