Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Scholarship

Gifted Music School is proud to have received another generous grant from the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation, which is recognized nationally for supporting the education of future top concert violinists. Since 2017, the Foundation has chosen to partner with Gifted Music School in supporting the violin studio of GMS co-founder, Mr. Eugene Watanabe.


The Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Scholarship is available to violin students who demonstrate a serious commitment to their musical studies and meet the following eligibility requirements:
  • Applicants must be admitted to the Conservatory at Gifted Music School (new or returning students), and enrolled for the 2023-24 school year.
  • Applicants must study exclusively in Mr. Watanabe's violin studio for the 2023-24 school year.
  • Applicants must demonstrate exceptional talent and commitment to pursuing a career in music.
Visit our Conservatory Admissions page to learn more about application and audition requirements.

Selection Criteria

The criteria for selection include, but are not limited to:
  • Evidence of an absolute commitment to becoming a concert violinist:
    • Solid track record of practicing consistently (4-hour daily average) and thorough preparation
    • Past record of achievements or successful performances that suggest a possible performance career at a national or international level.
    • Demonstrated prioritization of music training (e.g prioritizing GMS over conflicting activities or extracurriculars)
  • Evidence of a commitment to comprehensive, well-rounded musical instruction:
    • Full commitment and participation in the artistic and academic offerings of the Conservatory program.
    • Citizenship in both Mr. Watanabe's studio and the Conservatory at Gifted Music School.


For the 2023-24 school year, the Foundation has granted $75,000, allowing us to offer three scholarships. The scholarship covers the following for each recipient:
  • Tuition for the Conservatory program.
  • Private lessons with Mr. Eugene Watanabe.
  • Accompaniment with Dr. Conlan Miller.
  • Travel expenses for competitions and auditions.
All scholarships are reviewed quarterly and renewable for up to three years, contingent upon a continued high level of achievement and adherance to the selection criteria. Students who receive these awards will be named "Starling Scholarship Recipients" and will play a critical role in representing Gifted Music School and the Watanabe Studio in competitions, performances, program notes, and biographies.

Application Process

  • Prepare the supporting documentation:
    • A personal statement describing the following:
      1. How you meet each of the selection criteria (address each point)
      2. Your background and long-term career goals (describe your musical aspirations, commitment to becoming a concert violinist, and why you believe you are a deserving candidate for the scholarship)
      3. (If applicable) What your previous experience at Gifted Music School has meant to you.
    • A list of accomplishments in violin, music, or any other area you'd like to highlight to the scholarship committee.
  • E-mail your completed application form and supporting documentation to by July 15, 2023.

Have Questions?

Please direct any questions to

Past Starling Scholars