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Alumni Reviews

"As a music student at New York University, I can whole-heartedly say that my time in Prague was the most rewarding, valuable, and enlightening of all my semesters here. My entire personal outlook would be forever changed had I not attended this program.

The courses in Prague were equal, if not better than, those offered at the Washington Square Campus thanks to the city's rich Romantic history. The class sizes were small, making it much easier to attend field trips, have class discussions, and to bond with professors over course materials. In my four short months there I was able to visit numerous galleries, participate in a "soundwalk", enjoy museums, attend a contemporary music concert (that the Prague music faculty was heavily involved with), experience Don Giovanni in the same opera house that premiered in, and perform a concert with my peers of both original and cover music compositions.

I was astounded not only by the faculty's ability to foster musical originality in the students, but by the facilities as well. While the two school buildings have only two rooms equipped with pianos, the Osadni dorm is filled with musical instruments that would go to waste without music students there to breathe life into them. I wrote some of my most passionate and evolved pieces in those practice rooms, and I have the professors, RAs, and staff of the Prague study abroad program to thank for those opportunities."

I can talk for hours about how great my experience in Prague was, thanks in large part to you and the rest of the wonderful faculty who cared so deeply about giving us the best education possible and creating such a strong community. I count both my studies with Michal Rataj and my internship with Faust to be among my best musical experiences to date. With Michal I explored spectral composition and the possibilities that exist in the combination of electronic and acoustic sounds, and had the opportunity to experiment for the first time with a live sound installation. At Faust, among other things, I had the opportunity to record, edit, and mix Gary Lucas and the Czech Philharmonic string quartet.

What I was able to see of the music and art scene in Prague was fascinating and quite unique, and the couple nights I got to dance to Moravian folk music gave me a whole different view of what "traditional" music means -- young and old people dancing together to the music that everyone knows and loves, and having a blast! The city of Prague itself is so beautiful, ancient, and intricately layered, and so different from the places I had lived before, that I found a great deal of new artistic inspiration simply from walking around and taking it all in. Also taking Czech language classes opened my ears to a lot of new sounds and new ways of thinking about sounds (long vs. short vowels, for instance, and that pesky ř...).

The community that formed in Prague amongst all the music students across a very diverse range of backgrounds and interests was fantastic, and led to opportunities for collaboration far outside the networks that usually form here at the NYC campus -- I will always remember late night Osadní practice room sessions in which we would talk through ideas for pieces, jam, critique, and help each other push through our writer's block.

In short, I loved the program!

As a music business student at NYU in Prague in 2010, I had an unforgettable experience that in my eyes would be very hard to replicate in any other city. Prague is world renowned for the works of classical composers like Dvorak and Smetana among others. Learning music history in a city home to composers like these, opera houses, symphony halls, and classical architecture reminiscent of the times we were learning about is incredibly unique.

The professors and program in the academic center were excellent and I was more engaged then I had been in Washington Square while taking my music classes there. The level of support provided in Prague was also amazing, with our professors providing a level of mentorship and service above and beyond their job descriptions.

In addition to my experiences in class, another reason I think Prague is the perfect city for a music business student is because of the active nightlife. As a musician and DJ, I had more opportunities to play out at clubs and venues then I'd ever had in New York.

"-My music history class on 20th-century music was, by far, the best music history class I took at NYU, and the one in which I learned the most. My professor, Tereza Havelkova, was both extremely knowledgeable and went above and beyond what would be considered "required" of a professor. I remember at one point she organized a class trip to hear a contemporary piece of music.

-Concert tickets in Prague are very, very cheap. It was possible for me to afford more classical music concerts than I am able to in New York. I will never forget the thrill of hearing Don Giovanni at the opera house where it was premiered.

-As a classical musician who also plays jazz, it was possible for me to join a jazz ensemble in Prague (something that is very difficult to do in New York; the main obstacle being that there are already plenty of pianists in the jazz program).

-I remember that the NYU-organized trip to Brno included a visit to Janacek's house, an experience that fascinated me and that I was very grateful for.

-I recall that young people in Prague are generally knowledgeable about and appreciative of classical music. The RA's I met in Prague were generally eager to talk to me about what I did as a classical pianist. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who expressed a genuine adoration of Dvorak, for instance.

-The opportunity to perform at Palffy Palace, graciously organized by my teacher Martin Vojtisek, was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

These are just a few things that immediately come to mind. I would happily write a longer and more coherent defense of the quality of the musical experience in Prague if you think it would be at all useful. My four months spent in Prague unquestionably changed my life."

"To put it frankly, my semester in Prague and my involvement with NYU's music program there was one of the most influential things I experienced in life so far.

It was there that some of my closest friends and I started to get serious about performing, writing and rehearsing together, and ultimately, it was there that I became more confident in myself as a mostly self-taught musician amongst several seasoned performance majors.

The program was inclusive enough to allow a non-major like myself to take part in an ensemble of my choosing, and to benefit from the space and resources there at Osadni.

The hours I put in there were where I really started to think I could pursue music for a period in my life.

And sure enough, in the years since, I've been doing just that - paying my bills as a professional musician in the city, now a part of several different working bands.  I even had the opportunity to go back to Europe and tour three times in the last two years.  I've been very lucky along the way and had several positive musical experiences since, but I'll always remember my time there in Prague as the beginnings of the belief in myself to actually go for a dream. "

"The thing that stands out the most to me about the program is how much work I could tell you were putting into it to make it both an educational and fulfilling experience for us. Osadni practice space, as well as the various rehearsal rooms throughout the dorm, was perfect, and our band at the time experienced a lot of growth both personally and professionally there. I specifically remember that our time in Prague seemed to solidify us, not just as professional musicians, but also as friends and young adults."

"For me, studying in Prague in the Fall of 2006 was one of the most incredible and inspiring experiences I had while studying music at Steinhardt. As a composition student, I found Prague to be the ideal place to expand my music education by immersing myself in a culture that was once home to some of the greatest composers. Some of my most memorable experiences in the program included watching an anniversary performance of Don Giovanni on the anniversary of its premiere in the actual opera house where the premiere took place, going to concerts at the State Opera House, playing classical and jazz music at multiple venues around the city, both as part of school performances and in collaboration with my private composition instructor, and working in the Faust recording studio with local composers and song writers as part of an internship. These opportunities were facilitated in a huge way by Marta, whose leadership over the program was ever present. Her personal investment in the experience of students studying in the program was especially touching, and I remember feeling like everything I might need—from scheduling classes, to getting concert recommendation, to getting set up with a private teacher that suited my specific interests as an aspiring jazz / theater composer—was always easily available to me through Marta's hard work and dedication. More than six years later, I am living and working as a musician and composer in Europe, and I owe that to my experience at NYU in Prague in a huge way. The city and the program introduced me to the culture of music in Europe where I eventually realized I belonged, and to this day I find myself returning to Prague whenever I want to be in the spiritual center of that culture."

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