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Bridging cultures with music

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Bridging cultures with music

During the 2017/2018 academic year, 22 students from the UWCSEA Dover String Programme formed an orchestra to compete in the prestigious Summa Cum Laude International Youth Festival and Competition held in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein in July 2018. 

The focus of the festival was to create an environment where young musicians from all over the world can interact on an international level and build bridges among themselves. The festival included 1,500 musicians from 16 countries. Our young musicians competed against older and more experienced conservatoire orchestras, and before an internationally renowned jury to obtain ‘5th Place with Excellent Success’ in the String Orchestra category. 

The students gave a beautiful concert in the church at Probstdorf for which they received a standing ovation. The town of Probstdorf supports 30 refugees from Afghanistan who are integrating into their community. The money raised from our concert contributes towards the German language lessons these refugees are receiving.  The students also played in Inzell, Bavaria, again receiving a warm reception from many local people. 

The festival's interactive workshops were greatly inspiring to everyone present as the students worked, gained knowledge and played with enjoyment and passion under the tutelage of distinguished conductors. 

Vienna, affectionately known as the 'capital of classical music', holds a special place in the hearts of musicians as it was here that composers such as Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, and Beethoven established their musical careers. In fact, Beethoven said of this city, “Perhaps heaven will permit me not to have to give up Vienna as my permanent abode.” We visited the homes of these great masters, walked the streets they trod, played music by Mozart and performed concerts in this most exhilarating environment. 

Music is a universal language and what a privilege it was for our young musicians to gather with other talented players from all over the world in Vienna and perform together on some of the world’s most famous stages. Our students left Vienna with a sense of accomplishment and pride, and with a greater appreciation for orchestral playing. They have increased their determination to continue developing their skills and appreciation of music.


18 Sep 2018
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