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16th International Congress in Manchester/Great Britain 28 March – 2 April, 1989

R. Seiffert could not have put it more appropriately by describing this extraordinary Congress as “The British Way of ESTA”. Rodney Slatford, the perfect organiser, had offered an abundance of mostly two or even three simultaneous events in line with his statement in his welcoming address ‘Too much is better than too little”. Temporarily as many as 700 participants were present — no foreign language was to be heard. No doubt, were in Great Britain. There was a flood of papers, but just in English, which did present a problem for some participants of an, after all, international conference.

Yehudi Menuhin was present at the opening ceremony and conducted a workshop with students of his Menuhin School, which was also recorded by TV, at the spacious College. An attractive event, especially for young musicians, was the International Youth Orchestra, with whom Malcolm Layfield worked on a daily basis, and which provided evidence of its high quality with works by E. Elgar, Barry Guy (especially composed for ESTA), Frank Bridge and B. Britten. For Bridge’s “Cherry Ripe” Menuhin himself had taken up the baton. Mrs. Lord Major received us at City, and an excursion took us to Leens Hall near Kendal, where music with Rhian Owen (soprano) and Selina Madeley (lute) and a bizarre park landscape were waiting for us.

Numerous young players had the opportunity of presenting themselves on the podium, including the cellist Jamie Walton, who later received a scholarship from the “Dr. Ernst Koch Foundation”, but also renowned ensembles such as the “Britten String Quartet” with works by B. Britten and E. Elgar , the “London Baroque” with Byce, Händel, Hellndaal and Purcell & Stanley, and Biesenbender’s (CH) Jazz- and Folk Fiddling late at night, all of which were recorded by BBC’s Radio 3.

Many demonstrations – from violin to double bass – were shared with us:

Timothy Batchelar (GB) “Basic Emergency Repairs” – Helpful pieces of advice. Daily event.
Volker Biesenbender (CH) “Jazz for String-Instruments Players”
Helen Brunner (GB) “The Suzuki Method”
Tom Cuates (GB) “Violin Lessons by Kodály”
Caroline Emery
Rodney Slatford (GB)
“Children and the Double Bass”: Yorke Mini-Bass Project and “Bass Is Best”
Robert Frost (USA) “Adaptations for Student Orchestras”
Vivian Mackie (GB) “The Alexander Technique” Daily event.
Wendy Max (GB) “General Music Making” – Ways of learning rhythm. Notation and aural training
Charles Medlam (GB) “Ornamentation for Beginners”
Sheila Nelson (GB) “Teaching Young Violinists”. Workshop and final concert.
Nehama Patkin (Aus) “Motion in the Playing of Music with Eurythmia”
Timothy Reynish (GB) “Fundamentals of Conducting”
David Vinden “The Kodály Method”
Phyllis Young (USA) “Playing the String Game” for cellists

Many of the lectures were accompanied by concerts or demonstrations:

Ben de Ligt (NL) “Bach for Young People”
Christopher Bunting (GB) “The Well-Tempered Bow Arm”
Maria Grevesmühl (FRG) “Li-Na in the Garden” a composition for children by Tsang Yun
Emanuel Hurwitz (GB) “Some Reflections on Violin Instruction for Beginners”
Anne Kadarauch (GB) “Expression from the Infant to the Teenager”
Eduard Melkus (A) “What Does Allegro Mean? What Does Forte Mean?” Expression in Music
Ursula Scholz (GDR) “Vibrato, When – Where – How?”
Ronald Smith (USA) “Playing by Ear and at Sight during Examinations”
Walter Verdehr (USA) Ferdinand David’s Impact on Violin Music”
Michael Vogler (GDR) “Tasks in the First Years of Violin Instruction”

A daily newspaper, “The Accidental – Daily News and Views” complemented what has been the most comprehensive programme of all international ESTA Congresses so far.

General Meeting of the Delegates on 2 April, 1989, in Manchester:

Sadly, three of our highly respected members had passed away the previous year: We commemorated Lilia d’Albore (I), Svend Schröder (DK) and Joe Rangore (F) by observing a minute of silence.

President Menuhin was present for the major part of the General Meeting and discussed with us a variety of options for the next international Congress:

  1. Prague, to celebrate fittingly the national ESTA Foundation.
  2. Seville, as an encouragement for Spain.
  3. Gstaad (CH), where the 35th anniversary of the Menuhin Festival was being celebrated.
  4. France, with President Wacheux, who had proposed Lille.

Slatford said that one and a half years had been necessary to prepare Manchester and that time was already very short. Many ideas, but also frustrations, were voiced by the various Branches, which took a very active part in the discussions. Unfortunately, only few written reports were available, which also made my work on this documentation difficult Naturally, definite results can hardly be achieved at gatherings of this kind. But each contribution provided fresh impetus and opened up new opportunities. Thus, the Meeting ended with many questions unresolved, including that of the venue for the 1990 Congress…

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