Quinton Harvey’s internship in Berlin for the fall 2013 semester advanced his German language skills and cemented his sense that musicology is the right field for him.
For nearly four weeks, he interned full-time with Musica Reanimata, an organization that rediscovers and promotes the work of composers who fled Nazi Germany. Harvey’s role was to catalog 46 years’ worth of programs, ads, and concert reviews about Ursula Mamlok, a composer of Jewish descent who fled to Ecuador but is back in Berlin and still composing at age 90.
“She was a pioneer in atonal music and breaking out of the traditional sound of music,” says Harvey ’15, who is majoring in vocal performance and in music theory and composition. He enjoyed working with Mamlok and learning about her music, her composition process, and how she had to be persistent to be successful. “This woman doesn’t stop,” says Harvey. “She’s such an inspiration.”
Some of the cataloging work was tedious, such as searching through a newspaper clipping to find the one reference to a Mamlok piece. “It would be easy to leave that out,” he admitted, but he organized every scrap of information he reviewed. “It was a test of integrity.” About one decade’s worth of material remained when his time was up, and Harvey planned to return as a volunteer in the summer to finish the project, plan a hot research proposal for a Fulbright award, and scope out graduate schools for musicology and music performance. [Update 2015: He got a Fulbright award!]
Bettina Brand of the Musica Reanimata’s board said that before Harvey’s work, people had to rely on Mamlok’s memory to find materials. “Quinton Harvey independently developed a professional system” using a spreadsheet that makes searches easy, she wrote in a letter summarizing his internship.
Harvey also helped manage the organization’s lecture recital series and set up for events at Konzerthaus Berlin — which is like Carnegie Hall. He enjoyed talking with the professional singers and instrumentalists and seeing what their lives are like. He also sang in a Bach high-caliber amateur choir.
Before traveling, he had taken two semesters of German at Nazareth and worked a lot in Nazareth’s language lab to advance his skill. Once abroad, he challenged himself to speak only German unless he was around other students who didn’t know enough of the language. “You’ll never learn a language if you don’t try — and make mistakes,” he said.
The trip was Harvey’s first in an airplane and his first out of the country except for a short visit to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Seizing the opportunity to try new things, he explored and got to know Berlin better than he knows Rochester or his hometown of Utica, N.Y.
Quinton Harvey and other Nazareth students in Germany at Sans Souci, along with student coordinator Anna Katharina. They stand in front of the summer castle of Frederick the Great, just before the Marble Hall where in 1998 President Clinton had lunch with Chancellor Kohl.
Learn more about studying abroad in Berlin.