Monday, November 22, 2021

Sabbatical Story, Part 1: Corfu and First Tour

In Fall 2021, I was granted sabbatical leave from the University of Kentucky to serve as Visiting Professor of Trumpet at Ionian University in Corfu, Greece. I am so grateful for this opportunity and thankful for UK administrators who support important professional development projects. (Thank you Dr. Pelkey and Dean Shanda.)

Corfu is a Greek island that lies west of mainland Greece and east of Italy. Ionian University is located in "Old Town" Corfu, and the Department of Music Studies itself is located on the historical Old Fortress grounds. I can not imagine a more scenic place for music study!

View of the Old Fortress in Old Town Corfu, with the Ionian University music building circled in red
Restaurants along Old Town Corfu's famous Spianáda Square

Harbor just a short walk northwest of the Old Fortress. Sea is the Ionian Sea, mountains in background are mountains of mainland Greece

Standing on the south side of the Old Fortress (music building on opposite site)

Ionian University did not begin courses until the first week of October. So, prior to departing for Greece, I played four solo recitals in the United States: at the University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky University, Arkansas State University, and University of North Texas. (If you'd like to take a listen, the livestream capture from the WKU recital is still available online here)

With my friend Dr. Sarah Herbert, Professor of Trumpet at Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, KY)
With University of North Texas professor Dr. Raquel Samayoa and UNT students (Denton, Texas)
With students at Arkansas State University (Jonesboro, Arkansas)

After my recital tour, I flew from Lexington to Athens, Greece. Prior to starting my service at Ionian University, I had a wonderful time catching up with my Greek friends that I had met in previous trips to Greece.
Lunch near Athens with Gerassimos Ioannidis, George & Mirto Babarakos

After a brief visit in Athens, I flew to the island of Corfu and got settled in my apartment, which is located near the New Fortress. (The music department is about a 10-minute walk away, by the Old Fortress)
View of Old Town Corfu from the perspective of the New Fortress

At Ionian University, I have enjoyed teaching weekly trumpet lessons to the ten trumpet students, weekly studio classes, and also guest lectures in other courses, especially music composition courses. In these other courses, have taught about extended techniques, early music, and how to compose and arrange for trumpet and other brass instruments.

Jason Dovel with trumpet students at Ionian University

Standing by the entrance to the Ionian University Department of Music Studies
Inside the Ionian University Music Dept
Ionian University trumpet studio class

Students Prodromos Vourliotis and Xristina Livana perform during studio class (by coincidence, they both in high school studied with George Babarakos, my longtime Greek friend who I met for lunch in Athens in the earlier picture above)
Dinner with the Ionian University trumpet studio

The students at Ionian University are very eager to learn and have been great to interact with.  The repertoire they bring to their lessons is largely the same materials you would find in an American trumpet studio: Long tones by Vincent Cichowicz and Bai Lin, Charlier etudes, Concerti by Haydn and Hummel, as well as sonatas by Hansen, Kennan, etc.

On Wednesday, November 3, 2021, at 7:30pm, I played a faculty trumpet recital at Ionian University. The university press release for this event can be found here. This was the first live concert in the Ionian Academy's Ceremonial Hall in 18 months!

With students following my IU trumpet recital.

I am really enjoying my sabbatical so far and plan to share "the rest of the story" on this blog in the near future. More coming soon, stay tuned!

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).

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