Travel, music, and culture - count me in!
For the first time, IU South Bend has incorporated an overseas study program for music majors. Proposed by Assistant Professor of Music Jorge Muñiz, the program gives music majors the chance to perform and study music in Northern Spain. Students will have the opportunity to broaden their perspectives in musical training using the European tradition, as well as network with Spanish students and music professionals.
The program is based in Oviedo, capital city of the Asturias region, with Indiana University partner Conservatorio Superior de Música de Asturias (CONSUMPAS). IU South Bend music students will take music classes and lessons at CONSUMPAS. This public conservatory has undergraduate degrees in all music disciplines, including orchestral instruments, piano, voice, and composition. In addition to their music courses, students will also take Spanish classes at CONSUMPAS and the University of Oviedo.
The first student to embark on this adventure is composition major Ethan Kampa. What’s on the mind of this composer prior to departing? This will be a first for Ethan, who has never traveled outside of the United States. “I haven’t been outside of the Midwest. Exposing myself to another culture and being at a place with very high standards will be good for me to see what another scenario is like. So my expectation is to learn a lot, to come back a more professional, more focused sort of composer and not still a child. Learning over there will change how I write.” The decision to travel fulfills a longtime goal for Ethan and is one he encourages others to pursue. According to Ethan, the greatest benefit of the new program is the traveling, “Clearly it gives other people opportunities to experience the craziness of being outside of South Bend which should happen to everybody.”
Even though Ethan is new, professors at the conservatory are already familiar with his music. Muñiz took a piece of Ethan’s music to the most recent Music Across the Atlantic program where it was performed by a string quartet. “They probably already know my name to a certain extent, some people do anyway, but it still will give me a good chance to learn how to peddle myself. Basically, I have to start getting to the point where I can sell myself as a musician.” Networking and creating connections are vital to music students with musical career aspirations.
When asked if nervous about attending another university, Ethan responded, “Yes, of course. I am nervous about…advanced composition which is basically the grammar of music. I’m basically writing in the style of 16th Century composers. Over there (Spain) will be more intense and I will have a language barrier too. That’s actually the biggest thing for me.” Fortunately for Ethan, the Spanish courses he has taken at IU South Bend and additional courses he will take in Oviedo will help him overcome this obstacle.
The northern coastline of Spain is ideal for music students wanting to experience Spanish culture. Events to look forward to are an international piano festival, a dance festival, a jazz festival, an opera festival and many theatre companies. Additionally, two professional symphony orchestras with regular seasons perform throughout the year.
We will be following up with Ethan in December upon his return from Spain to hear about his travels and experiences. Buena suerte Ethan!