UB Students Awarded 3 of 4 SUNY Thayer Fellowships

Release Date: May 7, 2007 This content is archived.


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Bethany Moore (left), Adrienne Elisha and Nelson Wei Tan have received Thayer Fellowships for outstanding achievement and high professional standards in the arts.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Students at the University at Buffalo have won three of four competitive fellowships awarded this year by State University of New York to graduating students throughout the 64-campus system who demonstrate outstanding achievement and high professional potential in the arts.

Receiving Thayer Fellowships are Adrienne Elisha of Troy, a presidential doctoral fellow in composition and doctoral candidate in the Department of Music, UB College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), who won a $3,000 Thayer Fellowship for Music/Music Composition; Nelson Wei Tan of Singapore, a master of fine arts candidate in the Department of Visual Studies, CAS, who won a $3,000 Thayer Fellowship for Film and Video Arts; and Bethany Moore of Clarion, Pa., a bachelor of fine arts candidate in music theatre and dance, in the Department of Theatre and Dance, CAS, who won a $1,000 Thayer Fellowship for Music/Musical Theatre. The students received their awards at the spring SUNY Student Art Reception held April 12 in Albany.

The Thayer Fellowships were established in 1985-86 by the late Walter N. Thayer, chairman of Whitney Communications, in honor of his wife, Jeanne C. Thayer, who was a SUNY trustee from 1974-84 and an active supporter of the arts.

"The quality of the artistic work of this year's winners is truly outstanding," said Joseph Hildreth, artistic director for the Thayer Fellowship program and SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Art at Potsdam State College. "The artistic level of achievement necessary to successfully compete for these fellowships is extremely high. The fact that three students from the University at Buffalo were selected to be Thayer Fellowship recipients is a recognition of the excellent quality of the arts at UB."

Elisha received a master's degree in musical composition from Indiana University and earned a diploma in professional studies in performance in viola from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has participated in a five-week composition seminar with Leonard Bernstein and performed with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Cleveland Chamber Symphony and Apollo's

Fire (The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra). She has taught at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio; the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio; and the Cleveland Music School Settlement. She has performed as part of a recital of contemporary works for solo viola on Polish National Radio, performed with numerous UB ensembles and participated in June in Buffalo, the annual contemporary musical festival and conference dedicated to composers that is hosted by the UB Department of Music.

A soloist who has performed original works in the U.S. and abroad, Elisha says the inspiration for her compositions comes from visual images, such as the modern art of Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee and Victor Vasarely.

"Adrienne is a wonderful composer and violist who has made a great contribution to UB's Ph.D. program in composition during the past four years," said David Felder, professor of music and Elisha's dissertation advisor. "Her lyrical, evocative music has earned well-deserved recognition and she will go on to a distinguished career as a performer, composer and teacher in the near future."

Wei Tan received a bachelor's degree in media study from UB and earned a diploma in interactive media design from the Temasek Polytechnic School of Design in Singapore. He is the creator of P.O.S.T. (Public Opinions on Social Topics), a multimedia art project and art collaborative that includes visual artists, designers and academics committed to exploring and promoting critical dialogues on cultural and social issues, especially concerning contemporary media and communication. A participant in "Ascension in the Basement," the 2006 M.F.A. student art exhibition, Wei Tan teaches an undergraduate course on computer art and design in the Department of Visual Studies.

A native of Singapore, Wei Tan says the purpose of his art is to engage in political issues, such as media bias, free speech and censorship in response to his beloved nation's restrictive policies on media.

"Nelson is an artist and a scholar who is thoroughly committed to the concept and practice of art as a tool for social change," said Millie Chen, associate professor of visual studies and Wei Tan's thesis advisor. "I'm certain that his vision, creativity and willingness to take risks will produce very engaging, influential work in the future."

Moore is an actress who has performed in numerous productions of the UB Department of Theatre and Dance, as well as in such local theater companies as MusicalFare Theatre, Artpark and Buffalo United Artists. Her performance as Hope Cladwell in the 2006 MusicalFare production of "Urinetown" earned her an Artvoice Arty Award for outstanding debut and a nomination for best actress in a musical. She has been a part of the International Artistic and Cultural Exchange

Program (IACE) Creative Research Lab in the Department of Theatre and Dance, and twice was selected to participate in the "Promising Artists of the 21st Century" program, a prestigious, invitation-only, performing arts program in San Jose, Costa Rica. A frequent participant in workshops and conventions held by the Cecchetti Ballet Company of Pennsylvania, Moore also teaches private dance lessons at UB and in her hometown.

"Bethany is an extremely talented young woman with a profound understanding of her role as both artist and leader in the artistic global community that she is now a contributing citizen of," said Maria Horne, associate professor of theatre and dance and founding director of IACE. "Through her participation in IACE, she has acquired a new outlook on her art, herself and the world she lives in. She also has learned to break down barriers and prejudices through art, respect and mutual understanding."

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. UB's more than 27,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.