In the mid-1990s Mstislav Rostropovich dubbed the little town of Kronberg in the Taunus, which is home to Kronberg Academy, the “world capital of the cello”. Quite a lot has happened since then. For some time now, Kronberg has been a place where people are working for the next generation of the string-playing family; 21 young cellists, violinists and viola players are currently studying at Kronberg Academy with the aim of one day performing as soloists in the world’s leading concert halls. Nonetheless, once every two years Kronberg Academy’s Cello Masterclasses & Concerts provide evidence that more than 20 years later, Mstislav Rostropovich’s distinguishing title has lost nothing of its brilliance. From 25 September to 2 October 2016 Kronberg will be the destination of more than 100 cello students, who will be taught and inspired by Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman, Ivan Monighetti and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt. Of course – like everything at Kronberg Academy – in public!
World capital ... that suggests international flair, magnetic appeal, vivacity, uniqueness, cultural richness and big city atmosphere. All that in the Taunus foothills with a view of the banking city of Frankfurt? Hard to believe. But true.
International flair: Frans Helmerson from Sweden, Gary Hoffman from North America, Ivan Monighetti, a Swiss national with Latvian roots, and the German cellist Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt will have to speak English to communicate with students from all over the world in their masterclasses.
Magnetic appeal: Not only the cello professors, but also the young cellists are drawn back to Kronberg over and over again. Hayoung Choi, who is now 18 years old, came to the Cello Masterclasses for the first time in 2008 and immediately caught Bernard Greenhouse’s attention. She went back home with the Landgrave of Hesse Prize in her pocket. Kronberg has had a grip on her ever since. She is now studying in Kronberg as a Young Soloist and will be taking part in the masterclasses again this year. It was much the same for Anastasia Kobekin from Russia, whose regular visits likewise led to university-level studies at Kronberg Academy. Audiences will be able to hear her, too, in the public masterclasses. However, those who have long since found their place on the international music scene also come back to Kronberg: alumna Marie-Elisabeth Hecker will be giving a concert with the pianist Martin Helmchen.
Vivacity: The highly gifted young musicians in the masterclasses are looking for the final polish. That is one aspect. On the other hand, a masterclass also has to be practically applicable for cello students in the audience, too. Following an audition, the students are therefore selected for masterclasses in which the professors can focus on technical difficulties and their solutions or on artistic approaches. The Cello Masterclasses are thus characterised by a lively exchange of views between young and old, budding soloists and upcoming orchestra musicians.
Uniqueness: Four professors give public tuition. We can look forward to four different personalities, four teaching styles – and four artists! During the day Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman, Ivan Monighetti and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt will be giving advice on how to do things better. In four evening concerts, however, they will be demonstrating how they actually do it. The first rows of seats are reserved for the students!
Cultural richness: It is all about the cello and a lot more besides. After all, sooner or later young cellists also need to earn a living, to look for a better instrument or even to seek new approaches to life. The Cello Masterclasses & Concerts are accompanied by presentations ranging from “Music Career Development” to the quality of strings, soundpost and bridge. Students and audiences can try out instruments at an exhibition of violin and cello makers, bowmakers and strings manufacturers or seek expert advice in the mobile workshop of master luthier Ekkard Seidl from Markneukirchen and master bowmaker C Jochen Schmidt from Dresden. The British cellist Steven Isserlis will be here for a special book presentation and the Munich-based G Henle publishing house will be using Haydn’s cello concertos to show how thrilling music research can be.
Big city atmosphere: Admittedly, there’s none of that. Instead, Kronberg offers a picturesque old town and a great deal of hospitality. In fact, the people of Kronberg provide accommodation for “their” cello students in a big-hearted capital – with views of the Frankfurt skyline!
All concerts, public masterclasses and supporting events can be viewed on the Kronberg Academy website at www.kronbergacademy.de. Concert tickets cost between EUR 16 and 36 and can be purchased by telephone on 06173 783377 or from Kronberg Academy’s ticket office at Friedrich Ebert Strasse 6 (Receptur). Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 15.00. Tickets may also be ordered by fax on 06173 783399, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.kronbergacademy.de.