BU alum Dr. Julia Adams (formerly O’Toole) (CAS’17, CFA’87), a former student of Professfor Jeremy Yudkin, recently established a scholarship fund in honor of her former professor. Jeremy Yudkin is Professor of Music, Co-Director of the Center for Beethoven Research, Associated Faculty of the Department of African American Studies, Associated Faculty of the Elie Wiesel Center of Jewish Studies, and former chair of the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Boston University. We connected with Dr. Adams to learn more about what motivated her to create this fund.
CFA: Can you please describe your relationship with Professor Jeremy Yudkin?
Julia: I first met Dr. Yudkin when I was a graduate student at Brandeis University. Through the College Consortium Program, I was able to enroll in his course on Beethoven String Quartets. I found the class invigorating – and incredibly difficult. But with Dr. Yudkin’s approach of highlighting each student’s strengths to create collective knowledge, I came away from the class with a much better understanding of both the main topic and related subject matter. This method also built bonds between the students in the class, several of which I maintain to this day.
This experience inspired me to apply to BU to pursue my doctorate in Historical Musicology. As a BU student, I took as many courses as were available with Dr. Yudkin, including my personal favorite, Medieval Notation. Although not an early music specialist, I still use the skills I gained in that class today.
How would you describe Professor Jeremy Yudkin?
JO: Dr. Yudkin is an extremely knowledgeable and engaging lecturer. He teaches with great enthusiasm, sharing generously of his own relevant experiences. He is a scholar with prodigious breadth reflecting the scope of his many passions. But above all, Jeremy is most fervent about helping his students access the available wealth of knowledge, whether that be through academic advising, professional mentoring, or personal care and concern.
What lessons from Professor Yudkin’s class do you still carry with you today?
JO: That is a difficult answer, as there are so many that I carry with me today. As a professional musician and college professor, I would have to say preparedness, economy, and flexibility. I try to approach each class, rehearsal, meeting, or other endeavor with as much organized information as possible, proactively anticipating questions beyond the scope of the task at hand. Maintaining notated files on repeat topics inspires new thought while at the same time allowing great time efficiency. Finally, I am intentionally not so married to the agenda or syllabus that I miss creative or intellectual opportunities that may only happen in the moment.
Why did you decide to start this scholarship? What motivated you to launch this?
JO: At the time I was accepted into BU’s doctoral program, the University did not fund Musicology graduate students. If Dr. Yudkin had not stepped in to help me find funding – scholarships, grants, long- and short-term employment of all kinds, and teaching opportunities – I would not have been able to attend BU. And I know I am not unique in this regard. Jeremy’s impact – academically and personally – on the many types of students he encounters is far-reaching and profound.
I made a promise to myself in my first year at BU that I would find some way to honor Dr. Yudkin by “paying it forward” by helping music and musicology students that are struggling to pay for their education. Although I am still struggling to find consistent employment, I feel like the time is now to begin this effort, and I have and am committed to making future contributions. But I can’t do it alone, so I am hoping that other alumni who feel similarly – either about Dr. Yudkin, about financially-challenged students, or about music in general – will be willing to contribute to the Jeremy Yudkin Scholarship. We need to meet our $2000/year threshold for the next five years – an attainable goal that allows for gifts of all sizes and amounts.
What type of student is this scholarship best suited for?
JO: This scholarship is designed for graduate students specializing in Musicology and/or those involved in the Center for Beethoven Research that Dr. Yudkin co-founded and currently co-directs. The money may be used for research, living expenses, conferences, lessons, books – whatever the student most needs in order to successfully make the most of their education.