Marchant wins Presser Award
Music and Citizenship Lead to Presser Scholar Award
Like a symphony with multiple layers of melody, Liam Marchant is a musical multi-tasker.
Because of his high level of academic and musical accomplishments, his leadership and citizenship, Marchant was selected by faculty for the $4,000 award.
“The Presser Award is our most prestigious honor given to a current student by the faculty of the Lionel Hampton School of Music,” Vanessa Sielert, director of LHSOM, said.
Living and Breathing Music
During his three years at U of I, he has performed in jazz ensembles, been a leader on the Vandal Marching Band and treasurer of the campus saxophone club. He juggles the activities with classes, a job and is a member of local funk band, Pumice Pocket.
“I kind of live and breathe music,” said Marchant, who grew up in a musical family in Boise. His dad performed with the band Blue X in the ‘80s and ‘90s, his grandpa played polka accordion in Canada, and his great grandfather was a pianist.
“My dad was very honest with me — being a musician can be very difficult — in L.A. it’s very cutthroat,” Marchant said.
For a brief time in high school, Marchant considered a career in neuroscience but ultimately decided that despite the challenges, he wanted music to be more than just a hobby.
The approach Marchant is taking is the opposite of cutthroat and extends beyond borders.
Connecting to the World Through Music
While at Boise High, Marchant visited Cambodia in 2018 as a volunteer for a bicycle distribution program. Pedals and Packs organized by the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights distributed hundreds of bicycles to students across rural Cambodia. Marchant applied the fundraising and humanitarian skills he learned and transferred them to his musical goals.
Witnessing the stories, sounds and traditions of others in Cambodia, along with Ireland and Canada, where he’s also traveled, was an education, Marchant said. It solidified his vision to unite the world in music.
“We all have the same goals,” Marchant said. “I want to amplify voices and facilitate that connection to the world.”
His current fascination is the music of Ghana, specifically vocal and drum traditions in the Volta region. Marchant plans to study music in Ghana next summer with U of I Associate Professor Barry Bilderback. This summer, he is working with Bilderback and library faculty member Olivia Wikle and Habib Iddrisu, PhD from the University of Oregon on a digital cultural preservation initiative to digitally preserve Ghana’s performing arts. The work is funded by a fellowship with U of I’s Center for Digital Inquiry and Learning.
“Liam Marchant has exemplified the Presser Scholar in all aspects of his work in the school of music, and we are looking forward to seeing what he will do in the coming year,” Sielert said.
About The Presser Foundation
The Presser Foundation was established in 1939 under the Deeds of Trust and Will of the late Theodore Presser. It is one of the few private foundations in the United States dedicated solely to music education and music philanthropy. The Presser Foundation supports a broad range of classical symphonic, chamber, choral and vocal music performance and education through general operating and program grants to music organizations; capital grants for music building projects; undergraduate and graduate student awards; and assistance to retired music teachers. Much of the grant making focus of the foundation is on organizations and institutions in the 75-mile radius surrounding Center City Philadelphia. For more information: www.presserfoundation.org.
Written by Kelly O'Neill
Lionel Hampton School of Music
Published June 2021