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Frances Blaisdell Convention Scholarship

The 2024 application closed on May 15th. 
The Frances Blaisdell Convention Scholarship was established in 2010 to honor Frances Blaisdell for her achievements as a pioneer female flutist and for her lifelong generosity in assisting young musicians. Blaisdell was among the first women to enter the male-dominated world of orchestral music. Following her retirement from performing, Blaisdell taught at Stanford University until her death in 2009 at age 97. In 1994, Blaisdell received the NFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her trailblazing status as a flutist. In 2005, she was also awarded a Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award to honor her exceptional contributions as a flute educator at Stanford.

About the Scholarship

Each year, the Frances Blaisdell Convention Scholarship provides financial assistance for a high school or undergraduate student flutist to attend the National Flute Association Convention. The ideal candidate is a serious flute student who is eager to experience all that the NFA convention has to offer but whose financial situation prevents them from attending the event.

Recipients gain the means to attend the largest annual flute event in the world and the chance to participate in an enriching, immersive experience with renowned flute performers and ensembles from across the globe. Scholarship winners come away from the convention with insight, inspiration, and connections to help them further their flute musicianship and share what they’ve learned with their community.

The recipient of the Frances Blaisdell Convention Scholarship will receive $1500, a complimentary pass to the annual convention, and a one-year membership with the NFA to take advantage of the organization's educational and professional resources.

Scholarship Recipients

  • 2024 Olivia O'Brien
  • 2023 Tyree Wilson
  • 2022 Ariel Collins
  • 2021 Gabriel Cruz-Ruiz
  • 2020 Chloe Tordi
  • 2019 Iman Williams
  • 2018 Davina Miaw
  • 2017 Clara Loisch
  • 2016 Julia McGehee
  • 2015 Taylor Gaines
  • 2014 Jessica Hall
  • 2013 Melissa Cheng
  • 2012 Hannah Hammel
  • 2011 David Le
  • 2010 Ezra Spiro

Application Requirements

In order to be considered for the Frances Blaisdell Convention Scholarship, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a citizen or legal resident of the United States.
  2. Be enrolled as a full-time student in a secondary school or high school (grades 9 through 12) or as an undergraduate student at an accredited college, university, or conservatory in the United States.
  3. Be under the age of 25 years by the start date of the convention.
  4. Demonstrate personal economic need, defined as the inability to attend the NFA Convention without financial assistance.
  5. Applicants cannot be a previous winner of the Frances Blaisdell Convention Scholarship, or related to any member of the Frances Blaisdell Convention Scholarship Committee.
  6. Applicants cannot receive the Frances Blaisdell Convention Scholarship and the First Generation in College Scholarship in the same calendar year.

Applicants must submit the following materials. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

  1. A written statement in English (maximum 300 words) describing: (a) why attending the NFA convention will benefit the applicant's musical development; (b) how the applicant will utilize the experience of attending the NFA convention to further the development of flute music in the applicant's community; and (c) the applicant's financial need for the Frances Blaisdell Convention Scholarship to be able to travel to and attend the NFA Convention.
  2. An audio or video recording of the applicant performing one or more selections of unaccompanied flute music for eight (8) to ten (10) minutes, recorded not more than 6 months before submission of the recording. The applicant is to choose a program from the two categories of standard solo flute repertoire listed below. The program must include contrasting music from both eras, with no repeats.
    1. Early repertoire—suggested composers: J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, Telemann, Quantz
    2. Late repertoire—an unaccompanied work or etude written after 1850
  3. Two letters of recommendation: One from an NFA member, and one from a music teacher (i.e. band director, orchestra conductor, or private teacher), both of whom must be familiar with the applicant's flute musicianship and financial need. Letters of recommendation should address the following: (a) the applicant's present and potential level of flute musicianship; (b) the contributions that the applicant has made to the local music community; and (c) the financial need of the applicant in relation to travel to and attendance at the NFA Convention.

Applications will be evaluated based on the applicant's musical ability (75% of total evaluation) as well as the potential for future positive impact on the development of flute music in the applicant's community as a result of attendance at and participation in the NFA convention (25% of total evaluation).

The recipient of the Frances Blaisdell Convention Scholarship agrees to the following requirements.

  1. Attend at least three (3) full days of the 2024 NFA Convention in San Antonio, TX (Aug. 1-4)
  2. Participate in a post-convention interview by a writer for The Flutist Quarterly within thirty (30) days after the close of the NFA Convention. The subject matter of the interview will be the Blaisdell Scholarship Flutist's experiences at the NFA Convention and how such experiences have influenced and will influence his or her musical life.
  3. Consent to the use of his or her name, photograph, and personal information stated in the Application and/or disclosed in the interview, in publications of the NFA, including but not limited to the NFA Convention program, The Flutist Quarterly, and the NFA website.

