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  • Locations: Florence, Italy; London, England
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • Host Program Website: Click to visit
  • Budget Sheets: Fall
  • Applications for Spring/Calendar Year open July 1
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Study Abroad Contact: Brian Henry Click here for a definition of this term Minimum GPA: 3.0
Class eligibility: Junior, Senior, Sophomore Open to Non-UNC students: Yes (with approval)
Program type: Faculty-Led Language prerequisite: No
Language of instruction: English
Program Description:
Location| Courses & Credits| Housing| Program Costs| Application Process | More Information|

UNC Burch Musical Perspectives in London and Florence

The students in the Burch Seminar will spend the fall semester in two major cultural centers, London, England and Florence, Italy. The 14-week course will begin in London and after seven weeks and a travel break, move to Florence. Significant to this program will be the opportunity to experience first-hand the multi-cultural activities in two of the most exciting metropolitan centers in Europe. The course will offer a complete range of musical experiences, both for performers and students of music history, and the consumer of serious art music. Small ensembles (chamber music) in intimate settings, solo performances and recitals, larger orchestra repertoire heard live, and dramatic opera settings, all at world-class level, will be available to augment and enhance the study and understanding of musical performance, composition and history.

"Music was my first love. I started piano at six, violin at nine, and voice in college. This opportunity was one in a lifetime, a semester where fellow music lovers convened to attend concerts, discuss opera, expand discussion skills in smaller classes, and develop lifelong relationships with peers as well as the wonderful professors who only ever had our best interests at heart." -2015 Program Participant


London: Covent Garden, The English National Opera, London’s South Bank (Queen Elisabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall), Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican Centre offer a wide variety of large ensemble and opera repertoire. The intimate settings of the many smaller venues, Wigmore Hall, St. Martin in the Fields, St John’s, Smith Square, and the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall, Trinity and the Royal College, to name just a few, will offer the students opportunities to hear live chamber music and solo recitals from world-class artists of all ranges of experiences and levels as well as to identify with the inspired, young emerging professional.

Florence: In addition to the "Amici della Musica" chamber series, the students will have at their disposal in Florence the Teatro Comunale’s (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino) double series of operas and orchestral concerts, and the Teatro Verdi’s orchestral programming. And with important concert and opera halls in cities very close to Florence, such as Bologna, Parma, Venice, and Rome, we will be able to enjoy spectacular nearby “field trips”.

Courses & Credits

This program is open to music majors, music minors and qualified non-majors. The program will be led by UNC Music Professor Donald L. Oehler.

Private study and chamber music performance: Studying with instructors of diverse international training, expectations, and styles will allow the student to reflect on their own training, preparation, and past musical experiences, an exercise in self-evaluation of which the value cannot be over-emphasized. Additionally, the program will offer limited but important opportunities to present public performances in both London and Florence, fusing students’ performance skills, knowledge of repertoire, and understanding of styles from their academic studies. The students in this program will be enrolled in 6 interrelated courses for a total of 15 UNC graded honors credits.

MUSC 355H: The History of Chamber Music from Mozart to Stravinsky (3 credits)
Instructors: Prof. Donald L. Oehler 
Course description: Chamber music from the 18th to 20th centuries (Mozart to Stravinsky), including important composers and genres. We will study the traditional and diverse instrumentation of chamber ensembles, develop insights into compositional strategies, and discuss and illustrate aspects of performance practices. In addition to historically significant works, this course will make every effort to adapt repertoire selection to coincide with public concerts (fee and ticketed) in London and Florence.

HNRS 356: Musical Theatre in London: Where the Arts Collide (3 credits) (VP) 
Instructor: Clive Perrott
We will trace the origins of Musical Theatre looking at the music hall, burlesque and vaudeville and on to the more sophisticated social and political themes and dramatic structure of the mid twentieth century and even further to its dominance of both Broadway and London?s West End… for better or worse. We will look at the trials and tribulations of mounting a West End Musical: the choice of theme, style, the venue, the director, the stage design, lighting, sound, the cast and marketing etc. Let us explore all the choices and decision making that goes into a musical theatre production. We will attend several musical theatre productions and perhaps a backstage tour of a current production.

