Aaron Karp, Guarini ’19, Is Named a Luce Scholar

The student in digital musics will use the scholarship to live and work in Asia.

Aaron Karp, Guarini ’19, has received a Luce Scholarship from the Henry Luce Foundation to work in Asia next year. Karp, who is earning his master’s degree in digital musics, is one of 18 scholars selected from among 162 candidates nominated by 70 U.S. colleges and universities, including Dartmouth.

Through the program, Karp will receive a stipend, language training, and individualized professional placement with a professional arts organization and/or with artists working in his field in Asia. (The specific country and professional placement will be determined in the coming months.)

“It’s a unique opportunity that’s incredibly tailored to your direction in whatever field you’re in,” Karp says. “It’s also a much more culturally immersive experience than a lot of other international fellowships, which is a big part of the excitement for me.”

The son of classical musicians from Lexington, Ky., Karp grew up playing violin and viola, and decided to double major in music and computer science as an undergraduate at Northwestern University, where, in his senior year, he discovered an affinity for music composition. Post-graduation, he faced a choice: pursue a PhD in computer science or continue to develop his musical and artistic passion.

Dartmouth’s Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Study’s master’s program in digital musics proved to be “just the perfect combination of my interests. It’s more artistic, but also involves science. It felt like an opportunity I might not get again to see how I enjoy composing and creating art while still keeping that scientific focus. I’ve really loved it.”

Among his projects at Dartmouth: an interactive installation in the Black Family Visual Arts Center (BVAC) this past November that created a digital visualization and soundscape based on an algorithm mimicking avian flocking behavior. His latest project, for his thesis, is about mass audio surveillance—building a theory of machine listening, a tool to hide sounds from surveillance, and from that, generating an art installation that will open in the spring.

“I want people to come into the installation and experience how surveillance operates, and then I want them to be able to use my system to experience freedom from surveillance,” he says.

Of the Luce Scholarship, Karp says, “It’s an incredible honor. I think this will have a huge impact on every aspect of my life, moving forward. This isn’t an experience I would be able to have through any other means.”

The Luce Scholars Program is “a nationally competitive fellowship program launched by the Henry Luce Foundation to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society,” intended for “young leaders who have had limited experience of Asia and who might not otherwise have an opportunity in the normal course of their careers to come to know Asia,” according to the program’s website. The program operates in Asia through a partnership with the San Francisco-based nonprofit The Asia Foundation.

To learn more about how to apply for Luce Scholarships and other programs, visit the Office of Fellowship Advising.

Hannah Silverstein can be reached at [email protected].