Music Students and Professor Participate in International Music Festival

Left to Right: Garrett Vogel, Ismaelena Serrano, Emily Auten, Dr. Moon-Sook Park, Ashley Trotter, Lisa Kulczak
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Left to Right: Garrett Vogel, Ismaelena Serrano, Emily Auten, Dr. Moon-Sook Park, Ashley Trotter, Lisa Kulczak

In July, five students and one professor from the Department of Music represented the University of Arkansas at the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Piobbico, Italy.

The festival brings together pianists, vocalists and string players from around the world for an opportunity to work with renowned teachers, coaches, pianists and directors in a one-on-one setting. Five vocalists from the University of Arkansas participated in this year's intensive three-week vocal studies program.

Moon-Sook Park, associate professor of music in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, was invited to teach for a second year as one of six voice artist-faculty members at the festival. She participated in the faculty recital on Wednesday, July 11, which took place in the Brancaleoni castle, a 13th-century historic structure overlooking the city. 

Five students from Park's voice studio also attended the festival: three undergraduate students—Emily Auten, Ashley Trotter and Garrett Vogel; two graduate students—Lisa Kulczak and Ismaelena Serrano. Each student had the opportunity to perform in multiple recitals and concerts.

Three students performed in the festival's full-staged opera, Puccini's Gianni Schicchi. Kulczak and Serrano sang the principal parts of Zita and Lauretta, respectively. Vogel performed the part of Maestro Spinelloccio. The production was directed and coached by acclaimed musical staff from across the world, including affiliates of the Metropolitan Opera of New York and the Teatro dell' Opera in Rome.

Additionally, Auten, Trotter, Vogel and Serrano performed in a concert of staged scenes from operas ranging from the Baroque period to contemporary works. All students performed in vocal recitals throughout the festival, with some participating in concerts given in the neighboring towns of Fano and Piandimeleto.

In addition to performances, the students had daily vocal lessons with different voice teachers and vocal coaching, movement/dance classes, masterclasses and Italian language and diction courses from the festival faculty. As part of their exposure to Italian culture, students participated in cooking classes at the local culinary school, conversed with local university students, and went on a hike around the foothills of Piobbico. Day trips to the beach at Pesaro and sightseeing in Florence rounded out the festival experience. 

"We all are very grateful for such incredibly supportive music summer grants by the Department of Music approved by the chair, Dr. Ronda Mains," Park said. "The grants enabled our students to represent the U of A greatly with their remarkable performances and well-behaved learning attitudes throughout the festival. I am enormously proud of all the participants at this fantastic festival this summer and for their life-changing experiences."

Park said that personally, as an artist-faculty at the festival, she was able to build up a significant network with renowned artist and academia internationally.

"I hope to continue to bring up further learning experience opportunities for U of A music students and positive representation of the University of Arkansas abroad," she said. 


Justin R. Hunter, instructor


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