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Queens College 2014 Music Grad Jin-Xiang ("JX") Yu Now Studying Opera at Yale on Two Scholarships

-- Born in China and Raised in Japan, the Future Diva Grew Up in a Musical Family;  Her Full Tuition is Paid by Yale --

 FLUSHING, NY, October 29, 2014 − Recent Queens College graduate Jin-Xiang (“JX”) Yu is already a soprano of note. After only three years of classical training at the Aaron Copland School of Music, she gained admission to the Yale School of Music’s opera department, a program so exclusive that it accepts just eight singers each year, giving all full scholarships.

As if that weren’t enough, she also won the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation 2014 Graduate Arts Award, the leading graduate scholarship in the nation in the visual arts, performing arts and creative writing for exceptional students with financial need. Recipients are eligible for as much as $50,000 a year for up to three years, to cover tuition or living expenses.

“When I’m 70, I’ll look back and be amazed at this opportunity,” said Yu, whose friends call her JX, overwhelmed by the good news. “I’m going to take it from here and run with it.”
Jin-Xiang Yu for web.jpeg
Born in China and raised in Japan, the future diva grew up in a musical household; her father plays the erhu, the two-stringed Chinese violin, and her mother plays jazz piano and the Chinese dulcimer. Nonetheless, when Yu came to New York in 2007, she had no concept of her vocal potential. Thinking of herself as a dancer, she completed a two-year certificate program in musical theater dance at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in 18 months and then hit the road, performing with regional companies.

A year later, to keep her student visa, Yu enrolled at Mercy College as a communications disorders major. While playing volleyball recreationally in New York City, a Queens College coach saw her in action and recruited her for the Lady Knights. Benched by injury in her first semester at QC—a lucky accident that would change her future—she took up classical music as a raw beginner. In fact, she had to audition twice at the highly competitive Aaron Copland School of Music before being accepted as a vocal major.

“Queens College is the kind of place where if you don’t come in with all the tools, professors see your potential and give you a chance,” observed Yu, who says she originally “hated” classical music, which she found “pretentious.” That opinion changed after her first musical class at QC. “I fell in love,” she said simply.

When later asked by a Yale administrator why she had attended Queens College rather than a conservatory, she answered, “It’s really important for artists to have a general education so you have knowledge of the world that can feed your expression.” While at Queens, Yu received a $7,000-a-year grant for people of Asian ancestry from the William Orr Dingwall Foundation. She also won a fellowship to study and sing art songs (poetry) at the 2014 Toronto Summer Music Festival.

Besides earning her music degree last June, Yu also earned a B.A. in linguistics. She’s fluent in Mandarin and Japanese, studied Spanish at the preK-12 English-speaking international schools she attended at home, and at QC immersed herself in other European languages. Her senior recital featured selections in French, German, Italian, and Russian. But when the artistic director of Yale’s program called Yu to notify her of her acceptance, she found herself at a loss for words. “I had slept in that morning, so I was pretty sure I was dreaming,” she recalls. “I said, ‘You’re kidding, right?’ The director answered, ‘I’m not kidding, dear.’”

That’s success, in any language.
About Queens College
A senior college of the City University of New York, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, the college helps its nearly 19,000 students realize their potential in countless ways, assisted by an accessible, award-winning faculty. Located on a beautiful 80-acre campus in Flushing, the college is cited each year in the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 100 “Best Value” colleges. This year, Washington Monthly ranked QC #2 nationwide as a Best-Bang-for-the-Buck school for helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.
About the Aaron Copland School of Music (ACSM)                                                                        
Established in 1981, ACSM has over 500 music students enrolled in seven undergraduate and graduate degree programs and prepares its graduates for a variety of careers in music, including performance, teaching and composition. The school also maintains a vital presence in the cultural life of Queens and the greater NY metropolitan area by annually offering over 200 public concerts and recitals, as well as specialized programs and courses for senior citizens. In addition, its Lawrence Eisman Center for Preparatory Studies in Music, a pre-college program, serves up to 400 elementary and secondary students each year.  For more information on the Aaron Copland School of Music, please visit


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