First Alumni Achievement Award Winner - Reylon Yount ’08

June 14, 2017

Alumni Achievement Award winner Reylon Yount ’08 with Mrs. Susan Kennedy

At the Graduation Dinner on June 14, CAIS awarded its inaugural Alumni Achievement Award to Reylon Yount ’08 for setting an outstanding example through his professional accomplishments in the field of Chinese music.

An accomplished musician who plays the yangqin, Reylon began his Chinese music study here at CAIS with Gangqin Zhao. He attended IHS and then went on to graduate from Harvard in 2016 with a degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy and a secondary in East Asian Studies. Reylon has performed around the globe with YoYo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. He is featured on the Silk Road Ensemble’s Grammy Award-winning album Sing Me Home. He joined the group in accepting the music industry’s top honor this year. Reylon served as a faculty member at the 2017 Youth Music Culture Guangdong conference in Guangzhou. He also founded the Cultural Connections performance series in Allston, MA, to showcase various music and dance traditions to the local community. In the series, each performance piece is followed by a Q&A about the history of the art form and the experience of performing in the arts in college.  

Susan Kennedy served as his formal mentor during the application process for the prestigious Davidson Fellowship award, which he received in 2011, based on a project entitled “The Second Silk Road: Bridging East and West Through Chinese Music.” This past year he also won a Marshall Scholarship to study in the United Kingdom and plans to enroll in two one-year graduate programs, the first in Music in Development at SOAS, University of London, and the second in film producing at the Met Film School. Just as YoYo Ma established Silk Road to explore how the arts can advance global understanding, Reylon wants to develop his understanding of socially-engaged art. He shared, “The arts give us a way to think about what our values are, where we find meaning and how we want to seek fulfillment.”