Although written in Italian, the language of music is powerful enough
to bridge cultural gaps. Seven students from The University of Southern
Mississippi's School of Music discovered this last October when
they were allowed to conduct the Italian Army Band.
Part of the
university's second international conducting workshop, the trip
gave student conductors and musicians the opportunity to spend a
week in Rome training with 85 professional band members courtesy
of the Italian government. The workshop ended in a concert performance
by the Army band, with the student conductors taking the lead.
is a wonderful experience for our students - a life changing experience,"
said Dr. Thomas Fraschillo, director of bands at Southern Miss.
"We're the only university in the United States doing anything
like this in Italy."
the only Italian-speaking member of the Southern Miss entourage,
acted as the go-between when language issues arose between the musicians
and conductors. But doctoral student Jeff Mathews said that differences
in language weren't a problem. After all, with most musical terms
written in Italian, the students and musicians were often on the
the language of music is Italian, there are enough commonalities
that you could communicate with the band," said Mathews, a
music teacher at Northwestern State. "If we needed to express
another idea, we had Dr. Fraschillo there and the Army band conductor."
The trip, which
offers academic credit and is scheduled again for next Oct. 4-11
in Rome, is by invitation only. Fraschillo and Dr. Steven Moser,
associate director of bands, invite "only those who can give
the very best impression of Southern Miss and are truly mature enough
to learn from the experience," Fraschillo said.
who made the trip this semester were Brian Scott, (MM), Anya Harper
(MMEd), Joyce McCall (BMEd), Chris Pickens (BMEd), Chris London
(BM) and Perry Lawley (BMEd).
between Southern Miss and the Italian government was possible through
relationships established by Fraschillo. The 20-year Southern Miss
veteran was recently awarded a prize of 5,000 euro by the Italian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs for contributing toward the spread of
important Italian musical texts in English-speaking nations. Fraschillo
won the award for his translation of the 20th-century work on the
orchestration of Alessandro Casella and Vittorio Mortari, titled
La tecnica dell'orchestra contempranea, or "Technique of Contemporary
literature are given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on an annual
basis according to the worthiness of texts submitted that are either
published in Italy by Italian publishers or published in other countries
with Italian publishers. Such prizes for scholarly works are given
through a juried process by the ministry's panel of Italian professors
to encourage the understanding of Italian literary and intellectual
of Contemporary Orchestration is Fraschillo's second book translated
from Italian to English. The first was called Instrumentation Studies
for Band by Alessandro Vessella, published by the Milan-based publishing
giant BMG Ricordi.
started his first work of translation while on sabbatical, during
which time he "brushed up on Italian" taking classes at
Southern Miss. "After that they were interested in my doing
other books, so I thought, 'Why not an entire series?'" he
is currently working on his third book of Italian translation, which
will be published jointly by the University of Illinois Press and