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Bruce Colston
Indiana University High School

Last modified: Monday, May 9, 2011

IU High School senior Conrad Tao named 2011 Presidential Scholar in the Arts

May 9, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University High School (IUHS) graduating senior Conrad Tao, an accomplished composer and performer on the piano and violin, has been named a 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars is appointed by the President to select scholars based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, and school evaluations and transcripts, as well as on evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Tao was one of 20 U.S. high school seniors selected to receive the prestigious award.

"I am so thrilled to have received such an honor," Tao said. "For me, this award is a validation of my efforts throughout life to be the best that I can be as a person and as an artist. I couldn't have achieved this without the help of countless people, including Indiana University High School teachers and staff, my wonderful IUHS counselor, Susan Colston, and of course my fabulous piano teacher at Julliard, Yoheved Kaplinsky, who I chose to receive the Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education."

Tao, who is almost 17, began playing music as a young child. His talents in both performance and composition were exceptional, and by the end of eighth grade, he had signed with arts managers at IMG Artists.

"I realized that a rigid school schedule and typical attendance policies weren't going to work, and that I was going to need some more flexibility," Tao said. "Indiana University High School stood out, because it had a set of curriculum requirements, a solid amount of course work, and most importantly, offered a rigorous and comprehensive education. I knew that I wouldn't be sacrificing anything in my education by choosing IUHS over a traditional high school."

The flexibility of IUHS -- an accredited, distance education program administered by the IU School of Continuing Studies -- has allowed Tao to continue his high school education, study music in the Julliard precollege program, and travel throughout the United States and around the world, performing both solo and orchestral concerts. In addition to his many concerts in the U.S., he has performed in Mexico, Paris, London, Moscow, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Italy, Germany and Chile.

A video of Tao performing can be viewed here,

"I came to IUHS four years ago with an increasingly crowded concert schedule, a need for more flexibility in my schooling, and a desire to get a superb education that sacrificed absolutely nothing," said Tao. "I am happy to report that I was able to achieve all of that thanks to Indiana University High School's dedication to its students' needs."

Tao, who resides in New York City, will travel to Washington, D.C., to receive the Presidential Scholars medallion from President Obama at a recognition ceremony, and to participate in events and activities with his elected representatives, educators, and others. Accepted at Harvard University, Princeton University, Columbia University, and the Julliard School, Tao has chosen to attend a joint program between Columbia University and Julliard that will give him a bachelor's degree from Columbia and a master's degree from Julliard over five years of study.

"This program will give me the best of both worlds," said Tao. "I'm excited to have the opportunity to receive both a superb liberal arts education and the best music education available."

"On behalf of the whole IUHS community, I congratulate Conrad for his selection as a 2011 Presidential Scholar in the Arts," said IUHS director, Bruce Colston. "IUHS is proud of Conrad's remarkable achievements as a student, artist, and humanitarian during his four years with IUHS. His selection confirms his status as one of the finest high school student artists in the U.S."

Indiana University High School

IU High School is a distance education high school program serving the academic needs of high school students and adult learners around the world. It is administered by the Indiana University School of Continuing Studies and is fully accredited by the North Central Association on Accreditation and School Improvement. IUHS courses are approved under NCAA guidelines.

More information about Indiana University High School: More information about the Presidential Scholars program: Visit Tao's website at