It’s not every day that you hear about a teacher skipping school for a European trip, but Dr. Elise Yun is doing exactly that. Yun is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music and a staff accompanist and piano instructor at Willamette University, but this fall she will be the student, thanks to a grant sponsored by the Oregon Arts Commission. Her passion for teaching students and for learning support the commission’s effort to bring culture to Oregon.
Oregon Arts Commission was established in 1967 to foster the arts in Oregon and ensure their excellence. Nine commissioners appointed by the Governor determine policies, establish long-range plans, and review applications to grants programs to determine funding levels. Yun applied for the grant by writing a proposal for her research and submitting a recording of one of her performances.
Yun will be using the time to research and play French piano music. “Both Phillipe Biros and Jacques Rouvier were recommended to me as pianists- teachers who are internationally known for their interpretation of French music,” says Yun.
As a child, Yun showed interest in the piano. “When I was around 10 years old, I began learning Debussy’s Children’s Corner piano pieces and was hooked on French music. When we could elect a foreign language in school, I chose French,” she says.
She’ll be staying in Paris for three months, living at the Cite’ Internationale des Arts, an artists’ colony in the heart of Paris. She’s visited Paris briefly in the past, but this opportunity allows her to stay for an extended period of a time. It’s a dream come true for her.
“I am looking forward to immersing myself in the study of the music and the language culminating in two duet recitals in Paris. In addition, all the concerts, the museums, the architecture, the ambiance, and of course the food, are overwhelmingly delicious!”
“Paris is always an exciting place for me – its beauty and elegance inspire me every time I am here. Everyday there is a new place to explore, a new pastry to taste, a concert to attend. Even the changing light outside of my window that faces Notre Dame is a marvel,” Yun says.
Yun considers herself a lifetime student. “A large part of my job at Willamette entails accompanying–coaching students for lessons and recitals. I also have a piano studio in Salem. I hope to bring back what I learned about French music and the language to my students. French music is challenging for students to grasp, because aesthetically it is very different from the Germanic tradition,” she says.
Yun’s goals are to continue to grow as a musician through research and performances. “I then can give much more to my students,” she says. “When I perform, I hope to communicate my understanding of French music.”