Kay George Roberts
Professor of Music and Director of the UMass Lowell String Project
Kay George Roberts has dedicated her career to advocating for the underrepresented and overlooked in society by promoting music education for children and using it as a bridge to connect cultures. She utilizes her love of music to reach out to the community, advancing K-12 music education in the City of Lowell.
Roberts, an accomplished violinist, music director and educator, encourages international linkages and, this past spring, those cultural linkages culminated in the performance in Lowell of "Where Elephants Weep," an original Cambodian opera. The contemporary opera tells a Khmer love story through traditional Cambodian music with Western structures that include rock, rap, ancient Khmer lullabies, Western opera arias and cell-phone rings. Two sold-out performances of the opera in April received wide-spread critical acclaim.
A champion of music education for young children, Roberts initiated the UMass Lowell String Project in 2001. The project is an after-school string training program for Lowell public school children. Approximately one hundred third-and-fourth grade students from the city's 16 elementary schools participate in an introductory year of study on a string instrument free of charge. The program is funded through grants from the American String Teachers Association, the Parker Foundation, matching University funds and additional support from the Lowell Public Schools.
In 2001, Professor Roberts was presented with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives for her "outstanding and invaluable service to the community."