During the week of July 10th, REEEC visited Urbana Fine Arts Center’s annual summer camp to give presentations on Russian language, dance, and music. On Wednesday, Nadia Hoppe, PhD candidate in the Slavic Department, and Stephanie Chung, Outreach and Programming Coordinator of REEEC and also a PhD candidate in the Slavic Department, introduced the summer camp participants to the Russian alphabet. The summer camp participants, who ranged from ages 6-8, then learned how to write their names in Russian script. On Friday, Hoppe returned to give a presentation on Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird. After learning about the Firebird in Russian folklore and watching several productions of the ballet, ranging from Margot Fonteyn’s 1954 performance to a contemporary performance in Mariinsky Theater, the campers enjoyed a Firebird mask craft.
On 9 October, 2014, the Russian, East European and Eurasian Center was visited by world renowned, Slovenian trombonist and composer Vinko Globokar. Globokar composes in the French avant-garde style and is noted for his use of unconventional and extended techniques. His music is spontaneous, creative and often requires improvisation. His music is famous amongst experimental music circles. He emigrated to Yugoslavia in 1947.
This event was an informal discussion for REEEC faculty and students. In this talk Globokar explained that his father emigrated to France in 1925 to work in the mines. His father had no education to speak of but wanted to be able to provide an education for both Globokar and his sister.
Globokar discussed that at a young age, his father sent him away to a boarding school. At the age of 13, he told the group, he discovered his passion for music and decided that he wanted to play trumpet. Since he had no money for a trumpet, a man he met while looking for a trumpet presented him with a trombone. Thus his musical career and love for the trombone began.
When asked about why he composes in the avant-garde style he explained that after World War II there were only two classes of music–avant-garde and post modernism. He described avant garde music as music that is experimental and allows one to make mistakes, whereas post modernism copies historical music. Globokar said that he chose the avant-garde style due to its experimental nature.
Something very interesting he discussed was the way he composes music. Unlike many composers, he said he does not hear the music in his head when he is writing scores. He said that he first writes a story and then writes scores based on the different kinds of plots he creates. This style of writing is very organic and fits quite well with his experimental, avant-garde style of music. He did say, however, that he did not always play and write in the avant-garde styel. He discussed that as a young man he played in a few jazz “big bands,” especially right after World War II when such bands were so popular in Europe. He said that his style changed and evolved as he himself grew and evolved as a person. He expressed that he ultimately chose the avant-garde style because, fittingly, as he experimented as a person, he could experiment in his music.
Bethany Wages is a graduate student in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her current focus of study is History. She received her B.A. in Honors/History and English Literature in 2014 at Wright State University.