Recent Music alum wins Fulbright to study euphonium in UK

David DeMair
Photo by Larry Levanti

In 2010, when David DeMair graduated from Rutgers University with a double major in music performance and physics, he was faced with a choice: art or science?

Smart money might have told him to pursue a career in physics and play music on the side. But DeMair, a euphonium player who graduated summa cum laude, took the leap: He chose music.

"I feel a lot more of a supportive community in music than I do in physics," DeMair says. "I can't imagine really doing anything else and getting the same enjoyment out of it."

His choice has already begun to pay off: In the spring, DeMair was named a 2011 Fulbright Scholar. He will leave in September to study the euphonium at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. Arthur D. Casciato, director of the Office of Distinguished Fellowships at the university, says DeMair is only the second Rutgers University student ever to win the coveted fellowship to study in the United Kingdom.

DeMair, 25, says his goal is to complete a two-year master's program and, along the way, "to have the euphonium more well-known in America." DeMair says the brass instrument tends to be more popular in Great Britain. To that end, he says he hopes to investigate how the perception of the euphonium differs between the UK and the United States.

While at the Mason Gross School's Music Department, DeMair was a member of the Wind Ensemble. He says he first picked up the instrument in the fourth grade and continued to perform with school bands.

"I really liked the sound of it," DeMair says. "It has a very rich and dark sound, almost vocal in character." Besides, "being able to create a sound that wasn't there before--that was a great feeling." 

From the beginning, DeMair says, he appreciated making music in a group; he still does.

"You are having a communal experience--a connection without words, a connection with the instrument," DeMair says. "It's a way of having a connection with people in one of the most pure and simple ways."