Arts & Culture

UK School of Music, Ionian University to present free concert as part of cross-cultural exchange program 

UK faculty traveled to Ionian University last fall as part of a cross-cultural exchange program. The Greek faculty will come to UK this March for a free public concert March 18. Photo provided.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 12, 2024) This March, faculty from the University of Kentucky School of Music will be performing a public concert with visiting faculty from Ionian University in Corfu, Greece. The Greek musicians are traveling to Lexington this spring as part of a cross-cultural exchange program, after UK faculty visited Ionian University last fall. 

The program and culminating concert are being made possible through UKinSPIRE (Seeding Partnerships for International Research Engagement), an internal funding opportunity for UK faculty, jointly supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the UK International Center (UKIC). 

Jason Dovel is an associate professor of trumpet and chair of the Division of Winds, Percussion and Jazz in the School of Music. After visiting Greece in the fall, Dovel knew he wanted to continue the cross-cultural partnership with Ionian University.  

UKNow sat down with Dovel to discuss the upcoming faculty visit and concert — and the work it’s taken to make this collaboration possible.  

UKNow: Several faculty from Ionian University are coming to UK this spring as part of an exchange between the institutions. How excited are you for this opportunity? 

Dovel: Having made many trips to Greece over the past three years, I am so excited to welcome my wonderful Greek friends to Lexington for their weeklong residency at UK. They are wonderful performers with a heart for sharing music with students. This is part of a new bilateral partnership between UK and Ionian University, an agreement signed through the UK Provost Office and Ionian’s Office of the Rector. 

UKNow: What type of programming do you have planned for the visiting faculty?  

Dovel: The big concert will be Monday, March 18, 2024 at 8 p.m. in the Singletary Center Concert Hall. It's free and open to the public. All five visiting Greek musicians will collaborate with about 20 UK faculty and student performers from all areas of the School of Music. 
Then, throughout the week, they will give master classes, teach private lessons, lead seminars, as well as share meals with UK faculty and students. We will have brainstorming sessions to cook up new collaborations for next year and the years to come. 

UKnow: What details can you share about the upcoming concert? 

Dovel: The concert will feature voice, strings, woodwind, brass and percussion faculty from the UK School of Music and Ionian University. It will be about 90 minutes long and include both student and faculty performers. Many of the selections from this concert were previously performed in October 2023 in Corfu, when UK music faculty traveled to Greece. At that time, we performed in Ionian University’s Ceremonial Hall, which is located in Ionian’s Academy, the first Greek academic institution established in modern times. 

UKNow: Can you tell me about your involvement in UKinSPIRE? What got you interested in the opportunity?  

Dovel: I have always enjoyed traveling to Greece and have made many musician friends throughout many parts of that country. I took leave from UK in the fall of 2021 to serve as visiting professor of music at Ionian University. By coincidence, on Nov. 10, 2022, Dr. Tim Barnes, UK's executive director of international partnerships, visited Corfu and Ionian University as part of the Pharos Summit 2022.  The folks at Ionian remembered my Kentucky connection, chatted with Tim about it and it prompted him to reach out to me about the possibility of pursuing this project through UKinSpire. I was so lucky that in Spring 2023, I was selected as one of UK’s inaugural class of UKinSPIRE fellows. 

UKNow: How did UKinSPIRE help build a bridge between the talents in Kentucky and Greece?  

Dovel: UKinSPIRE provided funding that contributed to sending eight UK faculty members to Greece in October 2023 and now bringing five Ionian University faculty members from Corfu to Kentucky in March 2024. I also secured funding from the European Union’s Erasmus+ program for this project. 

UKNow: If you had to sum up your trip to Corfu, what was the most impactful part of that trip for you?  

Dovel: The most impactful part is the long-term musical, professional and personal relationships that I have built over three years. 

UKNow: What can School of Music students expect from these visiting faculty?  

Dovel: Students can expect a unique Greek perspective to music making that is highly expressive and engaging. They will also bring a wide range of pedagogical ideas that are quite different from our American way of doing things. 

The concert will take place at 8 p.m. Monday, March 18, at the Singletary Center Concert Hall. More information is available here. 

Read more about Dovel and the other UK faculty members’ trip to Corfu, Greece here. 

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