Please direct any questions to Daniel Pardo at 

Olivia O'Brien (2024 recipient):

I am beyond grateful for being awarded the Frances Blaisdell Scholarship this year. This scholarship allows me to connect with people all around the world who share the same passion as I do, and expand my knowledge about the music world. During my time at the National Flute Association Convention, I hope to share my personal experience as a flutist, and build lifelong relationships to carry into my professional career.

Olivia O'Brien

Tyree Wilson (2023 recipient):

I am honored and thrilled to be selected as the recipient of the Frances Blaisdell Scholarship. This scholarship will allow me to continue Blaisdell’s legacy to inspire other flutists and grow as a musician. I am so excited to be able to attend the National Flute Association Convention in Phoenix, Arizona and connect with so many flute players around the world.

Tyree Wilson

Gabriel Cruz-Ruiz (2021 recipient):

Music forms an integral part of my life. I listen to it every day. Without it I think life would be senseless. The flute is one of my most beloved passions; I think studying the instrument and its repertoire is a fun intellectual feat similar to solving a complex puzzle. Being the 2021 recipient is a great honor, which will be ultimately met with hardwork and dedication. 

Gabriel Cruz-Ruiz

Chloe Tordi (2020 recipient):

I am honored to be selected as the 2020 recipient for the Frances Blaisdell Scholarship, following in the footsteps of the outstanding recipients before me. The NFA convention provides countless musicians with incredible opportunities to grow as performers, students, and teachers among a diverse group of professionals, and I am elated to have the opportunity to attend the 2021 [virtual] convention.

Iman Williams

Iman Williams (2019 recipient):

Walking around the convention center and seeing so many flutists from all over filled me with joy. It excited me to see many people from various backgrounds coming together for one common goal: to learn, appreciate, and create beautiful music. Among my most memorable moments was performing Danza de la Mariposa at the inaugural Flute Speakeasy Workshop with Amanda Harberg, Valerie Coleman, and Nicole Chamberlain. Being a part of this safe, non-judgmental environment and having the opportunity to perform before several heroes was very heartening and influential.

Iman Williams

Davina Miaw (2018 recipient):

I had an unbelievable time at my first NFA Convention in Orlando, thanks to support from the Frances Blaisdell Scholarship. Blaisdell was a trailblazer for female flutists, and it was an honor being part of her legacy through this scholarship.
Headshot of Davina Miaw, 2018 winner of the Frances Blaisdell scholarship

Clara Loisch (2017 recipient):

Thanks to the financial support provided by the Frances Blaisdell Scholarship, I was able to attend my first NFA convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At the convention, I gleaned so many insights into the art of our craft as flute players. I was struck by the NFA’s broad exploration of advanced flute topics, quality masterclasses, and inspiring concerts. One of the most beneficial aspects of attending the convention was being able to observe world-renowned flute players in person. I had the opportunity to watch William Bennett in a masterclass, speak to leading flute players such as Leone Buyse and Bonita Boyd, and glean tips from the principals in the Los Angeles and Chicago symphony orchestras. In addition, I learned about the quality of tone and technique I should strive toward. It was an unforgettable experience, and I will carry the lessons learned at this convention with me far into the future. I am so grateful for the opportunities provided by this scholarship and strongly encourage all serious flutists to consider applying.


Taylor Gaines (2015 recipient):

I am so grateful to have been a recipient of the Fances Blaisdell Scholarship, without which I would not have been able to attend the convention at any point during my college career. The conference was both educational and inspiring to me a flutist and as a Music Education student. I learned so much about music advocacy programs, the flutist’s well-being, and flute technique that I was able to put to use upon returning home, and I had the privilege of listening to some of the best flutists the world has to offer in concert. I was able to attend and take notes in masterclasses given by Marianne Gedigian and Jonathan Keeble, both of which were immensely helpful and inspirational. Being able to finally attend the National Flute Association conference was a very special and inspirational experience, and I hope to attend many more in the future. 



Melissa Cheng (2013 recipient): 

It was such an honor to be a Blaisdell Scholar. I am grateful to Frances Blaisdell for paving the way for female flutists in the professional orchestra world. Because of the scholarship I was able to have valuable and memorable experiences at the 2013 Convention, including playing in a masterclass with Marianne Gedigian and competing in the High School Competition.

I am now a rising junior at Boston University studying with Renee Krimsier. My time at the convention really inspired and motivated me to pursue my dream of becoming a professional flutist. Hearing all the musicians at the convention and learning more about their backgrounds, including Frances Blaisdell, has shown me that hard work and perseverance are the key to success.


Hannah Hammel (2012 recipient):

I am so grateful for being a recipient of the Frances Blaisdell Scholarship from the National Flute Association. I received this in 2012 and was able to attend the convention for the first time. At the convention, I played in a masterclass for Peter Lukas-Graf as a winner of the Masterclass Performer Competition. That was an incredible experience and I learned so much. That summer I also met Leone Buyse. Since then, I have taken a lesson with her and applied to study with her at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music where I will be attending next year. I am so appreciative for the scholarship and for the opportunities it enabled me to have.