GENEVA, N.Y.-Robert Cowles, associate professor of music at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, has received a prestigious 10-month Fulbright award to study in Estonia. He and his family will spend the next academic year there, where Cowles will teach at the Estonian Academy of Music in Tallinn, the capitol of Estonia.
Cowles has a particular interest in the choral music of Estonia and nearby Finland, and hopes to enrich his own choral repertoire with music he can bring back from the area. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he is eager to meet several composers in Estonia and Finland for whom he has great respect, as well as experience a variety of high-caliber choral performances for which the region is well known.
Cowles has taught at the Colleges since 1992, and, in addition to classroom teaching, is the director of the Colleges Chorale. The Chorale performs on campus several times throughout the year for a variety of Colleges' events. Additionally, it annually travels to another city to perform during a spring tour. Cowles and the 35-member Chorale produced, in 1997-98, a compact disc titled “Reflections on the Road.”
Cowles has also served for five years as the artistic director of the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble. As director there, he has been credited with undertaking a tireless campaign to bring a wide variety of challenging repertoire before his singers to ensure their continued growth as an ensemble, as well as an engaging listening experience for the audience.
Cowles earned his B.A. at Macalaster College in St. Paul, Minnesota, his M.M. in choral conducting at the New England Conservatory of Music, and a D.M. in choral conducting at Indiana University. Before joining the Hobart and William Smith faculty he taught at Moorhead State University in Minnesota and at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He and his family reside in Geneva.
Cowles is one of approximately 2,000 U.S. grantees that will travel abroad for the upcoming academic year through the Fulbright Program. Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program's purpose is to build mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and the rest of the world.
The Fulbright Program, America's flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, United States Department of State. For 55 years, Fulbright programs have exchanged nearly a quarter of a million people-88, 000 Americans, who have studied, taught or researched abroad and more than 146,000 students, scholars, and professionals from other countries who have engaged in similar activities in the United States.
Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement and because they have demonstrated extraordinary leadership potential in their fields. Among the thousands of prominent Fulbright alumni are: Craig Barrett, President and CEO of Intel; Renee Fleming, opera singer; John Lithgow, actor; Daniel Patrick Moynihan, former U.S. Senator; Robert Shaye, Founder and Chairman, New Line Cinema; and Muhammed Yunus, economist and Founder of the Grameen Bank.
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