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11th International ESTA Congress in Bern/Switzerland, 11-18 April, 1984

“Bern is located on the most beautiful road of the world” wrote Goethe once. Like he, strolling underneath arcades, we were able to reach our accommodations within a few minutes. Most of the events took place right in the heart of this charming city, in die wood- panelled hall of “Konsi”.

Only the ceremony for Max Rostal, our outgoing President, took us to Hodler Hall of the Bern Museum of Art. The grateful ESTA community presented to Max Rostal a facsimile edition of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. He, in return, gave to us the colourful ESTA flag, which has accompanied us to all ESTA Congresses ever since.

Erich Füri, the Swiss President, and his team had made every effort to present genuine music and artists from Switzerland.

Thus we had the pleasure of listening, in the traditional, big hall of the Casino to the Berne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Matthias Aeschbacher paying works by C. M. v. Weber, M. Ravel, and two violin concertos: Othmar Schoeck op. 21 in B-major with Thomas Füri, and Frank Marlin, Violin Concerto 1951 with Hansheinz Schneeberger. A fascinating concert was given by the young ensemble of Camerata Berne, conducted by Thomas Füri. In the hall of the Conservatory were able to enjoy Max Rostal’s and Günther Ludwig’s virtuoso duet playing with works by Othmar Schoeck, William Walton, Robin Orr and, is an encore, movements from Beethoven’s op. 30/2.

The high standard of the concerts was equalled by the high level of the lectures:

Hans Erik Deckert (DK) “Turning Instrumental Skills into Musical Impulses”
Davy Erlih (F) “The French School of Violin Playing”
Robert Gerle (USA) “The Art of Training Oneself in Playing the Violin”
Ben de Ligt (NL) “Vibrato, an Essential Part of Expression or a Substitute for It?”
Gualtiera Nicolini Giorgio Scolari (I) “Violin Building in Cremona from the 15th Century up to the Present”
Peter Rybar (CH) “The Benefit of Studying Concert Pieces”
Günter Sielaff (GDR) “Diseases in String Instrument Students – their Treatment and Prophylaxis” (presented by Thurneysen)
Geza Szilvay (SF) The Colour String Method

Siegfried Palm provided an insight into his Bern Art Workshop with works by Bartók, Berg and Schnittke, and – based on a film – a life-rehearsal of “Match” by Maurizio Kagel.

Yehudi Menuhin, who had interrupted his flight from Seville to London for a few hours, put himself at disposal for questions at Hotel Bellevue. A wealth of aphorisms were raised from the treasure trove of the famous violinist and philanthropist, from Indian music to his fairy-tale, which should be recommended as reading matter to Financial tycoons.

Our social programme took us to lnterlaken on a special train and back by boat across the Lake of Thun past Rostal’s house “Rusalka”.

For the finale we gathered at Kornhauskeller, where we were entertained with cheerful contributions, which had been preceded by Franz Walter’s “Cello Comedy with Guy Bovet”.

General Meeting of the Delegates on 16 April, 1984, in Bern.

The most important item on the agenda was the election of the European President and of the entire Central Committee. In view of the uncertainty about Menuhin’s presence at the Berne Congress – acceptance, cancellation, acceptance – Switzerland could not dispel completely its doubts about Menuhin’s active commitment to ESTA.

Thus, Yehudi Menuhin was elected President of ESTA with 24 votes in favour and 2 votes against.

The election into the other positions was by unanimous vote.

Vice-President: Marianne Kroemer (A)
Treasurer: Wolfgang U. Stettler (CH)
Secretary General: Fritz Händschke (A)
Central Committee: One delegate each from each ESTA member country, at present 14

The gross subscription fees were fixed unanimously – equally for each country – at 10%. Gradations in subscription fees, e.g. for active members, students, retirees, etc., should be determined individually by each country.

The Central Secretariat shall request a list of members from each country each year by 31 December and then compile a European list of members: Price: SFR 8.- to 10.-.

Fritz Händschke invited all national Presidents to the final concert of the 2nd International Fritz Kreisler Competition Vienna in September 1983.

The Swiss Branch celebrated its 10-year jubilee in November 1983 with a weekend seminar in Emmetten on the Lake of Lucerne, to which one delegate from each ESTA member country was invited.

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