The music made at Miami University plays on after graduation.
2023 Viola Performance alumnus Hunter Cuyler got accepted into the Bard College Conservatory of Music's Graduate Conducting Program. In it, Cuyler will fulfill a two-year master's degree with a four-semester music history sequence, instrument and composition lessons, foreign language study, and ear training.
Most impressive of all, Cuyler slid through the conservatory’s competitive 15% acceptance rate and became one of only three finalists out of the eight undergrads invited to the in-person audition. There, Bard evaluated her verbal and musical communication skills as she conducted a small orchestra of students.
Cuyler can hardly wait to move out of Ohio and to New York, as well as experience the vocal conducting track that coincides with the orchestral conducting track.
“I’m excited to not fully focus on the orchestral and instrumental music,” Cuyler said. “I love to sing as well and I'm very ready to expand my musical focus.”
She applied for the program in December 2022 with screening videos of her conducting a rehearsal for a Beethoven Quartet at Miami, and the Glee Club’s Alma Mater performance during Winter Commencement 2022.
Her passion for viola grew throughout her time at Miami, but Cuyler eventually wanted to do more than sit in the orchestra.
“One of the reasons I was interested in the conducting program was because I realized there’s much more of a role as a conductor, being present in both the musical and administrative aspects of the performance world,” Cuyler said.
Cuyler thanks assistant professor Dr. Youngaah Koh for leading her thematic sequence in arts management and equity, Miami University Symphony Orchestra (MUSO) director Dr. Ricardo Averbach for working with her one-on-one several hours a week before the audition and letting her conduct MUSO, professor of music Andrea Ridilla for helping her hone her musical interests and goals, professor of music Dr. Jeremy Jones for her time in the Glee Club, her advisors Dr. Elizabeth Hoover and Chad Reynolds, of course her viola professors Mary Harris and Christopher Fischer.
After Bard, Cuyler hopes to ring in her love for music by conducting opera.