Viterbo graduate Sonja Larson has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study in Krakow, Poland, from October 2014–June 2015. Larson will study the music of the Holocaust with University of Warsaw Professor of Musicology Katarzyna Naliwajek-Mazurek.
Larson graduated from Viterbo in May with a Bachelor of Music degree in music performance. This will be Larson’s second trip to Europe in researching the topic. As a Viterbo student, she traveled to Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, and England as part of her research project, “Music of the Holocaust: A Means of Survival,” which she presented at the Fifth Warsaw Conference for Young Jewish Studies Researchers.
In addition to the educational opportunity, the Fulbright Scholarship will provide Larson with a $1,700 monthly stipend, air fare reimbursement up to $1,500, a research/book allowance up to $500, a conference fund up to $1,500, a relocation fund reimbursement up to $800, and a private medical care package.
During her time in Poland, Larson will collaborate with the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow to research the role of music in restoring and revitalizing the Jewish culture and community in Krakow from post-World War II to the present. She will also create a multimedia blog to document her experiences and research results and present a lecture series upon her return to the U.S.
“It is my hope to create a model of community building and cultural revitalization that can be applied to international communities damaged by genocide and war as well as underprivileged communities within the U.S.,” she said.
The extremely competitive and flagship international educational program sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Scholarship program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries.