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February 13, 2006

Award-winning grad student pursues music and community service

By Scott Rappaport

Two years ago, UCSC graduate student Rebecca Jackson traveled to the Ukraine and Romania, where she pioneered a violin curriculum and introduced the
study of music to nearly 250 underprivileged children.

Rebecca Jackson will be the featured artist in upcoming concerts by the UCSC Orchestra on February 17 and 18.

That same year, she also founded a Santa Cruz concert series designed to benefit community causes that has to date raised over $40,000.

These are just a few of the many accomplishments of the 24-year-old, who is pursuing a master’s degree in violin performance at UCSC. A graduate of the Juilliard School where she received her bachelor’s of music, Jackson has already performed in Spain, Italy, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, and played under the batons of such renowned conductors as John Adams, Jahja Ling, and James Conlon.

But wait, there’s more.

In 2005, Jackson was awarded a $5,000 scholarship as the winner of the Miss Santa Cruz County pageant, and received another $2,000 scholarship plus the “Outstanding Musician” honor at the Miss California pageant. “These awards have allowed me to continue my music education at UCSC,” Jackson noted.

The winner of UCSC’s 2005 Concerto Competition, she will be the featured artist in upcoming concerts by the UCSC Orchestra on February 17 and 18 with guest conductor Yair Samet. Jackson will perform Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, one of the most popular and widely performed of all violin concertos. The concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Center Recital Hall. (For tickets, call 831-459-2159.)

Jackson founded “A Musical Gift” in 2004, a concert series that has raised funds for such local community organizations as the Pregnancy Resource Center, Music Camp International, and the Santa Cruz Scholarship Association.” I try to bring in amazing musicians for the series that I’ve met from around the world,” she said. “I really like the feeling of helping others so I’ve also played a lot of benefits myself over the years.”

She has studied at a variety of acclaimed summer programs such as Meadowmount School of Music, FOSJA (Festival of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Americas) in Puerto Rico, and Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. Jackson also spent six weeks in Italy with the Juilliard Orchestra, the orchestra-in-residence at the Gian Carlo Menotti Spoleto Festival, during the summer of 2003.

Recently, she was invited to be the new second violin for the Völs String Quartet, an ensemble made up of national and international competition prizewinners from the Ukraine, Puerto Rico, and the United States, which made its debut at the 2004 Schlern International Festival in Italy. Jackson will embark on a one-week tour with the ensemble in March.

She plans to graduate in June and hopes to forge a career as a violinist. Jackson offered high praise for her violin instructor--UCSC music lecturer Roy Malan--who has been concertmaster of the San Francisco Ballet for more than three decades and is founder and co-director of the Telluride Chamber Music Festival. “He is a true inspiration to me,” said Jackson.

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