Summer is Here

The first week of June has ended, and the days are becoming incredibly long in the Nordic region while the academic year is finally drawing to a close. Today, one of the doctoral students who I have worked with in Helsinki this year Ari Poutiainen was awarded his doctoral degree at Sibelius Academy for successfully defending a dissertation entitled Stringprovisation: A Fingering Strategy for Jazz Violin Improvisation. The dissertation is now published on the Acta Musicologica Fennica Series, as volume 28 (Finnish Musicological Society, ISSN 0587-2448). According to the external reviewer, Norwegian violinist Dr. Stig Roar Wigestrand, there appears to have never before been such a thorough study on the topic of jazz violin technique. I think this dissertation also effectively demonstrates the possibilities of artistic research as a methodological approach in the field of music.

For the rest of this summer I will be advising Arnold Chiwalala and Tapani Heikinheimo as they also make the final revisions to their doctoral dissertations in order to graduate from Sibelius Academy in September 2009, and I anticipate some of my doctoral students from Boston University finishing shortly as well.

I am leaving Finland soon to give lectures in Belfast and London, followed by a summer-long research residency at Nichibunken in Kyoto, Japan. The trip to the UK is sponsored by a grant from the QUB Internationalization Fund, acquired and coordinated by Suzel Ana Reily at Queen's University, Belfast. Above is a photograph taken by my sister Christina the last time I was in the UK, which was surprisingly bright in April (hence the squinting). On that trip, I presented a paper at the Research in Music Education (RIME) conference in Exeter, with the kind support of the Martta Sihvola Foundation. After that conference we very briefly visited Buckingham Palace, which contains many iconic reminders of the complicated legacy of colonialism, but the palace gardens were quite impressive, which is where this photo was taken. I am eager to visit the UK again, and look forward to talking with several very interesting music scholars there, including Suzel Ana Reily, Trevor Herbert, and Lucy Green.

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