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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

O’Donnell Hall hosts musicians from abroad

Photo by Wire Stock Photo O’Donnell housed Italian musicians when they came here for the first time last April as part of the International Music Program.

Students from renowned conservatories across Italy are staying in O’Donnell Hall until Feb. 23. The students are here as part of the International Music Program, and they performed with the Marquette Symphony Orchestra Feb. 19.

The 15 students are being housed in the previously unused wing on the northwest section of the first floor. According to O’Donnell Director Jennifer Roche, the vacant wing was last used over the summer to house conference attendees. The students were given the same conference packages which featured linens and various amenities.

“We kind of go from residence hall mode to hotel mode,” Roche said. “We’re always very pleased to host these students. We try to make them feel like part of the community. They’re in our Batcave (the basement at O’Donnell), and they’re interacting with residents.”

O’Donnell housed the students when they came here for the first time last April as part of the International Music Program. The program reached Marquette when Italian conductor Maestro Filippo Salemmi visited with Dr. Erik Janners, the conductor of the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, in spring of 2015. According to Janners, Salemmi was leading a similar program at Carroll University in Waukesha when he reached out to Marquette.

The International Music Program has grown to include universities such as Marquette, Carroll, University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin and Stanford. The program will also allow Janners to take a group of Marquette students to Italy in July.

The program allows Marquette’s string orchestra to perform alongside Salemmi’s wind ensemble.

“The preparation wasn’t too difficult,” Janners said. “We sent them PDFs of the pieces we would be playing in advance so they would have time to rehearse. Mostly, our rehearsals this week were getting everyone on the same tempos.”

The concert featured the conducting of both Janners and Salemmi, leading students to adapt to the nuances of both conductors.

“The big difference is that Maestro Salemmi is really expressive,” said freshman viola player Amy Harrigan. “He’s also more of a perfectionist.”

Harrigan says that the opportunity to play with a wind ensemble adds an entirely different sound to the compositions.

“It helps that they’re all super talented,” Harrigan said. “There weren’t many language barriers, either. Dr. Janners knows enough Italian to communicate, and Maestro Salemmi speaks fluent English.”

While language barriers were not an issue, the transition was not easy for the visiting students.

“It’s an interesting period, but also tiring,” said wind ensemble player Antonio Criscuolo. “We do music all day. It’s fun, but there’s a seven-hour time difference. It’s afternoon here, but it’s the middle of the night there. It’s fine now, but it was a struggle when we got here.”

Despite the time difference, the students are getting rare opportunities to experience American culture. This includes a trip to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Saturday.

“We did a four- to five-hour analysis of all the pieces,” Criscuolo said. “We’re really enjoying the American people. The food, the schools, the culture is just very different.”

After the students stay in O’Donnell, they will be going for another ten-day trip to Stanford University for a similar engagement.

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