Graduate Student Spotlights

Shruti Kumar

Music Composition for Film and Multimedia

Briefly tell us why you chose your program:
Firstly, NYU Steinhardt is one of a small handful of schools in the world that offer a program in Film Scoring, which has been something that I have been interested in pursuing for a long time. Secondly, I was drawn to the very open nature of the music department at Steinhardt; the students all come from extremely different musical backgrounds and each is completely accepting of each others' approach to the art, which I love. So in addition to the academic resources we have, we are learning from working with our peers, some of whom are very different than other musicians we've studied with in the past. Finally, being in New York is probably the best place to be for a musician. The department mirrors the City's music scene, in the sense that you can really do all kinds of music at once: you can be a songwriter, write for dance, film, theater, the concert stage, you name it- and it's all at your fingertips.
My favorite course:
film music: historical and aesthetic perspectives (and my private lessons)
My biggest challenge is:
Trying not to "over-think" things.
My favorite blog: (though i read more news online than blogs)
Why I went to Graduate School:
to get time that i could just devote to music. also, NYU offers a business/professional music perspective, which i had not been exposed to before the program.
The worst gift I've ever received:
The West Wing series on DVD (really, it's the best present- but it indulges endless hours of procrastination)
The most obscure research I've ever done:
Economics: determining indicators for 'happiness', 'mental health', and 'well-being' within the cultural context of villages in Ghana; Film Music- realizing that when one lines up all of the consecutive camera shots in 'Vertigo' vertically, the movie's im
The professor who influenced me the most:
Julia Wolfe (and Meredith Monk- not a professor, but she came and spoke to us.)
What I do to de-stress:
Eat, do yoga, go to the movies.
The place I would most like to visit is:
Ghana, Gaza, or South Africa
My secret passion is:
I think all of my 'passions' are pretty out in the open- at this point, none of them are a secret? I like writing poetry, which is something a lot of people don't know about me.
My favorite line from a song is:
"For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool, by making his world a little colder." - Paul McCartney

Background Information

Where you grew up:
Baltimore, Maryland
What are your plans after you graduate?
To keep writing music! And to continue progress with a non-profit I am starting that links current young artists and art enthusiasts to local and global development initiatives.
Honors, Awards, and Achievements:
Studied piano and composition beginning at age 4 at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, receiving multiple "Dean's Recognition Awards", as well as Maryland State Young Artist Awards. Proceeded to be accepted into the Juilliard Pre-College program for both piano performance and composition, and graduated with distinction. Enrolled at Columbia University completing a double major in Music and Economics, and graduated with honors. Spent a year at Yale University researching development economics projects prior to enrolling at NYU for film scoring. Has composed a multitude of film scores, pieces for contemporary dance, pieces for concert hall and choir, and composed and musical directed three musical theater productions. Has performed and/or had compositions performed at Miller Theatre, Columbia University, The Juilliard School, Merkin Hall, Steinway Hall, The Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and Strathmore Hall. In addition to instrumental work, also sings and performs original songs.
Community Service and Other Activities:
Mentoring at Baltimore City Public Schools, The World Bank Book Project, Washington DC, Taught English in Kathmandu, Nepal (Adarsha Vidhya Ashram), Sing at AIDS Hospice, NYC, Teaching Promoting HIV/AIDS awareness (Columbia University)