Amani Sloley wins scholarship to study at prestigious Italian music academy

By Lincoln DePradine

Amani Sloley

Amani Sloley, by any measure, is an accomplished Canadian musician of African descent. He specializes in performing on the viola but plays other instruments, including the piano. However, he’s not one to rest on his laurels.

“I am very interested in music research jobs in the future to expand my knowledge of music,’’ says Sloley, who works at Coran’s Music Education and Lakehead University in the Music Library in Thunder Bay, Ontario. “After meeting many professional musicians, I know I have much to learn about music.’’

The third-year Lakehead University student is soon to leave for Italy, where he’ll spend 18 days studying with world-class musicians.

Sloley has won a $5,000 scholarship from Lakehead University’s Institute of Italian Studies, allowing him to spend two weeks at the renowned Cremona International Music Academy, where he would be under the tutelage of a host of professionals. It’s an immersive program offering a wide range of string and wind instruments, piano, voice, composition, and conducting courses.

“I cannot wait to meet them,” Sloley said of the other musicians that will be involved in the program in Italy. “I’m looking forward to meeting and performing with all the other musicians. I love to meet new musicians as each musician has a different perspective and experience within their music.’’

Sloley, who will have the opportunity to perform in public at historic venues in and around Cremona, said his expectation is to leave Italy “with a greater understanding of music and an appreciation of Italian culture’’.

He added that, “visiting Italy and seeing such a beautiful country and being immersed in its culture will be life changing’’.

“Italy has always been my dream to visit,’’ Sloley said in an interview. “Another thing is, since Italy is the birthplace of the violin, as a string player, I’m going to be naturally gravitating towards that’’.

Sloley, who also is a composer, said he plans on writing musical pieces to be performed in Italy.

A former Brampton resident, Sloley moved to Thunder because of the quality of the music program at Lakehead University, where Dr Evgeny Chugunov is an associate professor of piano and piano pedagogy.

“I am particularly delighted (at) Amani, a gifted viola player and composer,’’ said Chugunov. “He will have the rare chance to showcase his compositions to other musicians and perform them with the Academy’s String Orchestra at historic venues in Cremona.’’