At Mason the opportunities to learn about world music and international culture are abundant, both here on campus and while studying and performing abroad.
Study Music From Around the World
There are opportunities to learn about music from around the world either as an Ethnomusicology minor, which requires the completion of an Ethnomusicology internship, or as a course in Musics of the World or Ethnomusicology.
Video below: Mason's University Chorale Performs Ukuthula (Peace), celebrating the UN's International Day of Peace 2018.
Study and Perform Abroad
Touring activities for all choral ensembles include travel throughout Virginia, as well as participation in U.S. music festivals around the country. Mason students also routinely participate in performance opportunities abroad, with ensembles or individually. Through Mason’s Global Education Office, students are offered wonderful opportunities to travel around the world to experience culture and music.
Trinidad and Tobago, February 2023
Students from the Mason Steelpan Ensemble performed in Trinidad and Tobago with Hadco Phase II Pan Groove (last weekend) Feb. 5th in the annual Panorama semifinals competition, the largest steelpan event in the world. These students had the privilege to perform under the musical direction of Dr. Len "Boogsie" Sharpe, one of the most highly regarded arrangers for steel orchestra of all time.
The students also conducted a clinic with "The North Coast Pan Serenaders" where Ronald Lee arranged a tune by "rote" for the children and the Mason students.
Nairobi, Kenya in 2019
In 2019, twenty members of the University Chorale spent their spring break traveling East Africa. The trip was coordinated by Dr. Lisa Billingham, Professor and Director of Choral Activities in the School of Music. Their itinerary included touring State House Girls’ High School, Kenyatta University, and participating in a full day workshop with five local choirs from Nairobi.
The students were fortunate to experience a two-day safari at the Maasai Mara based at the Sentinel Mara Camp. The safari provided an education in animal and resource conservation. Lions, elephants, hippos, a leopard, and a wide variety of wild birds were some of the highlights of the safari. Students were able to learn about the conservation efforts of the rare Rothschild giraffe at The Giraffe Center in Lang'ata.
The trip was made possible by support of Mason’s Global Education Office, The Friends of Music at Mason and student-sponsored fundraisers.
The University Singers take a trip to Iceland - Spring 2018
Led by Professor Stan Engebretson (Professor Emeritus), the University Singers went to Iceland to perform concerts with local groups in major churches throughout Reykjavik. Dr. Engebretson had visited Iceland many times as his mother was Icelandic, leading to a Fulbright Senior Scholar Residency there in 2009. Through a network of friends, relatives, and contacts he was able to organize a tour presenting American music and learning many new Icelandic songs to perform at home.
In addition to the University Singers, some members of the National Philharmonic Chorale joined the group, as did many members of the Friends of Music, to form a group of almost 50 people traveling together. The cultural exchange with the Iceland Conservatory and the Sanctuary Choir of the Grab Church were highlights, as was singing in the magnificent Hallgrimmskirkje, the leading church in Reykjavik. In addition to enjoying tourist sites such as the Golden Falls, Geysers, and Blue Lagoon, the group also had a major night outing to see the Northern Lights, a rare opportunity to enjoy amazing arctic nature firsthand. Without exception, all who traveled realized that this may have been their first trip to Iceland, but hopefully not their last, so our mission to expand global horizons was a success at every level!
Italian Amalfi Coast Music & Arts Festival in 2017
Professor Patricia Miller, Director of Vocal Studies, traveled to the Amalfi Coast of Italy with her vocal studies students for the annual opera festival held there. Joining her were her students Anjanette Trebing, Elizabeth Borzich, and Alexandria Crichlow. The Amalfi Vocal Program provides a full immersion-style study and performance experience for singers under the artistic direction of an internationally acclaimed faculty of voice teachers and vocal coaches.
Study Abroad Partnership with Costa Rica in 2016
In 2016, the Dewberry School of Music and Mason Community Arts Academy established a study abroad partnership with Costa Rica to deliver musical instruments to music schools in need. In May 2017, a group of international teaching scholars (Mason students) traveled to Costa Rica with faculty members to deliver the instruments.
In April 2015, Mason percussionists spent a week in Costa Rica at the San Jose Music Conservatory sharing ideas and music. Mason music students Oliver Delotto (left), Kanako Chikami and Max Fahland performed a variety of new and classic percussion chamber music with the students at the San Jose Music Conservatory in Costa Rica.
Video below: Mason students Oliver Delotto (left), Kanako Chikami, and Max Fahland performed a variety of new and classic percussion chamber music with the students at the San Jose Music Conservatory during their trip to Costa Rica in April, 2015.
Mason Jazz in China
The Mason Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jim Carroll, offers opportunities for improvisation, performance, recording, writing, leadership and service. Among the many venues where this ensemble has performed is the Shanghai Concert Hall (Beijing, China), shown in the video below. Also featured is steel pan professor, Victor Provost.
Learn with Students From Around the World
Incorporating the global perspectives of our international student body cultivates a deeper understanding and appreciation for musical traditions and influences from around the globe. The blending of these ideas and styles encourages our students to challenge and expand their own world views.
Our international student body hails from from countries such as: Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Japan, Peru, Puerto Rico, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Video below: The Steel Pan Ensemble starts with a piece called Something Else composed by international student, Dominic Lewis from Barbados.