MUSC 287H Gender and Sexuality in Italian Opera (3 credits)
Instructor: Professor Daniela Costa 
Course Description: The course gives a broad overview of Italian Operatic History, and through an interdisciplinary approach, which brings together Opera and Gender Studies, it explores the way in which Italian Opera, voices, and styles have changed over the times. The operas that will be analyzed during the course are between some of the most beautiful examples of birth, development and death of the tradition of Italian Opera. As traditional gender stereotypes across the cultural map are increasingly challenged, the topic also investigates, from the perspective of Gender Studies, the origins and variations of operatic/theatrical cross-dressing through the ages.

MUSC 286H What is a Work of Art? Listening to Music of the Past (3 credits)
Instructors: Donald L. Oehler
Course description: This course asks the question of how we deal with works of art of the past as heard (and seen) with 21st-century sensibilities. We will study a representative selection of pieces in the current repertory of the concert hall from the last 250 years of Western classical music. This course will have two guiding principles: the “past” begins yesterday, and the art of listening to music – live or in recorded form – is a skill of active participation in which the listener engages with the artistic process. In addition to historically significant works, this course will make every effort to adapt repertoire selection to coincide with public concerts (fee and ticketed) in London and Florence.

MUSC 214 University Chamber Players (1 credit)
Instructor: Donald L. Oehler 
Course description: University Chamber Players creates the opportunity for students to participate in mixed chamber music. The term concludes with a public performance, and additional performances may be given during our residences in the two cities. The ensembles offer music majors, minors and accomplished non-majors an opportunity to learn and perform standard chamber music repertoire as well as exposure to lesser known works. Each student will receive intensive coaching in appropriate repertoire on a weekly basis. For the purposes of the London/Florence program, guest artists may meet with the ensembles for coaching when available.

Music 2xx Individual Instrumental Instruction (2 credits)
Instructor of record: Donald L. Oehler 
Course description: Private instruction will consist of a minimum of a one-hour meeting per week with a private tutor throughout the semester. Private instruction generally covers the study of instrumental techniques and styles, pedagogical repertoire, and concert repertoire with a predetermined performance goal in mind. For the purposes of the Burch study abroad program, each student will sign up for lessons with an appropriate mentor (arranged prior to traveling) with the assistance of the official course instructor. Additionally, all students taking private lessons will meet one hour each week in a master class setting, either led by the official course instructor or by a guest artist. (200 – Keyboard; 202 – voice; 203 – strings; 204 – woodwinds; 205 – brass; 206 – percussion) 

Courses in this program are UNC Graded Credit.
UNC Graded Credit Programs (often taught by UNC Faculty): No action required
  • These courses automatically show up on your Tar Heel Tracker and UNC Transcript.
  • You will receive a letter grade for those courses, and this does affect your GPA.


In London, you will attend classes at the UNC European Studies Centre (Winston House) on Bedford Square in Bloomsbury in close proximity to the British Museum and the University of London. UNC's Winston House will serve as your home-away-from-home in London. Winston House has access to WIFI, a small library and study area, as well as printing facilities. You will share apartments in the Bloomsbury area of central London located near the British Museum. All apartments are fully furnished and have WIFI access, full-equipped kitchens, laundry facilities, as well as weekly cleaning ad maintenance service. In Florence, you will live in shared apartments in close proximity to the music school, Il Trillo - Scuola Di Musica E d'Arte.
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Program Costs

Review the Budget Sheet posted above for detailed information on costs and fees. Costs vary per term and are subject to change.

Tuition and fees for the program are based on current UNC tuition rates, the student’s NC residency status, and operating costs of the program. Tuition and fees will be charged to the participant’s UNC student account. Review the Budget Sheet for additional Cashier Billed Expenses and Out-of-Pocket Costs. The Study Abroad Office strongly encourages students to budget carefully for their time abroad.

Getting Started: Funding Study Abroad
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Application Process

Complete the required UNC application by clicking “Apply Now” at the top of the page. If you have not done so already, create a profile to start your application. Selected applicants may be required to interview with program faculty and staff. 

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More Information

For further details, please contact: Prof. Donald L. Oehler at (919) 962-1042 or or Ms.Gina Difino, Director of Burch Programs and Honors Study Abroad at (919) 962-9680 or

For information on requesting ARS accommodations (academic, health, and mobility concerns) for a study abroad program, contact the Advisor for Access.
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Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2019 02/28/2019
03/08/2019 09/07/2019 12/14/2019

Indicates that deadline has passed

Applications for Spring/Calendar Year open July 1