Summer Experience: Greek piano festival opportunity to experience past, present at same time

Jiamo-2

Jiamo Zhang, other BGSU CMU students gain valuable insights at Corfu Summer Piano Festival

By Jiamo Zhang
Master of Music,
piano performance

This summer I attended the Summer Piano Institute at Ionian University in Corfu, Greece. Several other Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts piano students participated in the festival, as well as Drs. Robert Satterlee and Solungga Liu from our piano faculty.

The coordinator of the festival, Dr. Andreas Xenopoulos, did a wonderful job running the program. We had the opportunity to practice, take lessons and perform, while also touring the city and having leisure time. Participants didn’t need to worry about anything other than learning and having fun! The students and faculty at Ionian University were very welcoming. They provided us with free transportation to and from the airport, helped us around campus and took us to the best beaches. I made some great new friends!

Corfu, Greece, is a place where you can experience the past and present at the same time. The entire city retains most of the old architecture from centuries ago, but the interior designs are modern and comfortable. Corfu has two gigantic fortresses that were built in the 16th and 17th centuries. The older fortress is now rebuilt into Ionian University, where we held the piano festival. We had the opportunity to tour a local soap factory, which is one of the oldest in Europe. It still maintains the traditional methods of soap production. This soap shop is a wonderful living museum of Corfu’s cultural heritage.

I learned that Greeks live a leisurely life! Often events began later than scheduled, restaurants and bars stayed open late, and swimming and sunbathing are a part of everyday life. The locals love snacks, and the food at every restaurant was unique and delicious.

The evening of our final performance, all the students and faculty went out to dinner to celebrate the successful closing of the festival. We shared our memories and feedback with the organizers. I was touched by the beautiful experience this piano festival brought to pianists from around the world. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this program.