Each year the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, in collaboration with New York University, offer two units for students to study; Summer Strings and Jazz in New York. These three-week intensive units are held at New York University and offer students the opportunity to study with world-renowned musicians, actively engage in cutting edge music education, undertake private lessons, and participate in workshops. Most importantly the students perform with, and are under the tutelage of, some of the greats of music. Recording sessions and performance opportunities with such mentors are, without doubt, the highlights of these units.
In addition to the opportunities these units offer, students are able to experience the untamed delights of New York City; from concerts at Carnegie hall and gigs at Village Vanguard to ventures through Central Park and the nuances of New York nightlife.
The 2014 units have only just concluded and we chatted to Jazz student Paul Cornelius about his experience: ‘NYU was really intense and informative’, Cornelius says. ‘Everyday was packed with rehearsals, workshops and concerts. To work with musicians as great as Joe Lovano, Bill Stewart, Eddie Henderson, Chris Potter, George Mraz, John Riley, Ralph Lalama was very special. Sitting less than two metres away from Chris Potter as he tears up a jazz standard is not something that happens every day!’
Paul Williamson, Lecturer in Jazz and Popular Studies at Monash University, accompanied students on this year’s trip and comments that ‘three weeks of inspiration, eclectic culture, mentoring from seminal jazz artists and daily performance opportunities makes the Monash University New York study abroad unit a life-changing and unique experience for students’.
Williamson, along with Dr Kenji Fujimura, Head of School Associate Professor Robert Burke, Lecturer Jordan Murray and Director of Performing Arts Paul Grabowsky (OAM), accompanied eight classical string students, and 35 jazz students on the trip. ‘For students, this is a life changing experience – something that opens their eyes to expectations of musical expertise and creativity at an international level’ says Burke.
This is the third year the New York units have been running for both classical and jazz students, and has proved a huge success, not only for students and staff from Monash School of Music, but for those at NYU. Cyrus Beroukhim, Music Associate Professor of Violin and String Studies at NYU, was one of the staff members involved with Monash University classical string students. ‘During chamber music coachings’, says Beroukhim, ‘I witnessed the supportive environment that the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music has fostered; students were eager to help one another by offering constructive comments and understanding different musical perspectives. We very much look forward to working with the Monash students next summer, if not before’.
Auditions for the 2015 New York University units open in March.