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17th International ESTA Congress in Strasbourg/France, 4 – 6 May, 1990

“Strasbourg will be different,” promised Fritz Händschke already in the invitation to this truly unique Congress. At the Meeting of the Central Committee on October 26, 1989, many problems regarding the forthcoming Congress in Strasbourg announced themselves. The Congress venue, the “Palais de l’Europe” had been visited by Fritz Händschke and myself several times before, and a number of organisational matters had been settled. However, we had no co-organiser on the spot. So, we started “mission impossible”.

The most important event was the beginning of the relations with the Council of Europe with our application to be granted consultative status within the Non-Governmental Organisations in the Council of Europe.

Just a word on ESTA’s relations to the Council of Europe and the significance of enjoying consultative status within the NGOs: ESTA is a “Non-Governmental Organisation”, which meets all requirements set by the Council of Europe in order be eligible, which is to be an organisation, which united non-political organisations of a special professional group. This means that ESTA, the European String Teachers Association and its current European members, i.e. WE ALL, applied for this consultative status within the Non-Governmental Organisations. At present, this consultative status is held by 275 European organisations, only three of which come from the area of music:

  1. The Union of European Music Schools
  2. The Association of European Youth Competitions
  3. The Union of the European Free-Lance Association

Our participation in a European panel of experts is, therefore, all the more important, e.g. as regards the social status of music teacher, which is a quite different one in the various countries. An account of our current work in this body will be given at the end of this documentation by Trude Spoun and Werner Schmitt.

The only drop of bitterness of this Congress was the fact that President Yehudi Menuhin was unable to participate for reasons of schedule and our Honorary President, Max Rostal, due to illness.

The gala concert on Friday evening was honoured by the presence of Madame Catherine Lalumiere, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who acted as patroness of the Congress and welcomed the participants.

The programme was international:

Maurice Ravel “Tzigane” Axel Strauss (FRG), Cornelia Kalbe (GDR)
Pablo de Sarasate “Carmen Fantasy” op. 25 Katrin Scholz (GDR)
Franz Schubert Fantasy C major Maxim Wengerow, Irina Winogradowa (USSR)
Alexander Zarzycki Romance and Mazurka Monica Jarecka, Maximilian Bylicki (Poland)
Robert Schumann String Quartet A major Granini Quartet (Cologne)

Within one day, 14 nations presented themselves. It was possible only thanks to simultaneous translation to manage such a dense programme (this time in chronological order):


Musical introduction by Thorleif Thedeen: Solo Sonata for Violoncello by S. Kodály

Harald Thedeen Theory and Methodology of Violin Education in Sweden
Great Britain
Maria Grevensmühl On the German Branch of ESTA
Gerhard Mantel The Gesture as a Key to New Music. B. A. Zimmermann: from Solo Sonata for Violoncello
Erich Füri On the Swiss Branch of ESTA
German Democratic Republic
Werner Scholz On the GDR
Klaus Hertel The Development of thee Theory and Methodology of Violin Education in Germany, Starting from Leipzig
Zenon Brzewski The Polish Violin Tradition with a musical interlude by Monica Jarecka playing Wieniawski’s Caprice No. 5
Fritz Händschke What Does the Council of Europe Expect from ESTA?
Representatives of the delegates of new ESTA member countries:
Russia Igor Oistrakh (Moscow), Halida Ahtiamova
Hungary Sandor Devich (Budpest)
Czechia Stanislav Apolin (Prague)
Slovakia Peter Michalica (Bratislava), deputed by: M. Jelinek
Bruno Steinschaden Theory and Methodology of String Education in Music Schools with a musical interlude by the duo Brigitte Steinschaden (violin) and Michael Öttl (guitar) with Paganini’s Sonata concertata in A Major
Marianne Granvig On the Danish Branch of ESTA
Hans Erik Deckert The Vitality of Music
Ben de Ligt Courageous Dutch, musical interlude: H. W. Henze: Serenade 1949

