During the week of Aug. 21, a delegation made up of Jacobs School of Music faculty members visited Bangkok, Thailand to form new partnerships and share education with various music centers.
The visit was made possible through the IU Association of Southeast Asian Nations Gateway program managed by Peter Boonjarern, director of ASEAN Gateway. Boonjarern assisted in arranging the master classes taught by the visiting faculty at the Royal Bangkok Symphony School, the Piano Academy of Bangkok, Mahidol University and the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music.
Jacobs School of Music Dean Abra Bush led the delegation. Additional faculty included Simin Ganatra, chair of the Strings Department, Norman Krieger, chair of the Piano Department, Émile Naoumoff, professor of music, Brandon Vamos, professor of practice and Assistant Dean Melissa Dickson. The visiting faculty had the chance to teach various masterclasses.
During the weeklong visit, Krieger held master classes for students of varying ages at Mahidol University, the Royal Bangkok Symphony School and the Piano Academy of Bangkok. He additionally held public and private individual classes. Krieger explained how he was moved by the dedication of the students to their musical work.
“Their love of music struck me as so inspiring, at all levels – the 8- and 9-year-old kids that I was teaching as well as the pre-college and college kids,” Krieger said. “They’re all so passionate about music and about improving and working hard. That’s what really struck and inspired me while I was there to give my best as a teacher.”
In the midst of the teaching, Krieger, Ganatra, Vamos and Naoumoff played a public concert on Aug. 24 across the street from the offices of the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, which also showcased local musicians.
The concert featured pieces written by Naoumoff, including a four-hand composition, a waltz and a trio. Krieger described the night as one of unity, with the American ambassador of Thailand, Robert F. Godec, in attendance alongside IU alumni, students and their parents from the faculty's classes and other dignitaries.
“It was a wonderful celebration of music and détente between our two countries, hopefully nurturing the relationship in the future for collaboration and recruitment,” Krieger said.