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Lauren Park '24

Growing up in the area, Lauren Park '24 had no doubt in her mind that she wanted to study music at Swarthmore College. “The main reason I came here is because of the people,” she says. “I’ve always had such wonderful relationships with those at Swarthmore.” 

As a child whose parents both loved classical music, she would often listen to her father play John Field’s Nocturnes or recordings of Chopin’s piano pieces on her way to school. “I started taking private piano lessons when I was 7,” Park says. She continued with piano lessons, began viola lessons at age 8, and by high school had joined the Delaware County Youth Orchestra, playing under the baton of Swarthmore College’s Andrew Hauze ‘04.

Professor Hauze wasn’t the only person from Swarthmore that Park had ties with before entering the College. Living in the area allowed her to develop close bonds with many faculty members and students as she grew up. “My babysitters, my tutors . . . they were all Swarthmore students, ” she recalls. “I would come to McCabe as a ten-year-old to meet with my French tutor. ” So when the time came to apply for college, she knew she wanted to study at Swarthmore, and she knew what to expect when she got here. “I remember writing in one of my essays about how I looked forward to giving a lunch hour concert in Parrish,” she chuckles, “but I’ll only be giving my first one here this month. It's kind of sad that it took me this long.” Park will be performing her lunch hour concert at 12:30 pm on April 22 in Lang Concert Hall with Professor Hauze and Greg Boatman ‘23.

Her time at Swarthmore has fortunately coincided with the completed renovations to the pipe organ in Lang Concert Hall. “I didn’t anticipate learning how to [play the] organ,” she says. “I just heard that they were restoring [it] and so I thought, why not?” Park sought out organ lessons with the help of Professor Hauze her sophomore year, and has since begun playing organ repertoire from the Baroque period to the twentieth century, working as a church organist, and examining religious applications of the instrument.

Seeking to explore her spirituality through the music she performs, Park has been playing services at local Episcopal and Presbyterian churches and has decided to focus her senior thesis around contemporary Roman Catholic church music after the reforms of Vatican II. “Besides just playing these instruments,” Park says, “I’ve also always been so interested in the stories behind them. It’s what drove me to pursue music history here [at Swarthmore] and what I’ll be doing my Ph.D in after graduating.” Her main research interests lie in examining musical exoticism, focusing on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French operas that portray human subjects foreign to their creators.

Ultimately, Park’s time in the Swarthmore Music Department has helped her grow as both an individual and a musician. She cites Professor Barbara Milewski and Professor James Blasina as major influences on her development. “Barbara and Jamie are both amazing mentors that helped guide me through my time here,” she says. “They know what scholarship has been published and what there is to do, and they care greatly about students to help them with development of that scholarship.” Having taken classes with both professors, she's been able to fulfill her passion for music history and gain insights into the direction she hopes to take her research. The consideration and care she has felt from the faculty and her peers has pushed her to continue on a path of teaching and academia.

After Swarthmore, Park will pursue her Ph.D in Musicology at Princeton University. “I hope I can become a professor after I finish my degree,” she says. “I would also love to be a university librarian, or become a high school history teacher. Anything that would allow me to continue teaching would be great.” 

As she recalls her time with her professors, her peers, and performing and studying the music that she loves, Park smiles. “Who they are as people really helped me decide what I wanted to do,” she says. “I really can’t think of anything I would change.”

Park will perform her lunch hour concert at 12:30 pm on April 22 in Lang Concert Hall with Professor Hauze and Greg Boatman '23. She will present her senior recital on Sunday, April 28 at 7:30 pm in the same location. Both concerts are free and open to the public.


Favorite Music course at Swarthmore: 19th-Century music with Professor Barbara Milewski

Favorite Music making experience at Swarthmore: Anything that allows me to play with other people. 

What you'll miss most about Swarthmore: The people here/having such easy access to the organ. 

What sound or noise do you love: The sound of birds outside my window in the morning. 

What sound or noise do you hate: The ads on youtube that come up in the middle of listening to music. 

What's the last song you played on your phone: Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt by J.S. Bach, BWV 68.