Karklina Trio & University of Music and Performing Arts Graz
5 voices about the life and career of young artists and the role of universities to prepare them for it
One of our endeavors at the ACF Washington is to collaborate with art universities in Austria by giving their students and young artists opportunities to perform in front of an American audience. Through this we hope to spark their motivation and increase their professional network during the crucial transition period from school environment to the professional world. For October we invited a group of young musicians from the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (KUG), the Karklina Trio, to perform in Washington D.C. Two artists of the Karklina Trio will perform at the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center as part of the Kids Euro Festival on October 21, presenting a journey to classical music for children. On October 23, we are hosting the event My (He)Art in Exile about the emigration and remigration of Austrian actors and directors as a result of the Austrian “Anschluss” with Nazi Germany, with the Karklina Trio performing music by Arnold Schönberg and Erich Wolfgang Korngold and a lecture given by Professor Evelyn Deutsch-Schreiner from the KUG.
We have asked each of our visiting artists, as well Professor Evelyn Deutsch-Schreiner and Maria Elisabeth Müller-Lorenz, representative of the KUG, to answer one question related to today's musical profession and the guidance necessary for developing artists to be provided by art universities.
Wherein do you see your main tasks as part of the teaching staff of KUG with regards to young artists making a name for themselves today?
My role at the KUG is to teach young actors and actresses the theoretical basics of theater: theater history, dramaturgy, how to analyze plays, how to analyze historical contexts and processes. Actors as persons of public interest have to be capable of answering various questions on TV or in newspapers by using a broad spectrum of knowledge.
What do you think is the most important part you have to teach young students of performing arts in order to prepare them for their rather difficult task to achieve a career in the art world?
Theater is a rapidly changing art. My students will be professionals also in 40 years from now; there is nobody who can seriously claim to know how theater will look like in the future. I think the most important part I have to teach them is curiosity for new tendencies and flexibility in using their artistic competences. In my lectures, I try to convey the importance of contextuality and processuality of the arts in general and of making art too.
Maria Elisabeth Müller-Lorenz
Which aspects of development are mostly emphasized during studies at the KUG? Artistic development, academic skills, entrepreneurship or soft skills?
Our students acquire all these qualities step by step. As a musician, singer or actor they not only become an artist, it is also important to have many other abilities, such as flexibility, tolerance, open-mindedness, business sense, self-confidence, and finally, you have to be cosmopolitan. Soft skills play a decisive role. Ultimately it doesn't matter where your colleagues and stage-partners come from, or what their religion or skin color is. It is always about art – about thinking, making, and living art. And all this is what students learn during their studies at KUG.
You went from being a student at the KUG to becoming a lecturer there. Experiencing both sides within a short time span, which aspects of your studies do you think are especially important to be taught to young artists today?
During my study I found it very important to engage with the different aspects and roles of the piano and I had both the opportunity and freedom to explore what interested me, such as playing musical instruments at a young age, playing solo, performing contemporary and chamber music and accompanying instruments and voice. With regards to teaching I think that since the occupational profile of a musician is changing constantly, today flexibility is especially important.
As most classical musicians, you started out at a very young age. During your studies at the KUG, you found a liking for chamber music, which is evident in your engagement for the Karklina Trio. What do you think will come next in your career and in which ways has the KUG prepared you for it?
Nowadays it is hard to predict what will come next. I hope I will eventually get a job in an orchestra while enjoying my contribution at the Karklina Trio. To be honest, I think most schools are more focused on producing soloists rather than orchestra musicians, which puts you as a student in a tough position. I would say that the KUG is on the way to changing that old tradition, by trying to prepare students more realistically for their lifes after university. In the end, there is no better preparation than to start chamber music early, play as substitute in as many orchestras as one can, and do auditions as early as possible!
You have been performing with the Karklina Trio for one year now, but you also hold a position as second concertmaster of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. How important is it for you personally to have a relatively secure position in an orchestra besides your other musical activities, such as with the Karklina Trio?
Growing up with the Bruckner Symphony recordings of Eugen Jochum and the Staatskapelle Dresden, in which my grandfather was playing the viola, I knew already as a teenager that I wanted to play in a great Symphony Orchestra, if I was ever to become a professional violinist. Playing chamber music in my free time in several formations has always been very important to me but I always knew that making a decent living, solely relying on chamber music engagements is very, very difficult. Being concertmaster in the Vienna Radio Symphony is my dream job and it also gives me the freedom to play chamber music with friends without any pressure, which makes it even more enjoyable!