2022 Tillman Scholar

Christina Ebersohl

University of Illinois
Doctorate of Viola Performance and Literature

“Sometimes life shatters your plans; that’s when you find your purpose. When I lost my sight, I discovered an uncharted passion for performance and invoking positive change for disabled musicians.”

Training as an Arabic Linguist for the Army, Christina discovered her job would be more than just translation—it was bridging the divisive gap and providing the foundation for future harmony. Though her time in military service was short, her dedication to lifelong service was not. For Christina, music also lays the foundation for change and harmony. As a classical violist, her performances offer to transport audiences far away from modern struggles and discomfort, and create a bridge for all to shelter under. Additionally, as a blind musician, Christina utilizes her concerts and public image as a platform for change, donating concert proceeds to the National Federation of the Blind and other charities, as well as raising her voice in advocacy for blind musicians and accessibility around the world.  

As a Doctoral candidate, Christina’s  resources expand, providing opportunities to develop relationships with organizations internationally, and to continue advocating for accessibility, equitable opportunities, and visibility in the field. Through her performances, public speaking, and lectures, and through her publications as Editor of the Journal of the American Viola Society, Christina is actively working to diversify the classical music industry and promote the underrepresented voices of disabled musicians. Additionally, utilizing her platform and leadership, she has already begun laying the foundation to launch an innovative scholarship competition for musicians who have overcome physical hardship. Though Christina no longer uses her Arabic language skills to translate daily, her music continues to translate hope, empowerment, and peace to audiences near and far.