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Since her AYWS days, percussionist Jennifer Torrence has lived and worked in the United Kingdom, Norway, and Australia; performed as a soloist, chamber musician and concerto soloist; and taught university and conservatory students in 22 countries around the world. 

“It has been the ride of my life, and AYWS is a big part of what gave me the foundation to go for every opportunity that presented itself,” Jennifer says.

“I have so much gratitude for all this organization represents and strives for.”  

Jennifer resides in Oslo, Norway, where she is a research fellow and lecturer at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Currently, she is conducting a research project in contemporary percussion performance to develop large-scale solo percussion pieces with emerging and established composers from around the world. These new pieces explore the theatrical and choreographic dimension of percussion performance.

The Fulbright Scholar and former principal percussionist of the Artic Philharmonic attributes much of her success to her experiences in the AYWS.

“AYWS allows aspiring musicians to explore music-making at a very high level and with other students who strive for excellence,” she says. “My fellow musicians were an inspiring group of people, all of whom lead exciting lives and careers in music and in other fields. It was an honor to make music and to build friendships with these fantastic people.” Ultimately, Jennifer believes the ensemble also helped her imagine her future life beyond high school. 

When reflecting on the importance of music in general, Jennifer says she feels it is fundamentally about relationships: with instruments and tradition, colleagues, the community and within oneself. “Music provides a lens through which we can view, experience, and understand the world we live in,” she explains. “It is more than a career or a hobby or an art form – it’s a way of living, thinking, and reflecting. And that’s exactly what the world needs more of right now!”