Furman University had always been in the back of Logan Campbell’s mind.
Worried about how he would pay for college, he started his undergraduate studies at a large public university, but it simply wasn’t a good fit.
“I didn’t want to be just a number,” said Campbell, a music education major with a choral emphasis.
He sought out members of Furman’s music faculty, including Professor of Music Les Hicken who he first met through the Carolina Youth Symphony. After talking to them about his goals, he decided to transfer to Furman for his sophomore year.
“Rather than selling me on their program, they were more interested in establishing relationships with me. I felt valued as an individual and as a student,” said Campbell. “I knew they would look out for my best interests.”
After enrolling at Furman, new opportunities began to open up.
He joined the Furman Singers, Symphonic Winds and Wind Ensemble. He performed in the Furman Symphony Orchestra and served as music director of the student-led theatre group, the Pauper Players. He was invited to join the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha and was chosen to spend a month studying opera in the Franco-American Vocal Academy program (FAVA) in Salzburg, Austria, in 2015.
Campbell was taking German language classes at Furman when one of his professors mentioned the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, a competitive program funded by U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag (lower house of Parliament). He was one of 75 students nationwide selected to participate during the 2016-2017 school year.
“I had never thought about taking a year off from my undergraduate studies, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to improve my German language skills and become more culturally aware,” Campbell said. “The program turned out to be everything that I did not expect it to be. It was much greater.”
The year-long program brought him first to the town of Radolfzell, where he lived with a German host family and spent two months studying the German language. He then went on to study conducting, German music terminology and international music education methodology at the Music Conservatory of Leipzig.
At the same time, Campbell served as an intern at the famous Opera House of Leipzig, working with Director Katharina Thalbach and Maestro Anthony Brammell, who is now serving as chief conductor of the State Theater at the Gärtnerplatz in Munich. He also served as a conducting intern for Ballet Leipzig for three months for its production of Don Juan/Mozart a Deux, which premiered in April.
Each day was different. Some days, he was a glorified observer. Other days, he was able to conduct during scene rehearsals and discuss critiques with the conductor and director. Campbell was also able to take a proud bow as he guest-conducted a performance of the Phantom of the Opera suite with the Symphonic Wind Orchestra of Leipzig.
Maestro Bramall met Campbell for the first time while working on the new production of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Leipzig Opera.
“I discovered that I could rely on Logan completely to carry out many of the corrections to the orchestral parts that are always necessary in such a production. Then, during the orchestral stage rehearsals, it became clear that he had extremely good ears and good judgment so it was a pleasure to have him with me taking notes,” said Bramall. “In short, Logan was a very good assistant; so good, in fact, that when I was doing a new Don Juan ballet, I asked him if he would be able to assist me again!”
The year abroad was a transformative experience, he said.
“Meeting Syrian refugees in Germany who shared their life experiences made me think deeply about my life and who I want to be,” said Campbell. “I learned to be lot more reflective and patient. I learned to laugh at myself when I got frustrated with the language.”
Experiences like these are key components of The Furman Advantage which promises every Furman student high-impact engaged learning through research, study away and internships—opportunities that broaden students’ perspectives through exploration and open doors for discovery.
“Above all, I got to meet an amazing collection of people, explore a different lifestyle and test my boundaries,” said Campbell.
Now that he’s back at Furman, Campbell has already filled his plate for senior year. In addition to completing his teaching internship at a local school, Campbell is serving as a student intern for the Carolina Youth Symphony. He’s also planning a benefit concert to raise money for Greenville County Public School Title I music programs. He has contracted the personnel, selected the music, promoted the program, raised funds for the project and is preparing the ensemble for the performance, said Hicken.
“Logan is a highly motivated young musician and teacher. He is curious and a real self-starter,” said Hicken. “He will be very successful in whatever he chooses to become.”
While Campbell isn’t sure exactly which direction he’ll go after graduation – teaching and graduate school are both options – he hopes to go back to Germany one day, perhaps to earn a master’s degree in conducting.
“There are so many things that I still don’t know,” he said.
Mark Your Calendars:
Logan Campbell ’18 will present a special benefit concert at 7:30 p.m. October 13 with a volunteer orchestra of Furman musicians to raise money for Title 1 School music programs in Greenville County. For information, contact the Music Department at (864) 294-2176.