Two Houghton College Greatbatch School of Music students, Nathaniel Efthimiou, pursuing a Bachelor of Music, and Robbie Stitt, pursuing his Master of Music, traveled to Croatia this past summer to the town of Milna on the island of Brac with the UPBEAT International Summer School composition program for two weeks.
This program strives to encourage young musicians of all levels and ages to develop their musical skills. It is “a school without walls,” since there is no official building for the school, but rehearsals and classes are held in homes, public places and even an abandoned cinema.
Students composed a piece before arriving in Croatia, where they rehearsed each other’s pieces. “This provided not only insight into composition from a composer’s perspective, but also from a performer’s perspective,” Efthimiou said.
“Students come from all over the world to study with teachers who have mastered their musical art, such as violin, cello, flute or composition,” Stitt said.
The two also participated in classes, which involved lessons on improvisation, score study and pursuing a career as a composer. “Meeting other composers from around the world and getting to play their music was fantastic,” Stitt said. “Much of what we learned during the class time has really been influencing my work recently.”
Nathaniel Efthimiou ’14 is from Delhi, N.Y. Following graduation he is planning to travel more and continue to expand his knowledge of music.
Robbie Stitt ’14 is from Lancaster, Pa. He received his bachelor’s degree in piano and Spanish from the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Following graduation, Stitt will pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition.