Dave Stamps, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music doctoral student in jazz composition and Othmer Fellowship recipient, will be traveling to Romania from Nov 2-12 for a 10-day residency at the National University of Music in Bucharest.
While there, he plans to teach a number of courses in jazz composition, which will culminate in performances at the University and outside of the University, and he will participate in a music industry seminar.
"The industry seminar is fun because they have totally different laws and legal ramifications," Stamps said. "We'll talk about the mainstream U.S. music industry, but also compare the differences [to the industry in Romania], so I'll learn a lot, too.
This will be Stamps third visit to Romania. Prior to coming to UNL this fall, Stamps was the Associate Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC).
In May and June 2010, he helped organize an international tour for UNC's top jazz ensemble, which toured across Romania, including stops in Bucharest, Iasi, Sibiu, Brasov, Targu Mures and Timisoara. He also met many musicians and arts promoters.
That led to a second trip in November 2010, where he completed a residency at the National University of Music in Bucharest, giving lectures on jazz composition and the music business.
For the trip this November, Stamps will also be recording an album with pianist Mircea Tiberian, who is head of the jazz and popular music program at the National University of Music. He will also be working on a project with Luiza Zan, a vocalist and pop star, who has turned her focus towards jazz.
"Her voice is well known over there. She's the voice of the Whiskas cat," Stamps said. "She was also the front-woman of a popular European band called Slang and was runner-up in the 2004 Montreux Jazz Festival [Switzerland] Shure vocal competition."
Last year Zan wrote a series of lullabies, done as an album with guitarist Sorin Romanescu.
"We're working on a project to take those duos and turn them into an orchestrated set of music, so we can do that at a concert, hopefully with the National Radio Jazz Orchestra," Stamps said.
A year from now, Stamps hopes to return and do a concert of his own music with the National Radio Jazz Orchestra as well.
"All of their performances are broadcast over the internet," he said. "And they're into a lot of audio-visual effects over there. Often that has more bearing on the performance than the music. If they want to mix things in a different way, you can't really say anything," Stamps smirks.
Stamps said students here can learn a lot by traveling to Eastern Europe.
"A lot of students, when they go over to Europe, it's to Western Europe. Eastern Europe is very different," he said. "I fell there is more diversity. In Romania, you see the Asian influence, the Middle Eastern and European influence. It's just different. I think it's good to experience as much as possible."
Stamps said that while he likes both the city and countryside in Romania, it's the people that keep drawing him back.
"The people are what draws me the most," he said. "Romanians have been controlled by many factions over the country's history, so there is a real diverse group of people there. They are very friendly. We take for granted how easy it is to get information here. There, they have to work for it. They really want the information. You have to remember that they were a Communist state just over 20 years ago, so they're behind us [the United States] in many respects. But with their hunger, they're going to catch up very quicklyâ?¦especially in the arts."
Stamps said the jazz scene is supported in Romania.
"Every place we played, there was an audience," he said. "That's not always the case even here. And jazz is our music. They love live music, so the street festivals have many jazz or jazz-based groups."
Stamps was born in Miami, but grew up in the Midwest in a musical environment.
His father is also a professional jazz trombonist and a composer, who teaches at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
"I was around quite a bit of music, but I was never pressured to go into it," Stamps said.
Stamps said he likes the spontaneity of jazz.
"It's hard to define, but there's always a spontaneous element to jazz," Stamps said. "And I like the culture. I like the people and the stories and how it affects the music."
Stamps began his undergraduate career at Indiana University, but because they did not have a jazz trombone teacher at the time, he transferred to Southern Illinois and completed his Bachelor of Music degree in jazz studies there.
He completed his first master's degree in jazz performance/pedagogy at Northern Illinois and completed a second master's degree in jazz composition at the University of South Florida, where he studied under Chuck Owen, his mentor.
Owen was founding the Center for Jazz Composition at the time.
"I helped him and then worked my way up to become the managing director of that center," Stamps said. He stayed until 2007.
Then, he took the job as Associate Director of the Jazz Studies program at UNC, before deciding to pursue his doctor of musical arts degree in jazz composition at UNL.
"I really want to teach on a tenure-track, so that's why I started looking at doctorate programs, which is what led me here," Stamps said.
People are also what led him to UNL.
"I'm a big people person," he said. "To me, that's my number one priority. I want to feel like I'm comfortable. I feel that the faculty is very strong here. I love the Midwest feel. I love the environment, both the area and the faculty. Everything combined just made it feel like the best fit for me and my future."