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Orchestral Performance - Cancun & Quintana Roo, Mexico

This course is an intense, performance-based endeavor centered around orchestral performance in a wide variety of repertoire. The students enrolled in this course will be the performers in the orchestra which will take place in an established fourteen-day Summer Music Festival, ÓperaMaya. ÓperaMaya produces several events throughout the year including the “ÓperaMaya International Music Festival,” a cultural exchange of musicians from across the globe held the last week of May and first week of June in the Yucatán Peninsula of México. The festival features guest conductors, a festival orchestra, brass, wind, and string ensembles, ensemble(s) in residence, along with special guest performances. It also sponsors emerging artist-and young-artist vocal training programs (YAPs), opera chorus training, and collaborative piano.
During the two-week festival, participants prepare three primary presentations throughout cities in the Yucatán: a concert of classical and popular Mexican orchestral favorites (including one work with voices in the Mayan language), an opera excerpts gala, and chamber music recitals. The Festival has performed in a wide variety of concert venues from modern concert halls and older auditoriums to outdoor amphitheaters and stages built on the beach as well as in local town squares.


While the course is performance based, there is significant time set aside for classroom teaching regarding topics built around musical performance. Some examples include: working with individual sections of the orchestra, repertoire enhancement, intonation and balance issues,
“Rehearsal Spanish” (much of the rehearsal time is in Spanish), career development, etc. The students will also receive coaching in chamber music preparation. Sharpening performance skills in these self-directed chamber ensembles will benefit them in their pursuit of musical performance and pedagogical understanding.


Significant exposure to cultural and historical sites unique to the Yucatan is an added benefit of this course. In previous years, the orchestra has performed at the steps of the magnificent Chichen Itza pyramid and grounds, visited the popular Tulum Mayan ruins, toured a variety of museums, witnessed indigenous musical presentations, and experienced Sian Ka’an, a biosphere preserve. They have also performed in the colonial cities of Mérida and Valladolid which offer a very different atmosphere, architecture, and cultural quality than the tourist-centered beach resort cities. Further importance of their performances in this festival is signified by their presence for high-level local dignitaries including the State Governor, many city mayors, television personalities, and a myriad of local dignitaries. Further exploration of the region often includes the many jungles, beaches, cenotes (fresh-water sinkholes), exotic animals, local cuisine, and exposure to a new language—Mayan—along with immersion in the Spanish language.

Program Summary

Focus: Music

Term: Summer 1

Travel Dates: May 25 - June 8, 2020

Application Deadline: December 1, 2019

Promo video from the Festival

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