Students named Vilar fellows

Program gives funding to young performing artists

New York University prexy L. Jay Oliva and philanthropist Alberto Vilar tapped the first batch of Alberto Vilar Global Fellows on Tuesday.

Program gives funding to young performing artists for two years of study in Gotham. Launched in spring 2001 with a $23 million pledge from Vilar, it is open to students and graduates in categories including acting, instrumental performance and dramatic writing. Selection process is modeled after that of the Rhodes Scholarship.

The winners are Rania Ajami, filmmaking; Aaron Jafferis, musical theater writing; Arnulfo Maldonado, stage and film design; John Savage, woodwind; and Matthew Shulman and Patricia Zarate, jazz studies. They begin their courses this fall.

The six were culled from 12 finalists who completed their final auditions Tuesday morning before a panel of judges including dancer Mark Morris, Met designer John Conklin and arts patron Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimo.

Nearly 400 students from 191 colleges and universities across the Europe and North America applied for consideration. Next year, the program will extend to schools in Asia, Australia and South America.

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