The second week of November, I flew from Corfu, Greece, to France, for a week of recitals and residencies at three French conservatories, in Lyon, Tours, and Montluçon.
On November 8, 2021, I was in residence at the Lyon Conservatory, as a guest of Arnaud Schotte, Professor of Trumpet at the Lyon Conservatory. The day before my residency at the conservatory, Arnaud took me to coffee, and I enjoyed catching up with him about our many mutual friends and contacts. (As it turns out, Arnaud went to school in the United States at the Purchase Conservatory in New York, where he was a classmate of my recent University of Kentucky student Jeff Barrington.)
In the French system, students of all ages can enroll in conservatory, and the Lyon Conservatory has a total of around 70 trumpet students! I began the day with a 9:30am master class. About an hour into the class, I asked Professor Schotte how much time we had left, to which he replied, "We should stop by 12:45pm." While at first that sounded like a very long class, this turned out to be the shortest teaching day I had in France!
After the three-hour master class, we walked to a nearby restaurant for a delightful French lunch, where we were joined by Lyon trumpet artist Thierry Seneau and the conservatory's wonderful collaborative pianist. We then headed back to the conservatory for my afternoon recital. I played the same recital I had previously played in Greece in the United States.
On November 9, I was a guest artist at the Francis Poulenc Conservatoire in Tours, France, as a guest of professor Arnaud Juchault. (In planning this tour I had to be careful keeping straight my emails with Arnaud Schotte in Lyon and Arnaud Juchault in Tours!) I enjoyed meeting Professor's Juchault dear family as well as staying in their beautiful country home during my visit.
I started the day in Tours by teaching a warm-up class and then taught an afternoon master class in which most of the conservatory's students played a solo piece or etude for me for feedback. I was especially honored that many of the Tours students had prepared my original compositions to play for me! At the end of the day I coached a trumpet ensemble made up of some of the conservatory's youngest students.
On November 10, I visited the Conservatoire André Messager in Montluçon, France, as a guest of professor Andre Bonnici. I had more free time in Montluçon, and Andre was kind enough to give me a wonderful tour of his charming town. Montluçon could be a Hollywood backlot for a movie set in the 1200s - only it's the real thing! In addition to enjoying the historic town, I also really enjoyed having meals in Andre's home with his dear family.
Andre really organized my visit well and a number of local educators and students from other conservatories attended the day's events, which was organized along the lines of an American "Trumpet Day" type festival. I gave a master class from around 1pm - 6pm and then played a recital at 6:30pm. It was a wonderful day!
It has been such a wonderful opportunity to live, perform, and teach in Europe for this sabbatical. In the upcoming blog post(s), I hope to share some tourist-y things I did apart from the trumpet, as well as share some insights on things I learned on this sabbatical.
Jason Dovel is associate professor of trumpet at the University of Kentucky and a Yamaha Performing Artist. He is host of the annual UK Summer Trumpet Institute held every June in Lexington, KY (USA).