The ECMTA Autumn Gathering October 10-14, 2013 in Savonlinna was by all accounts one of the most successful events since the founding of the ECMTA in 2007. (Complete programme) 65 teachers from 11 countries and 39 students from 8 conservatories attended the meeting, hosted impeccably by teachers and staff of the Savonlinna Music Institute and its genial director Sampsa Konttinen (one of the founding architects of the ECMTA). In addition to the usual Members' Forum, masterclasses, student concerts, and conferences, the meeting presented a large number of new features: thematic work groups were led by ECMTA Board members Petras Kunca, Marje Lohuaru, Filippo Faes, Carsten Dürer, and José Manuel Gil and, for the first time, the meeting featured an Ensemble-in-Residence, the Henschel Quartet from Germany.
Concerts included not only student ensembles of all ages from participating conservatoires, but also riveting performances by the Henschel Quartet and the Savonlinna String Quartet. 17 teachers from 9 countries experimented with team-teaching, demonstrating common and complementary pedagogical approaches. Also for the first time, the ECMTA meeting was supported by EU Social Funds obtained by the Savonlinna Music Institute through the Regional Council of South Savo. Erasmus framework for a number of professors was provided by the Sibelius Academy. All of these factors, along with the announcement at the meeting that the ECMTA had been accepted as a member of the European Music Council combined to signal a new and very promising stage of development for the association on an international and institutional level.
The content of the meeting was exceptionally rich. The thematic workgroups explored topics ranging from psychology, public relations, EU funding and international collaboration, education, and management for ensembles. Renowned composer Timo-Juhani Kyllönen presented an overview of recent Finnish music for chamber ensembles, and Professor Kari Uusikylä gave a detailed scientific conference on talent education and behaviour of groups. Board member Filippo Faes provided a demonstration of his interdisciplinary Scintille concert/lecture series, and Carsten Dürer, Director of Staccato Verlag and Editor of Ensemble Magazine spoke about professional survival skills for chamber musicians. Throughout the weekend, performance coach Tero-Pekka Henell ran 'goalkeeper clinics' and on Saturday, Guildhall School professor David Dolan led a workshop on classical improvisation with students who had never before attempted this approach in a collective setting, combining both a practical process with a non-judgmental attitude to obtain remarkable results.
Also on Saturday, after early morning sessions with thematic working groups, professors from Estonia, Russia, Sweden, Spain, Cyprus, United Kingdom, and Lithuania participated in the Members' Forum with presentations on repertoire, festivals, education, and even the strategic planning for the creation of a foundation. As always, the meeting was a fantastic opportunity to get a broad range of best-practice models concerning chamber music teaching and promotion from across Europe.
The regional press gave the event excellent daily coverage, with full-page spreads and copious interviews and photos, all of which were regularly posted in the foyer of the school. We noted with particular pleasure the impressive participation of Finnish teachers - at least 30 teachers from Mikkeli, Kuopio, Savonlinna, Espoo, and Helsinki. The presence of students of all ages and teachers from all levels of music education increased the interest and value of the event. Even the youngest student ensembles proved themselves to be exemplary learners, demonstrating both musical and collaborative skills that were admired and appreciated by teachers, older students, and the public. They fulfilled their role as musical ambassadors with dignity and simplicity, participating with impressive ability in three concerts. As a further proof of the power of music to provide models of international collaboration and dialogue, student string quartets from Tallinn and Helsinki performed beautifully alternate movements of Mendelssohn's Octet alongside our Ensemble-in-residence, the Henschel Quartet, after only two days of rehearsal.
The last day began with a spectacular cruise on Lake Pihlajavesi, aboard the S/S Paul Wahl, one of the last of a special model 1919 double-decked leisure boats to still possess its fully operational original engine. While the ECMTA Board worked on the upper deck - surely our most exotic location for a meeting - members enjoyed the tea and coffee bar below. The rest of the day included the General Meeting, the presentation of work group results, and final lessons and rehearsals for the final concert. The final concert of the ECMTA Autumn Gathering featured marvelous performances from six of the student ensembles from Mikkeli, Tartu, Helsinki, Kazan, and Tallinn participating in masterclasses throughout the weekend. After Intermission, ECMTA Secretary Filippo Faes delighted the audience with a spontaneous and brilliant 'reflection on Debussy's Reflets dans l'eau'. Afterwards, teachers and students retired to a local restaurant for dinner and discussions that lasted late into the night. A fine ending to an engaging and inspiring weekend!
Special thanks to ECMTA Vice-Chairman Keijo Aho for his role as liaison and coordinator for this meeting.
Many thanks to
Ensemble-in-Residence: Henschel Quartet
Guest speakers: Professor Kari Uusikylä, Timo-Juhani Kyllönen, Filippo Faes, David Dolan, Tero-Pekka Henell, and Carsten Dürer
Workgroup leaders: Petras Kunca, Marje Lohuaru, Filippo Faes, Carsten Dürer, and José Manuel Gil
Members' Forum presenters: Piret Väinmaa, Estonian Chamber Music Teacher´s Association In Corpore, Evan Rothstein, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Alexander Bonduryansky, Chamber Music Association of the International Union of Musicians, Moscow, Matti Makkonen, Savonlinna Music Academy, Michael Tsalka, Lilla Akademien Stockholm, Jose Manuel Gil de Galvez, Concerto Malaga- Fundation Hispania Musica , Yiannis Miralis, European University of Cyprus, Dinara Galeeva, Kazan State conservatoire, Petras Kunca, Lithuanian Musicians' Union
Masterclass teachers: Henschel Quartet, Marje Lohuaru, Petras Kunca, Alexander Bonduryansky, Krzysztof Sperski, Anna Prabucka-Firlej, Filippo Faes, Michael Tsalka, Dinara Galeeva, Yiannis Miralis, Natalia Sakkos, David Dolan, Evan Rothstein, Pekka Helasvuo
Guest artist performers: Henschel Quartet, Savonlinna Quartet
Participating student ensembles in masterclasses and concerts from Sibelius Academy, Moscow Conservatory, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, H. Eller Music School (Tartu), Kuopio Conservatory, Savonlinna Music Institute, Mikkeli Music Institute, Kazan State Conservatory
Student performers: Anastasia Lapteva, Liliya Husnullina, Ellen Simos, Emilia Simos, Oili Heikkilä, Robert Traksman, Marcel Johannes Kits, Rasmus Andreas Raide, Kasmir Uusitupa, Tami Pohjola, Aino Räsäsen, Senja Rummukainen, Taavi Orro, Jaan Kapp, Ayane Matsuura, Marjatta Ilomäki, Kristiina Hirvonen, Mikhail Kalashnikov, Roman Filipov, Philipp Usov, Juho Jolkkonen, Matias Penttinen, Outi Karhu, Akseli Kärkäinen, Lassi Saksa, Juho Rasimus