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Gateway to the Future - The Campaign for Queens College

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GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE The Campaign for Queens College 46 + 47 “ asuka yamamoto ’08 Country of origin: Japan Currently resides in: Forest Hills, Queens, New York Major: Music; Recipient of the Erik S. Horlick Memorial Scholarship I’m really happy that I studied at Queens College. I still keep in touch. Scholarships saved my life. Long on talent and short on cash, Asuka Yamamoto needed assistance to pursue a bachelor’s degree in music at QC. The promising young clarinetist got that help from numerous sources, including a scholarship created by Queens College Foundation staffer Sara Horlick and her husband, Michael. A native of Osaka, Japan, Yamamoto studied piano for six years before taking up the clarinet at age 9. “I liked the sound and shape of the instrument,” she explains. By the time she was in middle school, she had decided to make a career of it. But the would-be soloist hit a roadblock: In 2003 she was rejected by the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. “I thought of quitting, but my teacher suggested I go abroad,” Yamamoto says. As it happened, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra was < Yamamoto photographed on the campus of the Juilliard School in Manhattan. appearing in Tokyo that spring to perform a program featur- ing QC Professor Charles Neidich (Music). “The concert was amazing,” Yamamoto recalls. “When he got on stage, I got goosebumps. Afterward, I went to speak with him and said, ‘I want to study with you.’” In January 2004 she flew to New York to enroll in QC. However, she faced financial challenges that she couldn’t overcome by hard work alone. “My family is not rich,” comments Yamamoto. “I talked to Professor Smaldone [the director of the Copland School] in my sophomore year and said I might have to go back to Japan.” Students like Yamamoto were the candidates the Horlicks had in mind in 2005 when they established the Erik S. Horlick Memorial Scholarship in honor of their son, a drama major who loved music. “I wanted to help students who were passionate about something and really needed the money,” says Sara Horlick. With the Horlick scholarship and other awards, Yamamoto stayed at QC and thrived. Today, as a graduate student at the Juilliard School, she remains grateful to her QC professors and benefactors. “I’m really happy that I studied at Queens College,” she declares. “I still keep in touch. Scholarships saved my life.” And Sara Horlick is happy to have helped Yamamoto pursue her career. “Helping someone else is very, very reward- ing,” says Horlick.

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