A world of opportunities for music students

Professor of music Rebecca Burkhardt is conducting the Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra during their spring break performances in Brazil.

Brazil trip
Some of the NISO members after listening to and/or performing in the NISO Brazil Tour Chamber Ensemble Concert.

The chamber music ensemble, and 56 additional members of the Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra, are finding music to be a universal language while performing in Caxias do Sul, Brazil.

Many people head south to warmer climates during spring break. Sixty student members of the Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra (NISO), four School of Music faculty and one alumna went way, way south to perform with the Orchestra Sinfônica de Universidade de Caxias do Sul (OSUCS).

"The NISO takes a major tour every four years to expose students to different cultures and ways of making music, while also performing great music," said Burkhardt.

Boehmer said this is the first time UNI students have gone to Brazil to perform with the university orchestra. Three of the four faculty members (Burkhardt, Julia Bullard and Amanda McCandless) have previously traveled to and performed with the orchestra; this is the first performance trip to Brazil for fourth faculty member Heather Peyton.

NISO members will perform in chamber music ensembles for the OSUCS students. In turn, the Brazilian music students will interact with UNI students through a jazz improvisation session and by demonstrating Brazilian percussion techniques.

"The opportunity to repeat performances while on tour is an extremely valuable one for young musicians," said Burkhardt. "It allows them to deepen their relationship with the music through expression and technical growth."

Although they're just a few days into their trip, senior music education major Kayla Becker said she's already benefitting from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"To be able to go to another country where a different language is spoken and yet still be able to collaborate on Gustav Mahler's massive work 'Symphony No. 1' is truly amazing," she said. "I think I can speak on behalf of everyone in the orchestra when I say that we are thankful for this opportunity to make wonderful music with the hospitable people of the University of Caxias do Sul Symphony Orchestra."

The trip to Brazil is supported by UNI's School of Music, College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, Office of the Provost, Office of the President, NISO benefactors and by student contributions.

See the NISO in action at UNI's Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center prior to their trip to Brazil: www.facebook.com/pages/Northern-Iowa-Symphony-Orchestra/128719461151.

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