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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Fourth-year, 15-year-old Tiara Abraham receives YoungArts Award

Abraham discusses her college experience, YoungArts honor and her next career steps

By ANNE SALTEL — features@theaggie.org

Tiara Abraham, a fourth-year vocal performance major, was named a 2022 YoungArts award winner in the category of Classical Voice. An impressive feat at any age — actors Viola Davis and Timothée Chalamet are a few past recipients — Abraham has won it, while completing her final year of college, at just 15 years old.

YoungArts is an annual contest for 15- to 18-year-old artists in many mediums, from dance to design arts. There are over 7,000 applications between the various categories, but only approximately 700 artists are awarded and accepted to the program. 

With acceptance, artists don’t just get an award, but also gain access to both creative and professional opportunities as their careers grow. These include fellowships, financial aid awards and access to a platform for artists to connect called YoungArts Post. Abraham said that these resources open up many opportunities. 

“To be able to have a platform exclusive for YoungArts award winners where we can contact and collaborate with each other from different fields, not just music, I think is definitely cool,” Abraham said. “Using the platform to collaborate with other musicians, or even non-musicians will be really nice.” 

The program, established in 1981, has an extensive list of notable alumni, like Hunter Schafer, known for playing Jules in the HBO’s hit show Euphoria, and Kerry Washington, who has most notably played Olivia Pope on the ABC series Scandal. Abraham said having such noteworthy alumni is definitely a perk of the award. 

“I haven’t really applied to something like this; it is a really unique program,” Abraham said. “It’s really exciting to be a part of this program because of some famous alumni also.” 

Abraham said that in addition to using YoungArts Post, she also makes use of the collaborative community of musicians in the music department at UC Davis. She entered UC Davis last year as a vocal performance major at 14 and plans to graduate in June 2022. During her time at Davis, Abraham said that she has been able to work closely with faculty and develop skills outside of vocal performance, like composing, music history and conducting. 

“As a musician, all lessons are really helpful,” Abraham said. “I’m a vocal performance major, but it’s nice to be a well-rounded musician […]. You never know where you might end up later down the path.”

As she prepares to audition for graduate programs, Abraham said that the close-knit music community’s support has been integral. 

“I really like that it’s a small environment,” Abraham said. “We’re very supportive of each other, and it’s an intimate environment.”

Written by: Anne Saltel — features@theaggie.org

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Abraham received the YoungArts award in 2021. The article has been updated to correct the error.

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