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Planned 19th International ESTA Congress in Lille/France, 6-11 May, 1992

Because of insurmountable financial difficulties Bernard Wacheux had to cancel the Congress at short notice. An elegant programme book had already been printed, and the contributions by Belgium, Flanders, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Italy, and, of course, France as well an orchestral concert conducted by Yehudi Menuhin promised a most interesting event.

I recalled the great problems we faced in the preparation for the Strasbourg Congress 1990. It was more than once that I fell like cancelling the Congress, but Fritz Händschke, the organiser, accepted the entire responsibility, an admirable personal act but, unfortunately, not in accord with the Central Committee. What remained of Strasbourg was a unique event for those who were able to take part and the documentation “Strasbourg 1990” for those who had access to the brochure. The death of Peter Henn, the unforgettable patron of European culture and of ESTA in particular of many years, on 22 September, 1990, in Vienna, plunged Fritz Händschke into a financial disaster, from which he has not yet fully recovered even today. I had tried to help financially to the best of my ability.

Notwithstanding the disappointment the cancellation of the Congress in Lille may have created at the moment, it is fair to say in retrospect that Bernard Wacheux had taken the right decision.

General Meeting of the Delegates on 11 May in Lille

Ten Delegates were present and the Meeting was chaired by President Yehudi Menuhin himself. The Secretariat with Solange Eggermont had worked for nine month by then and the time needed was about 10 hours per month. The Minutes of the Meeting in Arvika were available in German, English and French. Solange Eggermont was now working on a reprint of the international catalogue of addresses. It was assumed that the Secretariat would operate at lower costs than in the past. For the first time 6ince 1977 an ESTA International Newsletter had appeared in English with information on 15 national Branches, including the Part of the Central Committee was newly elected and, following the elections, it consisted of:

President Yehudi Menuhin (GB)
Vice-President Marianne Granvig (DK)
Treasurer Werner Schmitt (CH)
Additional members Maria Grevesmühl (D)
Mikulas Jelinek (lives in Germany
but has excellent contacts to
Slovakia and the Eastern countries)

I terminated my membership in the Central Committee with the expiration of the business year. This was taken as an occasion to confer to me, by proposal of the Central Committee, the Honorary Membership. 1 was informed about it by Yehudi Menuhin in a letter, which had been signed by the members of the General Meeting in witness of their agreement. Amendments to the Statutes:

  1. Art. 1 “ESTA aims to…” was amended by the point “acts as trustee of foundations that serve the objectives of ESTA”
  2. Art. 5 new: “A country or a cultural region may become a member of ESTA”
  3. Art. 11 allows in addition to “appoint Honorary Members”

IMA (International Menuhin Association) was founded on 1 October, 1991, in accordance with Belgian law as an international society serving artistic and philanthropic purposes. Its objective is to raise money for the international development of four musical organisations: the Yehudi Menuhin School, the International Menuhin Music Academy, Live Music Now, and ESTA. Via IMA we have already received 6700 ECU from the EU to found Branches in Spain, Portugal and Greece. It was decided that Honorary Member Edward Jackson should act as ESTA representative to IMA.

To everyone’s great joy Estonia with President Toomas Velmet could be admitted as a new Branch

A fresh attempt was made to revive the Belgian Branch. Prof. Thines, a professor of psychology, honorary professor at die University of Leuwen and a musician, speaks five languages and is responsible for Flemings and Walloons.

Thanks to Fritz Händschke’s initiative ESTA was admitted to the Council of Europe as NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation). Appreciation was expressed at this point for Fritz Händschke and his work for ESTA, which thus ended.

The “Dr. Ernst Koch Foundation” was developing very positively. It was granted exemption from taxes by the Swiss authorities. The Board of Trustees had been constituted on 3 February, 1991, in Frankfurt.

For 1992 a scholarship of max. SFR 2000.- per recipient was offered to all ESTA Branches. One hundred records produced and donated by Max Rostal were sold for the benefit of the Foundation.

Again the wish was expressed m unison to publish a professional international journal before the next International Congress in St. Moritz in Switzerland the Delegates met in Brussels.

General Meeting of the Delegates on 30 May, 1993 in Brussels

President Yehudi Menuhin chaired almost the entire Meeting himself and was able to welcome delegates from 12 member countries.

In a minute’s silence was observed in commemoration of Zenon Brzewski, President of the Polish Branch, who had died recently.

News from the Branches:
  1. New national Presidents had been elected: Gerhard Mantel for Germany, Lajos Garam for Finland, and Tarn as Kedves for Hungary.
  2. The Russian Branch with Igor Oistrakh had been founded. He was now Honorary President. President was Marina Jiznevskaya, Vice-President Stepan Miltonian, and Zakhar Bron was representative of Western Europe.
  3. In Bulgaria and Ireland discussions were going on regarding a new organisation or restructuring of the Branch. France was reorganising its Branch with Mme. Munch in Grenoble. Norway, too, was trying to reorganise itself. In Spain talks were being held with Senor Comesana, and interest was signalled from Lisbon/Portugal.

The Central Secretariat reported that the new membership catalogue was now completed and that a general brochure on ESTA was available in three languages (German, Englisch, French).

Werner Schmitt and Trude Spoun had attended three NGO meetings in Strasbourg. Attempts had been made to gain acceptance for the “Right to education in Music in the countries of Europe”. The title was then changed because out of concern that the word “Right” was susceptible to misinterpretation. The project was now called “Music at Schools, a Source of Tolerance and Balance”. The programme was run at six schools and monitored by the European Community.

In parallel with the General Meeting of the Delegates several editors of national ESTA journals met to discuss the new “face” of the INL. Journals were currently published by the following countries: Belgium, Germany together with Austria and Switzerland, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Netherlands, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, and occasionally by Czechia. The editors of the underlined countries were present.

The “Dr. Ernst Koch Foundation” granted its first scholarship of SFR 2000.- to Rebeca Ruso (Slovakia), which enabled her to continue her viola da gamba studies in Brussels. Subscriptions remained unchanged.

Preparations had to be made for the new election of our President. There were two candidates: Norbert Brainin (GB) and Siegfried Palm (D). Vice-President Marianne Granvig, who was now chairing the Meeting, handed out to all delegates’ dossiers by the two candidates, in which they had outlined in writing their ideas about the further development of ESTA. After intense discussions it was decided to nominate Siegfried Palm for President. Yehudi Menuhin was offered the office of Honorary President Menuhin accepted and said that he was very happy to be able to continue serving ESTA in this position.

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