German Tour 2003 – The Experience of a Lifetime
In June and July of 2003, I, along with 23 other members of the Melbourne String Ensemble, ventured off to the other side of the world for a social and musical experience none of us will ever forget. It was 16 days of hard, but rewarding work, and we all benefited enormously from the intensive rehearsals and masterclasses with renowned German teachers and professors. As well as undergoing a profound musical experience, we also experienced another culture in depth , as we were billeted for six nights in Stuttgart and Cologne, and did a tremendous amount of sightseeing in the various cities and towns we visited. Personal highlights of this aspect of the tour were the daytrip to the historical town of Heidelberg, the visit to the palace Sans Souci and the sightseeing at Bonn, especially seeing the house where Ludwig van Beethoven was born. We performed at several indoor and outdoor venues in Germany, including the Tiergarten (Berlin), Bauerle-Saal (Stuttgart), The Music High School in Stuttgart and the Glasmuseum (Rheinbach) and the Australian Embassy in Berlin where we were honoured with a reception following our performance to several hundred people. I have made many lifelong friends from the German tour, and continue to keep in contact with many who have since left the MSE. The tour was also a great opportunity to meet and mix with uni students who either study music or pursue string playing through the MSE while undertaking another university course.