CSULB Student Stephen Salts Selected for a 2014-15 Fulbright Award

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CSULB Graduate Student Stephen Salts selected for a 2014-15 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to the United Kingdom.

CSULB Graduate Student Stephen Salts selected for a 2014-15 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to the United Kingdom.

Stephen Salts, a graduate student in the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), has been selected for a 2014-15 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to the United Kingdom, where he will study music while earning a second master’s degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest exchange program in the United States, offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide.

“I am incredibly honored to be the recipient of the Fulbright grant from the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission and the Institute of International Education,” Salts said. “Applying for a Fulbright grant is an intense process and took a lot of hard work, but I’m very happy to say that it all paid off. I am looking forward to the cultural and artistic exchange that will occur between myself as an American musician and the English whose musical heritage is exceedingly rich.”

Salts’ will begin his Fulbright experience in September, and it concludes in July 2015. His academic focus during the program will be two-fold as he studies both choral conducting and classical voice.

”I am so happy for Stephen because I’ve watched him fall hopelessly in love with English anthems and now he gets to spend a year immersed with those who perform and understand them with great rigor and a legacy of passion for music wrought from the land,” said CSULB’s Cole Conservatory Director Carolyn Bremer. “This is an especially impressive Fulbright award. The U.K. is the most competitive program (to get into).”

Salts’ motivation to apply for the Fulbright was rooted in his musical passion; a passion for learning about choral music, especially music from the English choral tradition.

“After graduate school at CSULB, I knew that I wanted to study music in England but I wasn’t sure how to make that happen,” he explained. “By trial and error, I finally found an outlet through the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission. I was already familiar with the music program at Royal Holloway, and when I found out there was a Fulbright grant available for one American to study there, I decided to apply.”

A master’s degree student in the choral, vocal and opera, Salts said he was extremely fortunate to receive a graduate assistantship that enabled him to become a strong applicant for the Fulbright grant in music. He also expressed thanks to his professors at Cole Conservatory for influencing him in a positive way, especially with their overwhelming sense of support.

“In particular, my conducting teacher and supervising professor, Dr. Jonathan Talberg, had the biggest influence during my time as a musician at CSULB,” Salts pointed out. “He encouraged and supported my vision by giving me all of the tools necessary to stimulate learning and achieve goals.”

Salts hopes his Fulbright introduces him to a larger world. “I can’t wait to explore the world of music in London by visiting the famous universities, churches, libraries, and concert halls,” he said. “I hope that the Fulbright experience will help me bridge the gap between studying music in college and establishing a career as a professional musician.”

Salts’ road to CSULB began at Florida State University where he received his undergraduate degree. He decided he wanted to go to graduate school on the “Left Coast.”

“Two friends from Los Angeles told me about the wonderful music program at CSULB. So, I flew out here to check it out,” he recalled. “I met my professor, met a few students, and went to a choir rehearsal. It was when I heard the Chamber Choir sing J.S. Bach’s motet ‘Lobet den Herrn’ that I lit up into a huge smile and knew that I wanted to come to CSULB.”

Salts is aware of his Fulbright responsibility as an American cultural ambassador. “I can’t think of anything more rewarding than representing the United States as a musician in the United Kingdom,” he said. “I sincerely hope that my study and work in the U.K. helps to connect two of the world’s most active communities in classical music: Los Angeles and London. As a cultural representative of the United States, I hope to plant the seeds that will initiate this promising relationship ‘across the pond.”

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