Every classical musician has heard about the Banff Centre and their music program, their world-famous String Quartet competition. We musicians always look for ways and opportunities to grow, to work on ourselves in order to serve the music and our art, and I couldn’t believe the generosity of Help Musicians UK, which enabled me to participate in the Banff Centre’s renowned Master classes for Woods and Strings this year. Having had the chance to attend the daily Master classes, chamber music coaching, the outstanding concerts both by the fantastic faculty members and the students and particularly my bassoon lessons with Dr Frank Morelli – one of the most accomplished bassoonists and teachers – has completely blown my mind; the experience exceeded any expectations I had. Situated in the stunning Rocky Mountains, I got the chance to focus on me growing as a musician and networking by meeting new people while being surrounded by this magnificent nature, which we got to explore in various hikes and walks.
Attending this master class meant a lot to me as it’s been the first time since I graduated years ago that I had three weeks of having a chance to solely focus on myself and my instrument while getting lots of great inputs in my individual lessons, listening to other musicians in master classes and constantly learning from them. One of the most amazing experiences was the chamber music performance and the rehearsals leading up to it by the entire Double reed classes led by both Dr Morelli and the incredible Alex Klein, who, just at the start of the program, won back his position as Principal Oboe in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Getting the chance to work with established musicians like these two – being aware of who they are as artists – helped me to define me more as a musician and who I can become. This is definitely a memory which will always stick out in my musical career.
But it’s not just all the amazing musical experiences which I will always hold dear; I personally also got to experience the ultimate “North American experience” when we went driving to Lake Louise in a typical American school bus (with no seat belts!) and had some “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches”. Having grown up in Europe, this was something I only knew from TV and I absolutely loved it!
Help Musicians UK is an organization which helps us musicians in every stage of our career and provides help and support which is urgently needed. Without the Career Development Bursary I gratefully received, I would have missed out on an opportunity I know has not only brought me further in my career, but also provided me with the opportunity to meet inspiring musicians such as Dr Morelli with whom I want to work together again soon. On the homepage of Banff Centre it says: “Pure Harmony Personalized attention, world – class facilities, renowned faculty. An extraordinary environment to grow as a musician.” How true that is...