COLUMBIA, S.C., (March 22, 2016) USC School of Music graduate and oboist Briana Leaman has taken her previous undergraduate study abroad experiences to the next level. As a graduate student, Briana is currently in France obtaining her Master Professionnel de Composition et Interprétation Musicale (Master’s in Oboe Performance). Her program is part of the Haute École des Arts du Rhin, an organization of the superior academy of the Arts in Alsace, which links the University of Strasbourg and the Strasbourg Conservatory to grant an internationally-recognized degree.
While working toward her degree, Briana has performed as second oboe with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, one of the top professional orchestras in France. She has also performed in the orchestra for an opera, with local music ensembles and in solo concerts for audiences including diplomats of the European Parliament.
The resume Briana has built and proficiencies she has gained while working toward her Master’s in France may not have happened without her experience abroad as an undergraduate student at USC. She participated in three spring break programs during her time at USC, including a Global Classroom Program for French Communication and Culture in 2011. In 2012 and 2013, Briana spent her spring breaks touring with the USC Wind Ensemble in China and the USC Concert Choir in Spain, respectively.
In the summer of 2011, Briana studied with the oboe professor at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg as a Magellan Scholar for her project “A Comparison of European and American Pedagogical Techniques as Applied Specifically to the Oboe.” In addition to providing her the groundwork to thrive in French culture, Briana said, “Doing research abroad in my time at USC showed me that it was definitely a possibility to pursue a full independent degree in France.”
Briana said all of her travels, including trips to France to learn about and audition for the Master’s program, helped her develop “resilience and independence, and a new perspective and culture, which are all essential things for [her] job as a musician” as well as “a whole new perspective of the world and music” and “a huge amount of confidence personally and artistically.”
In addition to her professional and musical developments, Briana has appreciated the language skills she has developed. Briana said, “Aside from the importance of being able to communicate with other musicians around the world and of opening up a lot of travel and teaching opportunities, learning other languages is significant to me fundamentally because it allows me to relate to people from other cultures and countries in a much deeper way.”