MANSFIELD, PA – Vienna, Austria is known as the “City of Music.” Its relationship to music is described as being like a love song that has been interpreted by many famous composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert.
In August, two music faculty members from Commonwealth University’s Mansfield campus were awarded the opportunity to perform in the “city of music.” Drs. Alissa Rose, professor of voice, and Christine Moulton, professor of flute, performed in the 10th International Congress of Voice Teachers at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
Rose and Moulton performed with the Manhattan Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, a quartet consisting of Rose, soprano; Moulton, flute; Gary Schultheis, bassoon, and Richard Auldon Clark, viola. Clark composed the piece performed at the conference; a work inspired by the settings of poems by American poet Robert Frost.
“Mansfield is fortunate to have talented faculty like Drs. Rose and Moulton who bring a great wealth of experience and knowledge to the classroom each day,” said Bashar W. Hanna, president of Commonwealth University. “Our students are the beneficiaries of their talent and skills.”
Vienna’s history could be a challenge when performing a new piece, explained Moulton. “The musical history of Vienna is awe-inspiring. We stayed on a street just a few doors down from where Beethoven used to live. There are also Schubert, Mozart, Mahler… some of the most well-known composers in history. Because, or in spite of that, there is less openness to new music in Vienna,” Moulton said.
“One of the satisfying connections we made here was with a music faculty member who wants to give joint concerts of new music written by living composers in both Austria and the United States, to open the eyes and ears of the Viennese audiences who are so attached to the old masters,” Moulton added. “We were happy to be a part of that and our piece was very well received by the audience.”
The concert in Vienna was not Rose’s first concert abroad having lived in Germany for several years in the early 2000s. “The experience of performing abroad doesn’t feel that different, however performing in different languages in the countries where they are spoken certainly does,” Rose said. “The biggest difference for me is the experience of traveling itself and experiencing different cultures and the histories of the places I perform.”
“I spent several years in Germany with trips to the surrounding areas and loved spending the time to get to know the country and the culture. I also had a gig for a few summers in the Alps in Switzerland and the beauty of the surrounding area was the highlight there. I got the job offer to teach in Mansfield when I was on my way to Israel and that trip allowed me to visit many historical sites I would never have seen otherwise and it was a fascinating experience,” explained Rose.
Moulton’s musical career started at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York before continuing in various music conservatories: the Boston Conservatory to finish her undergraduate degree, and the Manhattan School of Music for her master’s degree. She completed her doctoral studies at Rutgers University.
Rose has two undergraduate degrees: one in biochemistry from Oberlin College, and one in music performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She also received a diploma from the Hochschule fur Musik Detmold in Germany, her Master of Music from Rice University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan.
Moulton has taught at Mansfield for 18 years. “What I enjoy most about teaching here is the opportunity to guide and cultivate a young musician technically and mentally to a place where the music expression becomes bigger than the individual,” Moulton said. “That transcendence is what most performers and audiences yearn for. Our students are generally open and eager to find that level of technique and expression.”
Rose, who has taught at Mansfield for 14 years, said she loves building relationships with her students, while helping them become the musicians they want to be. “My favorite thing about teaching here is the variety we have in our students, both in terms of preparation and goals, and the opportunity to expose them to new ideas and watch them grow.”
The integration of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities under the banner of Commonwealth University is a bold investment in the communities and people of Pennsylvania. Our mission is to expand high-quality, affordable academic opportunities to support the needs of all learners. We’re building a powerful tomorrow by boldly changing the trajectory of public higher education to position ourselves for growth, increased access, and to meet economic and workforce development needs. Together we’re honoring our history, investing in today, and building a powerful tomorrow. That’s the power of three.