Concert Halls and Castles

February 10, 2016

Amanda Nagy

Four students in winter coats walk toward a castle.

Two Technology in Music and Related Arts (TIMARA) students spent their winter term in Scotland, where they presented their sound art and compositions and attended lectures at the University of Aberdeen’s sonic arts program, Sound Emporium Research Group (SERG).

Accompanied by Visiting Assistant Professor Joo Won Park, fourth-year Christiana Rose and third-year Daniel Karcher spent two weeks exchanging knowledge and experiences on the creative use of music technology. They spent the third week taking in Scotland’s culture and historic castles and modern concert halls.

Rose, a double-degree student majoring in TIMARA and cinema studies, says she benefited from presenting her work to an audience outside of Oberlin. “The students and faculty at Aberdeen made us feel at home. It was a great experience to share the work from my recital and see what other music and composition students thought of it. Their students also presented projects they were currently working on. There was an interesting overlap between our work and theirs, which was great to discover.”

The three attended a class taught by Pete Stollery, an electro-acoustic composer, which was similar to the TECH 201-202 courses taught at Oberlin. “What was most interesting was the way he introduced listening to electro-acoustic works and how to approach acousmatic music,” Rose says, who is from Evergreen, Colorado. “I'm going to be teaching a TIMARA class to middle school girls this semester, and his lecture inspired me with new ways of engaging people who aren't necessarily used to this kind of music. I think the biggest thing I learned was about presentation skills and how to explain my work to different types of audiences.”

Park also presented his work and held a SuperCollider workshop, which culminated in a concert of his compositions.

On the last leg of their trip, the trio traveled outside of Aberdeen to explore various sites, including Dunnottar Castle, where the Scotting crown and regalia were smuggled out of the country in the mid-1600s to be hidden while the English lay siege. Afterward, they enjoyed traditional fish and chips with Suk-Jun Kim, program coordinator of the SERG masters program, and another doctorate student at a small place on the shore of the North Sea. On the last night, they attended a performance by the Scottish Ballet, which was premiering new choreography of Sergei Prokofiev's Cinderella.

“We were incredibly lucky and witnessed some of the few sunny days that Aberdeen gets in the winter,” Rose says. “We walked just about everywhere, all the while trying local cuisine like haggis, neeps, and tatties (a special minced sheep pudding with turnips and mashed potatoes) and Irn-Bru, a flavored soda, and discussing life as a new music composer.”

Park says the group returned to Oberlin with new ideas and inspirations. “We believe that the interaction between Aberdeen and Oberlin will continue to develop in the future.”

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