Violinist Receives Kahan Fellowship

History major Henry DeMarais ’18 explores techniques for modern compositions.

By Chris Lydgate ’90 | January 30, 2018

History major Henry DeMarais ’18 was honored with the Kahan Summer Fellowship last year.

For his project, Henry traveled to Pulaski, New York, to study violin with Dr. David Fulmer, an internationally recognized composer and violinist, to explore ways to bring out the artistry and beauty in works written in modern idioms.

Back on campus, Henry thrilled the audience in the Eliot Chapel with vivid renditions of pieces by Matthias Pintscher, Elliott Carter, Witold Lutoslawski, Anton Webern, and Olivier Messiaen.

“The Kahan Fellowship gave me the opportunity to prepare the longest, most challenging, and most rewarding solo recital of my musical career,” Henry told us. “My studies with Dr. Fulmer brought my playing to a new level of ability, and the river, fields, and woods of Pulaski were the perfect surroundings in which to work.”

“Henry is a remarkable violinist and excellent musician,” says Denise VanLeuven, director of private music instruction. “This was a compelling performance of very difficult repertoire.”

Henry is currently working on a senior thesis titled Nationalism and Music Composition in Postrevolutionary Mexico.

The fellowship, made possible by a generous gift from Jim Kahan ’64 in honor of Prof. Virginia Hancock ’62 [music 1990–2016], gives students the opportunity to develop or make a major contribution to a music performance, culminating in a presentation to the Reed community that includes a talkback with the audience.

In addition to establishing the the fellowship, Jim has compiled a stellar record of service to Reed. He has been a commencement speaker; served as president of the Foster-Scholz Club steering committee; earned the Babson Award for outstanding effort as a volunteer; played a leading role in the oral history project; transformed the Alumni College program at Reunions; borne the boar’s head; and been a steadfast friend and mentor for generations of Reedies.

Tags: Performing Arts, Cool Projects, Awards & Achievements