Mackenzie Pierce '11 Awarded Beinecke Scholarship
by Stacey Kutish
Mackenzie Pierce '11
Mackenzie Pierce '11, an honors major in music and philosophy from Iowa City, Iowa, is a recipient of a 2010 Beinecke Scholarship, which recognizes intellect, character, creativity, leadership, and evidence of well-formulated plans for the future in students who plan to attend graduate school in the arts, humanities, or social sciences. One of only 20 students from around the country to win the award, Pierce will receive a $4,000 stipend upon completion of his undergraduate studies and $15,000 grant for each of two years in graduate school as a Beinecke Scholar.
Pierce, who intends to study music history in graduate school, credits the Swarthmore faculty for fostering those interests. "One cannot play well without having non-musical passions or understanding a bit about life," he says. "During my first semester at Swarthmore, I had the fortune of taking classes with two professors who have been continual inspirations: Associate Professor of Music Barbara Milewski and Charles and Harriett Cox McDowell Professor of Philosophy Richard Eldridge. Both helped foster new perspectives on music and aesthetics while challenging me to refine the questions I was asking."
In graduate school, Pierce intends to focus on Fryderyk Chopin's interaction with Parisian salon culture. "I hope to understand how Chopin's audience heard music differently than a modern audience," he says. "I want to interpret - to ask not only about the facts of Chopin's life or about the stylistic evolution of his music, but moreover what this music meant in different time periods and what it can mean today."