After a beautiful day traveling from Austria to Italy and Slovenia and back, the weather took a turn for the worse. It rained and drizzled pretty much the whole day, so I spent some time in my hometown. And, in the evening, my sister-in-law Anna and I were set for an evening of classical music in Austria. We were going to a live concert at the Kunsthaus Weiz to enjoy the works by composers Mozart, Strauss, and Verdi.
Just before 19.30, we stepped into the concert hall and were barely able to find our seats in the crowded room. There were many local dignitaries present, as this was an important event in the Weiz social calendar. The concert was arranged as a fundraising event by the Weiz Lions Club and was attended by the AIMS Festival Orchestra and Soloists. AIMS stands for the American Institute of Musical Education, a Graz-based organization, offering six-week programs of Singing Instruction, Opera and Lieder Teaching, Master Classes, German and Foreign Language Diction, plus career-related courses for professional musicians, pianists, and singers.
Listening to beautiful classical music in Austria
Twelve young sopranos, two mezzo-sopranos, two baritones, and six tenors performed The Magic Flute by Mozart, Die Fledermaus of Johann Strauss, and Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata. The music that these young artists created was indeed beautiful, and we marveled at the talents of the performers, none of whom seemed to be much older than 25 years of age.
The orchestra was led by Edoardo Müller, a renowned conductor who has appeared in many of the world’s leading opera and concert venues, including Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Munich, Tokyo, and Santiago de Chile. His North American assignments included the New York City Opera, the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Dallas Opera, the Seattle Opera, and the San Francisco Opera. Many of those who played classical music in Austria that evening were still in their early twenties.
I was deeply touched by the quality of the music of Austria, and I was also delighted that all these international music students came together in Europe to hone their craft and fulfill their passion. By talking to some of the AIMS artists after the concert, I discovered that their programs provide not only a great opportunity to train in classical music in Austria but also a cross-cultural experience that creates lifelong bonds.
Throughout my interactions with five or six of the AIMS graduates, I found out that they came from areas like Cambridge, Florida, Syracuse, and as far away as Shanghai. They all said that they were incredibly well-received in Graz and that they had the time of their lives playing classical music in Austria. And, of course, all of them were hoping that this European experience would set off their careers in classical music.
On this occasion, I also met one of my old high school teachers, a sports and geography teacher, who was really popular with students. I haven’t seen him for nearly 30 years, but I recognized him instantly. He still had the same bright smile as he had three decades ago, and even though I had to stimulate his mind a little, his face lit up as he started to recall our lesson.
All in all, the charitable classical music in Austria event raised €15,000 for local families in need, and the concert was a success. Anna and I left cheerfully and had a nightcap at a nearby café called the Weberhaus. There, we continued discussing our evening out enjoying classical music in Austria for about another hour before going back home.
About the author
Sarah Grossman was born in Austria but moved to Canada after college. She is an avid and savvy planner and organizer of worldwide travel and enjoys sharing her personal stories to encourage, inspire, and help other travelers. She also adores Austrian music.
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