In the Footsteps of Giants: J-term Study Away in Europe
Vienna, Salzburg, Leipzig, Berlin and Prague are cities rich with musical history and tradition. Vienna is often called the “Capital of Classical Music.” This one small area was the central location for many of the finest musicians of the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Experiencing music in the spaces where many of these great works were first heard contextualizes the art and helps students understand their significant historical and social function.
This is the fifth time that Dr. Edwin Powell, Professor of Music and Director of Bands, is leading this course to Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic. In an area known as a hotbed for the great classical composers, this region’s rich music tradition continues to this day. Dr. Powell says, “Each time I teach this class there are new performances and experiences to be shared. The content is different each time.”
Highlights of the upcoming trip will include seeing performances of Mahler 6 performed by the Berlin Philharmonic and Verdi’s Otello in the amazing Vienna State Opera House. Students’ horizons will vastly expand when they see how great the art can truly be. To understand the context in which these legendary musicians worked, as part of their coursework students will also consider the socio-political and economic factors surrounding the composers’ lives.
Dr. Powell leads study away trips because the world is larger than our Lute community. He believes it is important to encounter people and opinions that differ from ours, especially for young adults who are still developing their worldview. You never know what kind of street food you will fall in love with!
One of Dr. Powell’s funny study away stories involves a time that he and his students were locked in a municipal building in Leipzig after hours. The doors auto locked and all of a sudden, they were completely alone. After they wandered around for a while, a very kind custodian escorted them out of the building through the basement!
For those wishing they could join this marvelous trip, Dr. Powell has two book recommendations to help scratch your travel itch: Bach, Beethoven, and the Boys by David Barber and In Mozart’s Footsteps: A Travel Guide for Music Lovers by Harrison Wignall. Additionally, you can follow the cohort along as they post on this blog: https://2020plumusiccenters.blogspot.com/. Visit now to view their trip itinerary!