“Let’s make music as friends” -Leonard Bernstein
This is the tagline of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. Sometimes it is the most simple sentiments that contain the most meaning, and the most enlightening experiences often come from unexpected places. The summer of 2017 was one of my most transformative summers to date, due to this festival. Two months of music-making in northern Germany with an orchestra of incredible young musicians from all over the world, bringing so many new experiences with each day and each concert.
Some of the highlights of the programme were performing in venues such as the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the Konzerthaus in Berlin, getting to see a bit of Europe (for the first time, for me!) and meeting so many new friends, people I respect and admire not only for musical talent but for overall strength of character, open-mindedness, and kindheartedness. July and August of 2017 left me inspired and feeling more connected to the world and humanity as a whole. The ability to grow not only musically but as a citizen of the world is such a valuable thing.
The festival staff and faculty are lovely, especially Ingrid Zur, the viola mentor, who was an endless source of support and encouragement. The programme is entirely funded, including flights to and from whatever corner of the world you might call home. Rendsburg, where the Nordkolleg facility is and where the majority of the festival is based (as far as sleeping and taking meals), is a charming town on the beautiful Kiel Canal. After each concert there is a choice of three buses to suit each individual’s post-performance preferences – the party bus, sleeping bus, and a “normal” option between the two. The only major downside of the whole festival is having to leave the people you’ve shared a summer, and several symphonies with, at the end.