Published: May 14, 2021 By
Foreground: Composer Jake Heggie (left) and librettist Gene Scheer (right).

From opera to heavy metal to conducting to wellness, the College of Music is poised to teach and support diverse creative interests during Summer Session.

On the heels of a challenging academic landscape due to pandemic conditions, we're pleased to again present a variety of summer study programs designed to enrich your academic journey and teach you something new every day. Note: Stay informed about current COVID-19 protocols.

CU New Opera Workshop (CU NOW)

After a hiatus in 2020, the CU NOW PRO and Composer Fellows’ Initiative are back for what Opera Production Assistant Christie Conover teases as “the most sensational summer, yet, in our 10-plus year history!”

Participants in the CU NOW PRO program will take part in the workshopping of world-renowned composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s new opera, "Intelligence," before its premiere at the Houston Grand Opera in the fall. An historically based depiction of Black heroism, "Intelligence" tells the story of spies during the Civil War. 

“The workshop will be sung by CU Boulder student singers with three guest singers—alumnus Aaron Jenkins plus rising opera stars Jasmine Habersham and Raehann Bryce-Davis,” says Conover. “As a bonus this summer, the HGO 'Intelligence' stage director [celebrated dancer/choreographer Jawole Zollar] will bring Urban Bush Women dancers for a residency during CU NOW to prepare for the HGO premiere.”

As for the Composer Fellows’ Initiative, students will develop three pieces written by four students mentored by Heggie and Scheer. “All three scenes will be stage directed by CU Boulder favorite Bud Coleman and performed by four student singers fully produced with piano in ATLAS B2,” Conover explains. “The full engagement of the Composition and Opera areas, plus collaboration among the three department faculty members [composition, opera and theatre], will lead to an invaluable experience for all students involved.”

Conducting Symposia

For aspiring conductors, the College of Music’s Conducting Symposia offers the opportunity to learn techniques and rehearsal strategies from CU Boulder faculty and guest teachers. The college is proud to provide two symposia to program participants: Wind Band Conducting and Orchestral Conducting. 

“Participants will have the opportunity to conduct an orchestra and receive feedback from clinicians,” says Director of Orchestral Studies and Chair of the Conducting Studies department Gary Lewis. “This summer, Larry Livingston—noted conductor and head of the Conducting Department at the Thornton School—will join us as a clinician.”

Summer piano programs

High School Summer Music Academy: Piano

The High School Summer Music Academy’s piano program will offer aspiring young pianists an extraordinary educational opportunity to build both confidence and piano skills. In addition to taking private lessons from the college's accomplished faculty members, the piano program hosts distinguished music professionals from across the country to conduct master classes and provide tips on practicing, technique and sight-reading.

Youth Piano Program

For piano players of all levels, high school-aged or younger, our Youth Piano Program is the perfect platform for them to improve their skills and technique. Over the summer, students will enjoy flexible lesson scheduling, and can choose to take between six and 14 lessons. Instructors are experienced teachers from the College of Music, providing training for classical and popular pieces, reading music, healthy techniques, ear training, music theory and performance opportunities.

Alexander Technique 

Musicians' Wellness Program Director James Brody has designed an interactive online experience featuring a wide range of guest practitioners. Beginning July 5, the 26th Annual Summer Alexander Technique Program will place particular emphasis on musicians' mental health. 

Psychotherapist Matthew Tomatz will present daily touchpoints for tuning musicians’ mental health. As well, Dr. Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk from the opera program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham will guide Koru mediation practices; and the Alexander Technique Program’s long-standing team—Amy Likar, Ed Bilanchone and Brody—will lead T'ai chi and Qigong practices, the Body Mapping process and Alexander Technique sessions.

Check back next week for a Q&A with James Brody.

Summer MME

For music education students interested in pursuing graduate studies, the College of Music’s Summer MME program provides a personalized, flexible degree plan. Our faculty work with students at different levels on their way to earning a master's degree in music education, and advisors help students design flexible degree plans that allow them to select a combination of coursework and independent study to achieve their master's in a timely manner. 

Throughout the summer, students will complete 12 hours of study in music education, 12 hours in music and six hours' open electives covering topics in choral and instrumental ensemble conducting, musicology and technology. Additional music education electives include pedagogical practices, curriculum and assessment to prepare future K-12 teachers for careers.

Summer Session

Students pursuing undergraduate degrees can choose among a variety of classes over the summer, as well as continue applied lessons with regular College of Music faculty. Whether you’re looking to fulfill certain electives or satiate your curiosity about something new, there's a class for every interest. 

For example, Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology Austin Okigbo will teach "Music and Global Health," empowering students to embark on a cultural exploration and study of music in the context of health. 

“Given that music as an expressive medium through which people articulate their lived experiences—including health and disease—class discussions will uncover the different ways in which music may reveal how people respond to these conditions,” Okigbo says. “This approach to the study of music and health will allow us to further probe some of the social and cultural factors that may have impacted America and the world’s responses to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Meanwhile, Music Theory and Composition Instructor Mike Barnett will offer three summer courses, including "Heavy Metal," "Introduction to Songwriting" and "Music in the Rock Era." Barnett—a heavy metal performer and composer himself—will also provide personal insights into this genre.

In "Music in the Rock Era," Barnett hopes to provide students with an appreciation of rock-oriented popular music from the 1960s to 2000. “We'll trace the development of Rock as an art form, as well as its cultural significance and saturation,” he says. “The topics we’ll cover will be approached primarily from musical and cultural standpoints, but also from philosophical, sociological, psychological and political standpoints.”


Summer 2021 schedule

7 things to do this summer besides work

Things to know about living in Boulder this summer