Arts & Culture

UK Music faculty travel to Greece's Ionian University as part of new exchange


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 14, 2023) — From Oct. 16–20, 2023, eight faculty members from the University of Kentucky School of Music (UK SOM) traveled to Ionian University in Corfu, Greece, to participate in the first full exchange as part of a new bilateral relationship between UK and Ionian University.

Corfu is an island west of mainland Greece and east of Italy. The Ionian Academy, the precursor to Ionian University, was the first Greek academic institution established in modern times.

This trip was made possible when Jason Dovel, associate professor of trumpet, was selected as one of UK’s inaugural class of UKinSPIRE fellows. UKinSPIRE (Seeding Partnerships for International Research Engagement) is intended to stimulate high-impact research projects linking UK faculty and international collaborators.

This specific bilateral relationship began when Jason Dovel spent his 2021 sabbatical teaching at Ionian University. Based on this relationship, he brought UK trumpet students to Corfu in June 2023 as guests of the Mantzaros Philharmonic, organized as a study abroad through UK Education Abroad. The recent October week in Corfu was the third visit of UK SOM faculty to Ionian University in the past two years.

During their week in Corfu, the UK faculty members taught private lessons, presented master classes and workshops, and staged concerts. Their visit was organized by Anastasia Siopsi, head of the music department at Ionian.

The week’s activities culminated in two major concerts:

  • A faculty showcase featuring seven UK SOM faculty in a gala recital was held Thursday night.
  • A collaborative concert featuring UK faculty, Ionian faculty and Ionian students was held Friday night. 

Both concerts were held in Ionian University’s historic Ceremonial Hall.

In addition to concerts, master classes and private lessons, several faculty participated in other endeavors:

  • Benjamin Arnold and Jennifer Campbell presented a musicological lecture on Wednesday night which received media coverage on the local Greek television station.
  • Elizabeth Arnold presented two Mindfullness Seminars, which were well-received by Ionian students and faculty alike.
  • Bradley Kerns organized jazz concerts in local jazz clubs with Ionian faculty and students.
  • Tze-Ying Wu actually participated in a tri-lateral exchange, as she was in Corfu the same time as Fabrizio Scalabrin, a visiting viola professor from Padua, Italy. Wu also coached the Ionian Camerata, a string ensemble led by Professor Spyros Gikontis.

During their visit, they also held meetings with Ionian University’s rector, cabinet and music department leadership, and planned further collaborations to strengthen the bilateral relationship.

The next phase of the exchange will be in Spring 2024, when the UK School of Music welcomes several of their contacts from Ionian University to Lexington as guest artists on UK’s campus. Future collaborations include summer programming in 2024.

The eight UK SOM faculty participating in the October residency included:

  • Jason Dovel (trumpet) is an associate professor of trumpet at UK, and chair of the Division of Winds, Percussion, and Jazz.
  • Tze-Ying Wu (viola) is an assistant professor of viola and string education at UK and director the UK String Project.
  • Ben Arnold (piano and musicology) is a professor of musicology.
  • Elizabeth Packard Arnold (soprano and Mindfulness) is a professor of voice at UK.
  • Bradley Kerns (trombone and jazz studies) is an associate professor of trombone at UK.
  • Jacob Coleman (piano) is an associate professor of piano at UK.
  • Ethan Young (cello) is a part-time UK instructor and cello director for the UK String Project.
  • Jennifer L. Campbell (music theory) is an assistant professor of music theory.

The School of Music at UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, and theory and music history. 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.