2019-2020 Luce Scholar

In May 2019, Melia Wong will graduate from Claremont McKenna College in Southern California with a degree in Music and Government. Her interest in the intersection of music and politics arose during her piano study with Professor Gayle Blankenburg and the music history classes she took at Scripps College. Her dedication to the history, practice, and accessibility of music deepened during the summer of 2016, when she worked with the internationally acclaimed classical music project El Sistema in Glasgow, Scotland. In Govanhill, one of Glasgow’s most diverse neighborhoods, Melia worked to further Sistema’s mission of providing access to music for underserved children. She documented her experiences in two pieces published in Discourse Magazine. In the fall of 2017, Melia performed traditional Thai street instruments in the world premiere and Southern California tour of composer Koji Nakano’s Imagined Sceneries, based on “The Tale of Genji.” Under Professor Rebecca Marchand of Berklee School of Music, Melia conducted original research on the topic of graphic notation, with special emphasis on the psychological bouba/kiki effect in performance practice. At Claremont McKenna, Melia was the Resident Assistant of Phillips Hall, overseeing 64 residents and fostering dorm community. She also served as the Communications Manager at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, co-founded the Claremont Government Society, and tutored music theory for local children with the nonprofit Uncommon Good. Melia is currently writing her thesis on U.S. Civil War songs, specifically those with melodies shared by both Union and Confederate forces, but with altered lyrics. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in musicology or ethnomusicology. A Seattle native, she enjoys tea, good books, and attending performances of classical music.