FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A delegation from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music is in Bangkok this week to forge and deepen partnerships with several music education organizations. The trip is an expansion of work that began during a May visit.
The group, headed by Dean Abra Bush, includes faculty members Simin Ganatra, chair of the Strings Department; Norman Krieger, chair of the Piano Department; piano professor Émile Naoumoff; cello professor Brandon Vamos and Assistant Dean Melissa Dickson.
The United States enjoys its oldest diplomatic relationship in Asia with Thailand, at 190 years, so it was a natural extension for IU to establish the IU ASEAN Gateway in Bangkok in 2019, further cementing bonds and introducing opportunities for both countries.
In addition to entering into a collaboration agreement with Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music, Bush will participate in the panel “Women as Leaders in Higher Education, Music” there. This excursion will also see Jacobs sign an agreement with the College of Music at Mahidol University. Music education is mandated in the Thai curriculum, and these growing collaborations will help enable Thai students to become global musicians.
The Jacobs School of Music is likewise deepening its engagement with the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, which will feature Naoumoff performing with the ensemble on Aug. 26 at the Thailand Cultural Centre. The school’s faculty members are also presenting dozens of master classes to students at the Royal Bangkok Symphony School as well as at the Piano Academy of Bangkok, Mahidol University and Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music.
After the first two Thai students were admitted to IU in 1948, the university welcomed a group of Thai students in 1955 that included Saisuree Chutikul. She attended the School of Education and the Jacobs School of Music, studying with Distinguished Professor of Piano Menahem Pressler and eventually becoming one of IU’s most accomplished and honored alumni.
Over the course of her career in Thai government, Chutikul served as the only female cabinet minister under Prime Minister Anand Punyarachun, a senator and on numerous committees of the United Nations, always advocating for the rights of women and children. Also an advocate for the arts, she was a concert pianist and founding member of what is now the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, additionally founding the Thai Youth Orchestra, among many other initiatives.
As a tribute to her legacy, the Jacobs School of Music has established the Dr. Saisuree Scholarship. The scholarship will be available to any student from ASEAN countries who is admissible to the Jacobs School, demonstrating the school’s and Indiana University’s commitment to Thailand and other ASEAN nations.
“We are thrilled to be able to further strengthen the vital relationship Indiana University and the Jacobs School of Music have enjoyed with Thailand for the past 75 years,” said Abra Bush, David Henry Jacobs Bicentennial Dean. “Our agreements with Mahidol University and Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music, collaboration with the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and establishment of the Dr. Saisuree Scholarship are all testaments to our continued commitment to our thriving partnership with our sister nation and to the future of global music education.”