Tomorrow at 2:25 pm I embark on a research adventure to the City of Lights! I am crossing the Atlantic to navigate a totally different research world, armed with little more than a letter from Professor Epstein, a friendly smile, and two years of French language training from beloved professors. (I am lucky, though, to have a few friends in the city to help me out.)

A photo of me and Maÿlis, my friend from Paris, in 2015. We are pointing at our favorite meal, “moules frites” which means muscles and fries.

Philip and Carolyn have blazed the trail for me in the past two years when they went on similar research trips to Paris. I get the feeling they have set the bar pretty high, so I have picked up what tips I can from their experiences, and I am both excited and apprehensive about starting the process.

I will be working primarily in the BnF (Bibliothèque Nationale) Département de la musique, Musée Opéra, and the Médiathèque Musicale Mahler. I will have a list of promising call numbers from Professor Epstein that I will request (by filling out a special form and bringing it to the “président de la salle” I might add) and comb through to fill in gaps in our research. I will be working in a google doc, and taking copious notes so that my colleagues back on the homefront can use the information I will hopefully gather.

My hope is that I will be able to find sources that will flesh out our Milhaud performances spreadsheet. It would be fantastic to confirm performances we already have logged, but it would also be very exciting to tap into new stores of performances we haven’t yet found! I am anticipating that my research will be helpful in finding some of the private performances that don’t necessarily appear in the newspapers we have at our disposal. I also hope I can find more information on Milhaud’s travels, but that may be something that is less accessible simply in Paris. (Because Milhaud went everywhere!!) On the side, for my own enjoyment, I’d love to make a map of where I go during my trip.

As I have learned this summer, with research sometimes you just have to start with a lead and see where it takes you. As with our research the past five weeks, I have a feeling my research in Paris will have a similar ring to it. I know there will be a lot of learning by doing, and I am ready for the challenge! Lastly, I am unbelievably grateful to Professor Epstein and to St. Olaf for giving me this wonderful opportunity to explore the city and grow as an individual.