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37th ESTA International Conference in Vienna, 3rd – 8th April 2009

This Conference had as its motto Haydn’s words: “my language is understood throughout the world” – music as a universal language. Thus, one main topic was dedicated to Joseph Haydn, another to the “melting-pot of Europe”.
Bruno GIURANNA (I) gave a viola masterclass. Erich HÖBARTH (vln, A) and Christophe COIN (Vc, F) – both members of the Quatuor Mosaïque – focussed in their masterclasses on playing Haydn quartets on both period and modern instruments.
Eduard MELKUS (vln) and Clemens HELLSBERG (directorate of the Vienna Philharmonic) dealt with the Viennese string tradition. Michael FRISCHENSCHLAGER (vln) concentrated on Fritz Kreisler; Tobias KÜHNE (Vc) compared different versions of Beethoven’s Sonata in A major; and Rudolf PIETSCH focussed on the various styles of string playing along the Danube.
Marianne KROEMER reported on her rich experiences and impressions of many different ESTA Conferences.
THOMASTIK-INFELD handed out advice regarding different strings; the publishing company DOBLINGER presented their new releases to mark Haydn’s anniversary year; and the master bowmaker Thomas M. GERBETH gave us an insight into his workshop.

Various lectures dealt with pedagogical issues, such as: “From everyday life in the music school to competitions”, or with the provision to support gifted music students at university level. Kinesiology (movement) in music “with energy in lessons and on stage” accompanied us as well. In Austria, guitarists also belong to ESTA, so therefore Jorgos PANETSOS gave a lecture on a topic of interest to us all: “Playing from memory”.

Our colleagues from abroad also contributed interesting presentations, among them: “Lessons on the viola from the beginning?” by Pirkko SIMOJOKI from Finland; the “Busk Aid” project from Great Britain; a lecture about the violinist Franjo KREŽMA from Croatia; and a presentation on the Schoenberg Violin Concerto from Greece, all of which were most enriching.

Both established artists and young talents gave numerous concerts. In the Brahms Hall of the Musikverein, we heard a concert of chamber music by Joseph Haydn for baryton and other stringed instruments, played on old instruments from the collection of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of Friends of Music). One evening concert was put together by the well-known JESS Trio. The prominent violinist and conductor Ernst KOVACIC directed our ESTA Chamber Orchestra – an important project during the Conference. Students from all ESTA member countries performed together works by Haydn, Schoenberg, Suk and Bartók in the final concert.

An excursion took us to Eisenstadt, where particularly interesting exhibitions were taking place in the Esterházy Palace and in Haydn’s house to commemorate the bicentenary of Haydn’s death. Of course, we also visited a “Heurigen” (wine bar), where music was provided by the famous “Heanznquartett”.

Nikolaus HARNONCOURT said: “Every child has the right to music”, and Franz SCHUBERT even said “Whoever loves music can never be completely unhappy”. Accordingly, ESTA Austria was able to welcome around 340 participants to this Conference – a record number that filled this event with a lot of life. It was crowned by a reception, with music from an international ESTA quintet, in the Town Hall of the music (world capital) city of Vienna.

Ulrike Danhofer
Wolfgang Klos (President since 2011) ESTA Austria
English translation by Luise Adler, edited by Janet Thomas

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