Young Gets Global in Gratz
By Lauren Highfill
Russell Young, associate professor of opera and musical theatre, has experienced art on an international scale this summer. Young returned to Graz, Austria, a historic European town with a view of the southern Alps, as an opera coach for the American Institute of Musical Studies program July 3-Aug.13.
Young first went to AIMS Graz in the 1980s when he was awarded the Gramma Fisher Fellowship, which is given to pianists who show a strong potential for coaching. Although Young is Georgia’s only representative in the program this season, fellow KSU musicians Peter Witte, Jana Young, Allyson Fleck and Robin Johnson have served on the AIMS Graz program in previous years. “I’m honored every year that I’m asked,” Russell Young says.
His experiences in Graz better inform his KSU teaching role because the program is designed for advanced students and professionals of music. Due in part to this European experience, Young knows how to prepare KSU music students for the next step in their careers. “There’s a lot of singing in this program,” Young says. “And people are always congregating and sharing ideas, so you get a lot of instant, cross-section feedback. You also meet with people not just from across the United States but also from Russia and all over Europe.”Young believes studying overseas is especially important for opera students and singers because of the limited number of full-time opera houses in the United States—there are two in the United States compared to 56 just in Germany. Being submersed in European operatic styles can help students launch their professional careers there. “I would love to have some KSU students join me in Graz,” Young says.