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20th International ESTA Congress in St. Moritz/Switzerland, 3 – 8 October, 1993

It was tor the third time that Switzerland had organised an International Congress, and again a most attractive place in the mountains had been chosen. The culture and convention centre “Laudinella” at 1800m altitude welcomed us with snow and chilly temperatures outside but cosy warmth inside.

Under the motto “Composers as Teachers and Interpreters” the programme included numerous concerts, demonstrations, workshops and lectures.

Siegfried Palm, who had been elected new ESTA President at the General Meeting of the Delegates in the afternoon, now impressed his audience with a lovely concert evening together with his partner Günter Ludwig with works by Janacek, Webern and Reger. At the opening concert Camerata Bern had given the first performance of the Violin Concerto by Thomas Demenga with Hansheinz Schneeberger as soloist.

“I Salonisti”, an extraordinary piano quintet, which had been founded by Thomas Fun, treated us to a most entertaining concert evening. Musicians are commuters between different musical genres and have long since abandoned the difference between serious and light music. In his lecture with demonstrations “Serious Music in the Glasshouse” Thomas Füri expanded on these reflections on the narrowness of our professional education of string- players.

The ESTA Youth Orchestra had been put together especially for this Congress and gave a remarkable performance under the conductorship of Lorand Fenyves (Canada) with works by J. S. Bach, O. Partos and J. Haydn.

Referring to the “European Chaos String Quartet” the cellist Thomas Demenga said, “The four of us are musicians who, with their consistent philosophy to play without music and concepts, run totally counter to the trend, this popular mixture of composed and improvised music.” We listened to a concert and a panel discussion.

In his workshop with students Franz Beyer (D) worked on string quartets by Mozart (K 156) and Schubert (Minuet from op. 29). In his lecture on “The Realisation of Compositional Ideas in the Field of Classical Music” Beyer quoted Ludwig van Beethoven and his corrections on op. 132 “…and I am completely hoarse from all the cursing and stamping …”

A group from the “Institute Jaques-Dalcroze” (Geneva) presented elements of musical-rhythmical education: rhythm, tonic sol-fa, improvisation, with examples for lessons and with the involvement of Congress participants.

Chiara Banchini (CH), a specialist in Baroque violin, gave of survey of the “Regola per arrivare a saper ben suonare il violino” by G. Tartini and “The Art of Playing the Violin” by F. Geminiani. The film “Fragments, Silence, for Diotima” by Edna Politi provided an insight into the interesting work of the Arditti Quartet.

Only few contributions were pure lectures:

Joan Dickson (GB) “Playing without Pain”
Marianne Granvig (DK) “Violin Music in Scandinavia – from the Danish Perspective”
Yehudi Menuhin (GB) “George Enescu as an Artist, Teacher and Friend”
Siegfried Palm (D) “Enrico Mainardi as a Teacher and Composer”
Michael Vogler (D) “The Work as a Teacher – Inquiries of Dürer and Brahms”

The weather did not exactly smile upon us. The excursion to Diavolezza — a famous vantage point at 3,000m altitude – had to be limited to lunch in the warm restaurant, and the “Oberwalliser Spilit”, which had been planned for the farewell evening, got stuck in the snow. Instead, we were entertained splendidly by Klaus Hertel with a string quartet and vocal art and by Thomas Füri with his violin and mouth-organ. On the day of our departure the sun was shining from a cloudless sky!

General Meeting of the Delegates on 5 October, 1993, in St. Moritz.

Participants from 16 different nations attended the General Meeting of the Delegates as well as a large number of guests.

Jane Domer, the new editor of the ESTA International Newsletter, introduced herself, circulated a questionnaire and asked for help in the search for interesting contributions. It was decided that the new ESTA International Newsletter would be published in three languages.

The new ESTA President had to be elected: Since Norbert Brainin could not be present, Christopher Bunting (GB) read out Norbert Brainin1 s ideas about ESTA. Siegfried Palm spoke himself about the future of teaching string instruments and the way he would seek co-operation with all ESTA Branches. Siegfried Palm was elected new ESTA President with 29:2 votes.

Elspeth Iliff was elected unanimously into the Central Committee to replace Maria Grevesmühl. The Central Committee was now composed of:

President Siegfried Palm (D)
Vice-President Marianne Granvig (DK)
Treasurer Werner Schmitt (CH)
Additional members Mikulas Jelinek (D),  Elspeth Iliff (GB)

As Maria Grevesmühl said the she also wished to leave the Board of Trustees of the “Dr. Ernst Koch Foundation”, a new member had to be elected from among the members of the Central Committee. The choice was made in favour of Siegfried Palm. The Board of Trustees now consisted of:

President Marianne Kroemer (A)
Vice-President Hannelore Koch (D)
Secretary Werner Schmitt (CH)
Additional members Rodney Slatford (GB), Siegfried Palm (D)

Yehudi Menuhin was elected unanimously Honorary President and stressed again his great attachment to ESTA and that he would continue to serve its objectives.
At the end a report was given about the International Congress in Salzburg 1994 and proposals were submitted by Hungary for 1995 and by Germany for 1996.

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