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Susan Williams
University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2008

IU's Jenna Sherry named Marshall Scholar

January 17, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Jenna Sherry, a senior in the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, has been selected as a Marshall Scholar for 2008 by the British government.

Sherry is from New Orleans and is completing a bachelor's of music in violin performance with Mark Kaplan, professor of music in the Jacobs School. As a Marshall Scholar, Sherry will study at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama with violinist David Takeno starting in September 2008.

The prestigious Marshall Scholarship pays all expenses for two to three years of study in any discipline at any British university and is valued at about $60,000. Winners are chosen by a committee in Washington, D.C., chaired by the British ambassador and the chairman of the British Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission.

"Since coming to IU, I decided that I want my music career to be broader than the categories titled 'orchestral violinist,' 'quartet member,' 'soloist,' or 'educator,'" said Sherry. "I want to make a difference in the world through music, and think I can do that. Continuing my education at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with the Marshall Scholarship will serve as a launching pad to do this in my own musical voice."

The Marshall Scholarships were founded by the British Parliament in 1953 to commemorate the Marshall Plan, in which the United States helped the countries of Western Europe rebuild after the destruction of World War II. Among the scholarship program's objectives are "to bring for study in the United Kingdom intellectually distinguished young Americans who will one day become leaders, opinion formers and decision-makers in their own country."

In his nominating letter, IU President Michael A. McRobbie noted that Sherry already has shown exceptional leadership abilities while also using the musical arena to create an impact.

"On her own initiative in 2006 as a resident of New Orleans," he wrote, "Jenna organized a benefit concert at IU on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina for the city's arts organizations. The daunting, perhaps impossible, challenge of organizing and securing the participation of artists from the world renowned Jacobs School of Music in the event, Jenna pulled off as a junior, discovering in the process how gifted an organizer and leader she is."

Sherry received a Wells Scholarship to attend IU, and she was the first home-schooled student selected for the award. The Wells Scholarship, named for the late IU Chancellor Herman B Wells, ranks among the most competitive and prestigious awards offered by any American university.

J. Timothy Londergan, director of the Wells Scholars program and a professor of physics, recalled in a Marshall Scholarship nomination letter for Sherry, that the Wells committee had some concern that a home-schooled student might not be right for a program that places high value on leadership development.

The committee wondered "whether she would interact with her fellow students or simply disappear into the music practice rooms," he wrote. "We now get a hearty laugh when we think back about our concerns regarding Jenna. She has proved to be not only a splendid student and talented young musician, but she is also well-rounded in her interests, and she has demonstrated both strong leadership skills and an admirable social conscience."

At IU Sherry also is a member of the 2007-2008 Kuttner String Quartet that will represent IU at concerts and competitions throughout the coming year as winner of the 2007 Kuttner Quartet Competition.

She began violin lessons at the age of 6 with Mary Anne Fairlie, a Suzuki Method teacher who helped found the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra, and beginning at 10, spent the next eight years studying with Valerie Poullette, professor of violin at Loyola University in New Orleans. She has also studied periodically with Kathleen Winkler at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, the New England Conservatory's Donald Weilerstein, and Violaine Melancon at The Peabody Institute at The Johns Hopkins University. From 2004-2006 she was a student of Mauricio Fuks at IU.

A five-time winner of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra's Concerto Competition, Sherry made her solo debut at age 9 with the L.P.O. on its "Young People's Concerts" series and soloed with the orchestra in four subsequent years. In 2003, she appeared with the Rapides Symphony, and in 2004, she performed as a guest artist with the Peabody Trio.

She has studied chamber music at the Yellow Barn Music School and Festival Young Artists' Program in Vermont and the Domaine Forget chamber music professional training session in Quebec, as well as with the Shanghai Quartet, the Pacifica Quartet and the Orion String Quartet. She also has studied with noted violinists Vartan Manoogian and Atar Arad, and pianist Yael Weiss.

Sherry attended the Beijing International Music Festival and Academy in 2007 where she won second place in the festival concerto competition. She also has participated in the Salzburg Mozarteum Summer Academy and has played in master classes for numerous celebrated performing artists, including William Preucil, Ani Kavafian, Brian Lewis and Elmar Oliveira. She has performed multiple solo recitals, and appeared as guest soloist with the Temple Symphony Orchestra in 2007.

The distinction of being a Marshall Scholar is an important credential in the winners' subsequent academic and professional careers. Prominent past Marshall Scholars include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Duke University president Nan Keohane, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Tom Friedman of The New York Times and Dan Yergin, and noted inventor Ray Dolby.

For more information on the Marshall Scholarship program, along with a listing of other IU Marshall Scholars, go to the IU Hutton Honors College Web page at or to the Marshall Scholarship Web site at