Savanna Nygard started playing the flute when she was 10 years old. An avid “birder,” she associates the sound of her craft with birdsong, which she appreciates both individually and as a whole.
“I’ve always been in love with the idea of working together with many other players to create one unified work of art,” Nygard says.
Her wish to share music brought her to UCI, where she’s a third-year student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music, with a concentration in flute performance. Nygard holds the principal chair as first flute in the UCI Symphony Orchestra and is the recipient of the Alice Lowell Memorial Scholarship.
“I can’t express how much it means to me that someone who doesn’t even know me was willing to give so that I can continue to perform,” she says. “A scholarship for music doesn’t just provide financial support; it’s a gesture of encouragement and inspiration.”
The funding supports undergraduate scholars of 18th and 19th century classical music, which Nygard has studied extensively under Patricia Cloud, a lecturer in the Department of Music. In this clip, the junior is playing Carl Reinecke’s “Undine” flute sonata, Op. 167, published in 1882.
When Nygard started touring and auditioning for music schools away from her hometown of San Rafael – which was selected by the California Arts Council in 2017 as a state-designated arts and culture district – she was particularly interested in flute professors who would be able to help her develop as a musician through personal instruction.
“When I met Patricia Cloud, I knew she would be the one to help me grow and flourish. Her teaching style clicked with my learning style, and already, in the time I’ve been on campus in person, I feel like I can truly own the stage,” Nygard says.
She has been taking the stage since middle school and feels lucky to have been raised in an environment that encouraged her pursuit of the arts. Not surprisingly, she’s an advocate of supporting arts for youth. Nygard sees the performing arts as not only a mode of expression and entertainment but also a leadership opportunity for the musicians involved, particularly student performers.
“There’s a lot to be said about leadership and teamwork when it comes to music, especially performance,” she says. “At UCI, since we’re such a tightknit group, we all know how important it is to work together to bring the pieces to life, but we’re also supportive of one another. We help each other grow and expand our personal capabilities.”
Looking forward, Nygard is preparing to enter the UCI Concerto Competition in February. After graduating in 2024, she plans to earn a master’s degree before earning a place in a professional symphony orchestra, performing both solo and ensemble work and, on the side, teaching students to keep alive the music she loves.
If you want to learn more about supporting this or other activities at UCI, please visit the Brilliant Future website at https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu. Publicly launched on Oct. 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for UCI. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. The Claire Trevor School of the Arts plays a vital role in the success of the campaign. Learn more by visiting https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu/claire-trevor-school-of-the-arts.