Music Performance Student Selected to Join "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band

December 11, 2014

Caroline Bean Stute (Music Performance) is a cellist, performer, teacher, doctoral student - and now, staff sergeant in "The President's Own."

Caroline Bean Stute (Music Performance) is a cellist, performer, teacher, doctoral student - and now, staff sergeant in "The President's Own."

In August, Stute was invited to join the United States Marine Band, the oldest professional musical organization in the country. Founded in 1798 by an Act of Congress, the 160-member organization is closely tied to the White House, performing at presidential inaugurations, state funerals, state dinners, arrival ceremonies, and approximately 500 other high-level events every year.

"Caroline is a superb young cellist," said Professor Norman Carey, Acting Executive Officer of the Ph.D./D.M.A. Programs in Music. "I am delighted that she has gotten this opportunity, but not surprised that it has been offered to her, as I know how gifted she is . . . We couldn't be more proud of her."
For Stute, the appointment continues a theme of lifelong musical achievement. The Florida native began her musical training on piano at age six and cello at 14, early training for what is now praised as 'style and virtuosity' (Cleveland Classical). Skilled in solo, chamber, and orchestral playing, she has performed with the New World Symphony (2009-2011), Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (2008), and Apollo's Fire Baroque Orchestra of Cleveland (2008-2009). Her work with small ensembles and orchestras can also be heard on multiple recording labels.

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Stute's role in the Marine Chamber Orchestra adds a new level of prestige to her résumé. Long considered the nation's most prestigious musical corps, 'The President's Own' first performed at the White House on New Year's Day 1801, at the invitation of John Adams. Later that year, Thomas Jefferson initiated the tradition of Marine Band performances by requesting that it perform at his inauguration. The Marine Band has played at every presidential inauguration since.

Stute's personal highlights include performing for President Obama for the first time and playing for Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees in the Executive Mansion, she said. Next in her sights is an education-outreach program in local high schools, where she will prepare and give presentations with a string quartet.

"It's incredibly rewarding to see music serve such a special and symbolic role in the places where some of the nation's, and the world's, most important minds come together," she said. "Music has served different roles throughout time, and I think it serves multiple ones in my work here - it inspires, entertains, reflects, and adds something unspoken that we all share."

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Her talents have taken her around the world, from St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, to a gathering of the Organization of American States in Medellín, Colombia. But Stute maintains a special connection to New York - particularly at the Graduate Center, where she often performs for the Music in Midtown series. She has also appeared at Carnegie's Zankel Hall, the 92nd Street Y, and Le Poisson Rouge, among other local venues, and is a member of the New York-based new music ensemble Hotel Elefant (video here).

"New York is for music what California is for tech start-ups," Stute said. "There's incredible innovation going on, and an unbelievable number of fabulous players willing to take risks to realize their ideas. The new music world is particularly rich with variety."

As a teacher, she has shared her expertise with students for nearly a decade. Among them are undergraduates at Queens College, where Stute served as an adjunct music instructor for the 2013-2014 academic year. The appointment resulted from her Chancellor's Fellowship, the Music program's largest award.

"I feel extremely lucky to be a part of a public university system that has enabled me to reflect on my experience and training in the field, build on it, and instruct others who are already performing at a very high level," she said. "For me, one of the challenges - and the thrills - of teaching music is the constant back-and-forth of interpretation, experimentation, and evaluation. Teaching at CUNY brought me a little closer to finding and systemizing the common roadblocks that get in the way of a student's ability to express his or her intent in the music.

"I intend for teaching to remain an integral part of what I do professionally."