School of Music grad Connor P. Brown receives 2022-23 Fulbright Award

May 13 2022

Recent graduate from the University of Utah School of Music, Connor P. Brown, has received the distinguished 2022-23 Fulbright Award, and was selected to be a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in the Nordrhein-Westfalen region of Germany. Brown earned BA degrees in both German and Music, and focused heavily on piano performance while at the U. 

The Fulbright program appealed to Brown in particular because of the chance to travel. "Prior to getting the award, I booked a plane ticket to Germany. I thought I would go anyway," he said. "But it was good to hear that I would get a support structure while I am there." 

"I already have a lot of teaching experience,” he explained. “I currently work as a high school German teacher, and my work study for the past four years has been in an elementary school. So the assistantship aligns with that.” Teaching English will not only expand his skills with students, but will allow him to further his interest in German. 

Brown's interest in foreign language began because of a general requirement in his musical studies but didn't really take off until he joined Russian Club, despite not speaking much Russian himself. A friend in the club was so passionate about language and that his enthusiasm rubbed off on Brown. He chose to invest in German, and he’s been fully committed ever since.

As far as piano, Brown is particularly interested in improvisational composition. He doesn't play much music from other composers, preferring to play his own thoughts. Of his journey in the School of Music, Brown mentions that Professor Jeffrey Price was most influential. He had never really had formal piano education, and Price encouraged him to pursue the instrument full steam. "I thought I couldn't possibly measure up to the people who had studied since they were six," he said, "but Jeffrey was a driving force the whole time."

In terms of the role piano will play in Brown’s post-grad plans abroad, he hopes it will always be a part of his day. “I improvise and try to be creative with the piano every day. I definitely don’t want to stop,” he said. “I will see to it that I have a piano, whether I have to ride an extra hour every day to reach one.”

Brown gives all the credit for his success to his faculty support system. "It was really through the help of my professors that I got this far," he said.

In a piece highlighting him as an Outstanding Senior for the U Department of World Languages and Cultures, he wrote: "To be honest, all of the German faculty: Dr. Baumgartner, Dr. Metz, Dr. Gerstenberger, and Dr. Grünbaum should be recognized for their passion and how they accommodate students' learning needs and are there for them in the event that they need some/extra or any help. I am grateful for all of the German faculty and how much they have helped me throughout my time here, not only in terms of German language, but also their advice."

We're excited to celebrate this honor, and look forward to staying connected from afar!