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Widening the Parameters With International Study

Posted by on Monday, March 28, 2011 in Articles, Spring 2011.

The Ars Nova Quartet (Ben Hart, violin; Caroline Hart, violin; Emily Nelson, cello; and Chris Lowry, viola) attended the Vanderbilt Music Academie in Aix-en-Provence, France, last summer.

Music transcends all national and cultural boundaries, and in programs as far-flung as Australia and Japan, Blair students are taking advantage of the chance to educate themselves as citizens of the world. They are broadening their horizons with the full support of their home institution, according to Associate Dean Melissa Rose. “If students can incorporate study abroad into their current degree track,” she says, “it’s easy for them to go.”

According to Rose, 37 Blair students have traveled abroad for academic study during the past three years. Most of them—26—have gone to Vienna through IES Abroad, formerly known as the Institute of European Studies. As Associate Professor of Musicology Joy Calico points out, the students in this program have the opportunity to take private lessons with members of the renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. “They get to experience musical life in one of the cities that has been most important for the historical development of the Western art music canon,” she says. In addition to living and learning in the city that was home to Mozart and Beethoven, the students can hear world-class performances several nights a week.

Other students pursue study in cities around the globe. There is an established IES program in Amsterdam, and through a program at Butler University in Indiana, Blair students have attended the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Australia. The cities of Leeds, Tokyo and Florence have all served as study destinations for Blair students. Four students go to the Royal Academy of Music in London every other year, part of an exchange program that sends four Royal Academy students to Blair.

As part of the Vanderbilt-in-France program, Blair students can attend the Conservatoire Darius Milhaud during the academic year. This for-credit study is a separate opportunity from the summer program, Vanderbilt Music Academie, which sends a student string quartet and a woodwind quintet to the Aix-en-Provence festival each year. VMA seeks to provide the students with a rich cultural experience during their brief time abroad. In addition to attending master classes with members of the Berlin Philharmonic, the students learn about French cooking and winemaking, as well as devoting time to study of the visual arts and theater.