Take a senior piano performance major, a desire to study Eastern classical music, and the opportunity to do so through the Watson Fellowship, mix them together, and you have Ansel Wallenfang.Wallenfang is Lawrence’s sole recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for the year 2003-2004. The Watson is a one-year grant of $22 thousand for independent study and travel outside the United States awarded to graduating seniors at one of 50 participating institutions.
Wallenfang’s project is entitled “Conventions of Asian Music: A Study of Traditions through the Tabla and Erhu.”
Wallenfang will be spending six months in India and six months in China learning the traditions and histories of Indian and Chinese classical music, focusing on the tabla and the erhu.
The tabla is a type of Indian drum. The erhu is a two-string Chinese violin. It is a folk instrument with a thousand-year history.
The idea for the project stemmed from Wallenfang’s longstanding interest in world travel and Eastern cultures. Wallenfang chose to concentrate on Chinese and Indian classical music because both countries have strong and rich classical music traditions.