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Barbara Thornton Memorial Scholarship

Barbara Thornton Memorial Scholarship

Barbara Thornton Memorial Scholarship

The Barbara Thornton Scholarship, named in honor of the singer, musicologist and founder of the medieval music ensemble Sequentia, is an award offered every other year and goes to an outstanding and highly-motivated (and possibly unconventional) young performer of medieval music who seeks to widen his/her experience through more advanced study and/or auditions in Europe.


Mara Winter

photo by Tarla Walton

Current Recipient


This year's Barbara Thornton Memorial Scholarship has been awarded by EMA to flautist and scholar Mara Winter. The jury, unanimous in its decision, was impressed with her background, the clarity of her proposal, her motivation and focus in her chosen field, and the depth of her commitment to medieval music performance.

Mara is finishing an Artist Diploma as a flute player at Cornish College of the Arts, in Seattle. She is a promising young artist and the jury feels that the scholarship will help her to fully develop her potential, following her intended path of combining medieval performance practice with musicological research. She has an interesting, creative approach to the flute in early music with a specialized focus on medieval music. The jury members are convinced that it would be fruitful for her to professionally emphasize this approach - which she describes as a personal calling - and they express the hope that Mara will take an artistic and real-life journey to Europe as a personal challenge. Her plan is to imbue her practical experiences into the context of ethnomusicological research about Northern European traditional music. The jury was furthermore convinced that intensive periods of study in Europe will be of great value for Mara, as will the inter-cultural experiences and the personal connections she will be able to make there. She has already demonstrated great initiative in pursuing her personal studies within North America, and in establishing and collaborating with emerging ensembles of vocal and instrumental medieval music. Mara is keen to undertake a new journey, one that will open for her those exciting and auspicious doors that are the most logical next step in her career. The Thornton Scholarship selection panel would like to support her as she follows this path, by awarding her this year´s scholarship.


"I am truly honored to receive the Barbara Thornton Memorial Scholarship from Early Music America. This support most certainly means that I will be able to deepen my understanding of medieval music performance. In addition, I will be able to travel directly to regions of Northern Europe that captivate my musicological interests for specialized study. Most sincere thanks to the panel for awarding me this scholarship."

Past Recipients & Application Process



Isabella Shaw


Laura Osterlund


Emily Eagen


Mary E. Larew


Wolodymyr Smishkewych


Moira Smiley


Eligible Applicants

Applications are open to a young performer of medieval music who seeks to widen his/her experience through more advanced study and/or auditions in Europe. Applicants should be citizens of the Americas who are under the age of 35 at the time of application.
Applications are reviewed by an anonymous panel of judges and award announcements will be made by mid-May.
One winner will receive a $2,500 scholarship award.
Required Materials
  1. Contact information
  2. Letter describing the proposed use of the scholarship
  3. Resume and description of your background in medieval music
  4. An audio and/or video file of a recent solo performance of medieval music in which you are featured performer (5 Min Max). ​The judges would like to hear the performances of the candidate as a soloist, which would mean (for vocalists) a solo song and not one part in a 3v or 4v piece sung with others, or (for instrumentalists) an instrumental solo piece, or an accompaniment role which is really featured and involves considerable creative input. The judges main consideration is to clearly hear the work of the candidate, to be able to judge her/his sound, musicality, understanding of language and creative ideas.
  5. Letter of recommendation from a principal teacher, ensemble director, or collegium musicum director
  6. Passport image providing proof of citizenship and date of birth
Application & Deadline
The application is now closed. Thank you for applying. Please check back for updates in January 2019.

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