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5th International ESTA Congress in Vienna/Austria, 28 March to 4 April, 1978

It was for the first time that an International Congress was held in a big city. Some 300 participants from 13 countries had arrived. Luckily it was possible for all of them to stay at one place, the Parkhotel Schönbrunn, which also provided a big hall where all the lectures could take place:

Christopher Bunting (GB) “Unpopular Ideas on the Art of Teaching”
Elena Geneva (BG) “The Art of Violin Playing in Bulgaria”
Hedi Gigler-Dongas (FRG) “The Symbolism of Cosmic Trinity in J. S. Bach’s Chaconne”
Ursula Looser (CH) “Our Tool and Our Toy, the String”
Yfrah Neaman (GB) “International Competitions and Their Impact — a Constructive or a Destructive One”
Paul Rolland (USA) “The Sequence of Movements when Playing the Violin”
Jürgen Schmidt-Voigt (FRG) “Cardiologic Aspects in String-Instrument Playing”
Wolfgang Schneiderhan (A) “The Violin – Today and in the Past”
Stanley Weiner(B) “Notes inégales in the 18th Century and Their Effect on Contemporary Methods of Performing”
August Wenzinger (CH) “Expression in Baroque Music and Its Interpretation”

Most lectures were available in writing in English and German, some also in French. Two concerts were given at the Konzerthaus/Schubertsaal: One by young talents from the Austrian Provinces with the Wolf-Trio and the Hagen-Quartet, which performed in public for the first time and did so with sensational success, and a Sunday matinee with the Alban Berg Quartet playing Bartök’s No. 1 and Beethoven’s op. 59/1. At the Musikverein/Brahmssaal we listened to the festival concert of the Chamber Orchestra of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wolfgang Schneiderhan, who played also as a soloist together with Gerhard Hetzel and Leonora Geanta in the Concerto in D major for three violins by J. S. Bach. Furthermore, we heard the 11-year old Clemens Hagen with the Cello Concerto in C major by C. Stamitz, Wolfram Christ with the Viola Concerto in C minor by J. Chr. Bach, and Thomas Zehetmair the Violin Concerto in B major, K 207 by W. A. Mozart. The Congress organiser himself, Fritz Händsche, acted as first violists, furnishing once more proof of ESTA’s close ties to the practical world. Wolfgang Schneiderhan played at the Grosse Musikvereinssaal with the Niederösterreichisches Tonkünstlerorchester Brahms’ Violin Concerto, which, for many in the audience, was an experience that will be remembered for ever.

The city of Vienna hosted a reception, a day trip took us to the picturesque Wachau region, and an evening at a wine tavern in famous Grinzing completed the social programme. A unique event was the spontaneous performance by Hedi Gigler and Max Rostal, who, all of a sudden, seized the violin from one of the Schrammel musicians and, to the latter’s horror and bewilderment, fiddled for all their worth. What a pity that one did not travel with video cameras in one’s luggage those days!

The General Meeting of the Delegates was held on 1 April, 1978.

At the beginning the participants commemorated Erich Dorflein, who had passed away in October 1977.

Matters that were discussed included:

  1. The admission of new Branches:
    Already then we were in lively correspondence with Spain and hoped that this Branch would be founded shortly. With the submission of its Statues on May 15, 1978, France had applied for ESTA membership. The Branches President was Zino Francescatti. Several activities were tried again and again in the country, but, unfortunately, contacts with the umbrella organisation have remained weak until today.
    The GDR Branch was founded in February 1978 in Neubrandenburg with Werner Scholz acting as President. The state committed itself to pay an annual contribution of SFR 300.-.
    Thanks to the presence, for the first time, of H. E. Decken it could be explained why the Danish Branch had remained silent so far, and its proper foundation followed on 17 September, 1978.
  2. Budget:
    A typewriter had been bought for the ESTA Secretariat. The purchasing price of SFR 2.000.— was to be paid in 4 annual instalments of SFR 500.— each. The amount of SFR 4.000.— earmarked lor the International ESTA Journal was cancelled. It was decided that the journal was to maintain itself on its own.
  3. Reports from the Branches:
    Nannie Jamieson (GB) reported that the British Branch counted already as many as 700 members and that their national journal “News and Views”, which existed already since 1976, had been recognised as a musical publication.
    Jet den Hertog from Netherlands said that string players in his country could not imagine life any more without ESTA and that the Branch was busy preparing the International ESTA Congress in 1980.
    However, before that it was Sweden’s turn to present itself as a country of string instrument players at their Congress from 5 to 12 June, 1979, in Stockholm and a final day in Helsinki.
  4. Franz Zeyringer (A), founding member of ESTA, put forth the idea of working together with the Viola Research Society. Unfortunately, these contacts that would definitely have been most rewarding never ensued.
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