A contribution by B. Wacheux, C. Munch and F. Coutelen

In the concerts, which took place on Saturday evening in the hall of the Conservatoire de Strasbourg and were continued with a matinee on Sunday, almost all nations were represented, with works from solo literature, duo, cello and string quartet to full-fledged orchestra. One of the sections of the brochure of the Council of Europe, which outlines the objectives of the activities of the Council of Europe in the area of education, reads as follows:

“The Council of Europe is pioneering in the elaboration of the term lifelong learning, which means training and education that is no longer limited to die younger days, but accompanies people throughout their lives, a kind of learning that opens up new opportunities to the individual to develop his or her creativity and enables him or her, at the same time to adapt himself of herself to rapid technological progress and thus to contribute his or her share to society. This objective guides the entire work in the field of education.”

ESTA, the EUROPEAN STRING TEACHERS ASSOCIATION, and the Council of Europe share the same objectives in many respects: In the area of education, we strive, on the one hand, to promote and continue training throughout the entire life and, on the other hand we use our best endeavours to foster young talents. The above quotation from the brochure of the Council of Europe “…to adapt himself of herself to rapid technological progress and thus to contribute his or her share to society” will have to be challenged, and seeing to it that our concerns are listened to in the Council of Europe will continue to be one of the major tasks of the ESTA representatives in Strasbourg. How difficult, yet important, it is to choose the correct words can be gathered from the report by Werner Schmitt and Trude Spoun on the General Meeting of the Delegates in Brussels. In our co-operation, which we have cultivated since 1972, we make every effort to “live democracy”, to put common achievements above nationalism and quantity above quality.

Since the Congress at Palais de l’Europe I have felt committed more than ever to the aims and ideas of ESTA as the EUROPEAN STRING TEACHERS ASSOCIATION.

General Meeting of the Delegates on 4 May at Palais de l’Europe in Strasbourg.

Nannie Jamieson had died in January and we commemorated her and her work with respect and sadness. On May 20 a day was devoted to her life and work in London. This General Meeting discussed intensively the many problems in the new member countries. It was decided to continue working out solutions at a weekend seminar to be held in Leipzig from 12 to 14 October. Some amendments to the Statutes, the Rules of Procedure and a financial plan were being prepared. Then 1 had firmly believed that the Strasbourg experience had changed our sense of community. It was generally deplored that there was an insufficient flow of communication. Fritz Händschke appealed to uphold the European idea within the Branches and asked the participants to bear in mind that he would not be able to carry out his honorary function for ever.

Werner Schmitt reported about the progress in setting up the “Dr. Ernst Koch Foundation”, to which Hannelore Koch had contributed DM 25000.- as a start.

News from the Branches:

Poland, with President Zenon Brzewski, could be admitted with the submission of a document, which had been certified by court, on 11 April, 1990.

As far as the Soviet Union was concerned, Menuhin himself had got into contact with Igor Oistrakh, Zakhar Bron and Halida Ahtiamova to starts negotiations.
Czechia and Slovakia said they wanted to work as separate Branches.
Sandor Devich repotted from Hungary that his country had just woken up “from a 40-year dream…”
In what used to be the German Democratic Republic collective membership was replaced by individual membership after the fall of the Wall. A German-German summit had been held in Bremen. New Statutes had to be drafted.
In France ESTA France was newly founded in April with B. Wacheux.
As always, time was too short, and we all pinned our hopes for definite results on the Leipzig Meeting.

An important joint event, the “ESTA Summer Academy J. S. Bach”, took place from 16 August to 2 September, 1990, in Stuttgart, where “Sei solo” played a special role. Much-lauded contributions were given, inter alia, by our ESTA members Igor Ozim, Helga Thoene, Werner Scholz and Reinhard Seiffert, who had also organised this great meeting, which will always be remembered by all lovers of Bach.

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