Ruben Sabando, First FIU Student to be Named Presser Scholar, Earns $4000 Stipend


Ruben Sabando, a junior instrumental performance major with a focus in violin, was named a 2020 Presser Scholar. He is the first FIU student to receive this prestigious honor award throughout the Presser Foundation’s 81-year history.

The Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award was established in 1939 by the Presser Foundation and is one of the few private foundations in the United States dedicated solely to music education and music philanthropy. As a recipient of the award, Ruben will receive $4,000 for his music studies this fall.

“Chosen by our music faculty members on the basis of excellence and merit, Ruben has shown he is very deserving of this special recognition,” said Karen S. Fuller Veloz, Director of the School of Music at Florida International University.

At FIU, Ruben plays in several chamber music ensembles and has also held the coveted concertmaster position of the FIU Symphony Orchestra. As an active musician, he has also performed with the Bolivar Phil, the South Florida Symphony, and the Naples Community Orchestra, all while working a full schedule as a teacher at Music Tech Studio in Pembroke Pines.

He has also participated in various summer music festivals, including the Josef Gingold Chamber Music Festival in 2019 and he was a Miami Music Festival Fellow in 2018.

Already fluent in Spanish, he studies German in order to pursue his current passion of exploring how composers intertwine the use of language into their music and to further increase his understanding of the music of the German composers.

“As someone who is constantly growing, I’ve learned a lot about myself over the course of my studies at FIU. It hasn’t been easy, but it has made me realize that hard work and dedication are virtues that will eventually lead to success. The faculty members, especially the string faculty, have constantly motivated me into becoming the best musician that I can possibly be.” said Ruben.

The School of Music at Florida International University boasts an exceptional world-renowned faculty of teaching artists and scholars who perform, educate, tour, record, publish, compose, and present scholarly work locally, nationally, and internationally. The school offers individualized training to over 200 undergraduate and graduate students in a nurturing atmosphere that allows for each student’s individual artistry and intellect to develop and blossom.

After graduation, Ruben plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Music.

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