Once More, With Feeling
by Ariel Bloomer '13
Dr. Roberto Andreoni has the enthusiasm and exuberance of someone who loves what he teaches. He is fully engaged in the subject matter — a teacher who will stand in front of the classroom and mime Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man or follow a tangential conversation to see what it uncovers.
He is excitedly exploring Southern California as a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Scripps College. Andreoni is spending fall 2010 on campus before returning to Italy, where he is an active composer, a professor of music, and the director of the Institute for International Education of Students (IES) program in Milan. At Scripps, he teaches two classes: “Contemporary Italian Music and Literature,” and “Sacred Music and Spaces in Italy.”
The Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program brings scholars from around the world to teach courses at U.S. colleges and universities for up to one year. The program allows visiting scholars to grow and develop their lecturing skills. In 2009-2010, only 46 institutions received funding.
Andreoni’s presence on campus is the result of the collaboration of two Scripps faculty members, Professor of Italian Sara Adler and Professor of Music Hao Huang. Both were familiar with his work as a composer and his wide-ranging academic interests. They were also aware that a successful Fulbright proposal includes intercultural and interdisciplinary content. Andreoni, who received his MA and PhD in music from UC Berkeley, and who routinely works with American students abroad in Italy, found the fellowship a unique opportunity to create an intercultural experience for Scripps College students at their home institution.
“One of my passions is to communicate,” says Andreoni, who is a resource for the whole Scripps College community. The interdisciplinary aspect of Andreoni’s time on campus is evident in his courses; students are engaged through language, music, literature, and architecture.
Andreoni teaches “Contemporary Italian Music and Literature” in Italian, which challenges both students and Andreoni, who does not normally teach literature. The course is organized with a “treasure hunt mentality,” and the goal is not to know precisely the destination, but to “keep track of all the clues.” Maestro Andreoni believes students of the Internet generation have learning styles that are “less and less linear,” and that this method of learning is also one of the best ways to explore a culture. Like a “creative and intelligent traveler, let yourself be flexible and free to follow up on things that are unexpected,” he says.
“Sacred Music and Spaces in Italy” focuses on the great monumental churches and music of Italy. Both courses attract students from a range of disciplines, but they all bring their “own spirit of observation, aural, visual, and intellectual,” says Andreoni. He hopes to be their guide “through memorable encounters with Italian culture, as Virgil and Beatrice guided Dante through his amazing visions.”
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