The Stift Altenburger Music Academy is known as "A·M·A" not only in its homeland, Lower Austria, but also in America, Russia, Africa and the Far East.
It was 40 years ago that the then 21-year-old pianist/organist/conductor Robert Lehrbaumer, who was already in the midst of his international concert life, was inspired to create his own master classes: at that time the "Aschbacher Musikakademie". 5 years later the "A·M·A" moved from the Mostviertel to the Waldviertel and thus became the "Stift Altenburger Musik Akademie".
Apart from Mr. Lehrbaumer, who himself ran and still runs the piano classes, the most prominent harpsichordist at her time, Isolde Ahlgrimm, and Mr. Lehrbaumer’s very own organ-professor, Dr. Rudolf Scholz, who taught at the Musikhochschule Wien, took over classes. This way three different generations constituted the body of teachers – until today this model is exemplary to the "A·M·A", since pedagogues as well as performers vary in age.
Further cofounders of "A·M·A" were the then Father Theodor Greindl OS Band an organ-committee around Ferdinand Pfeiffer, who was the enthusiastic music-school-principal and was responsible for the organization. Ever since the beginning, the classes experienced great approval, which led to the insertion of additional docents.
Only three years later, for health reasons, Prof. Ahlgrimm had to relinquish her teaching – it is notable that she played her very last “public tones” on the harpsichord at "AMA". As her successor Prof. Marina Mauriello was appointed, who taught at the Conservatories in Milan and Vienna. Concerning the particularly popular piano class, first Prof. Viktor Teuflmayr (Conservatory of Vienna) gave lessons besides Mr. Lehrbaumer, next the German Professor Eliza Hansen (teacher of Christoph Eschenbach and Justus Frantz), then Mieke Stoel van den Hoek from Amsterdam, later on Mag. Nicoletta Stea and last Mag. Judith Velisek gave piano lessons.
Docents for organ were: Univ. Prof. Otto Bruckner (University of Music in Graz), Mag. Maria Baydanowa, Dr. Michael Stephanides, Dr. Peter Hrncirik, Univ.Prof. Peter Planyavsky, Univ.Prof. Roman Sumereder, Mag. Elke Eckerstorfer (all University of Music in Vienna; Mrs. Eckerstorfer was a participant of "AMA" herself), Kaoru Hiyama (director of church music in Hiroshima/Japan; an "AMA"-participant herself) and finally Mag. Judith Velisek. Also Robert Lehrbaumer occasionally conducts organ-classes.
Additionally body and movement-based courses had proved themselves as very valuable, since musicians obviously have the need to work against physical tensions and to work on their posture. In respect thereof the courses „Music and Movement“, introduced by Mieke van den Hoek, Gi-Gong and recently „fit4music“, conducted by Mag. Paul Friesenbichler, had proved their necessity.
Ulrike Theresia Wegele
Giovanni de Pedro
PIANO-HOBBY & CHILDREN
SOLOISTS & ORCHESTRA
Robert Ward (Los Angeles)
Min Kwon (New York)
Yoon Kwon (New York)
Claude Villaret (Switzerland)
Michele Santorsola (Italy)
Giovanni Ferrauto (Italy)
Felix Carrasco (Mexiko)
Vienna International Orchestra
PORTRAITS u. a.
Christoph Cech u.a.
HS-Prof. Isolde Ahlgrimm (Vienna Music University)
Univ.Prof. DI. Dr. Herwig Thoma (University of Vienna)
Univ.Prof. Dr. Rudolf Scholz (Vienna Music University)
Wolfgang Stuber (Klavierhaus Reisinger)
Christoph Koller, Stefan Knüpfer (Klavierhaus Steinway)
Rektor o.HS-Prof. Dr. Gottfried Scholz (Vienna Music University)
Dr. Peter Hrncirik (Vienna Music University)
Dr. Karin Wagner (Vienna Music University)
Univ.Prof. Dr. Herbert Zeman (University of Vienna)
Richard Koch (manufacture of harpsichords)
Prof. Mag. Johann Sengstschmid (12-tone-composition)
Claude Villaret (Switzerland)
Michele Santorsola (Italy)
Vienna International Orchestra
Cardinal DR. FRANZ KÖNIG
Former Federal President DR. RUDOLF KIRCHSCHLÄGER
Member of the government MAG. WOLFGANG SOBOTKA
Composer HEINZ KARL GRUBER
Former Federal Vice-Chacellor DR. ERHARD BUSEK
Former Federal Minister DR. CASPAR EINEM
SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS
We are ahead of the times:
Within the first five years of A·M·A’s existence, the former supporters of A·M·A in Aschbach were replaced by new decision makers, who did not connect with their predecessors in this point. Robert Lehrbaumer about the circumstances: “The old say ‘You never know what something is good for something else…’, came true. Because this actually was the best possible thing that could have happened to us. Even though I had already accepted A·M·A’s end at this point, several participants did not accept such an end as they had participated several times and simply came to ‘be in love’ with the courses. That is why they themselves founded a ‘self-help group’ in order to perform A·M·A elsewhere. This union eventually led to the event-society “Freunde der Claviermusik” (“Friends of clavier-music”). (Note: the old word “clavier” terms the keyboard-instruments (piano, organ, harpsichord, pianoforte and clavichord), which A·M·A first devoted itself to.)
Those supporters, who were occupied with AMA for a long time, are representatively mentioned: former music-student and current grammar school teacher Mag. Christina Zloklikovits, born Hajek; chief physician Univ. Prof. Dr. Karl Irsigler; medical engineer Univ. Prof DI. Dr. Herwig Thoma, who arranged the cooperation with Altenburg. DI Otto Kelch, technical director of ÖAMTC, was one of the first supporters and he came to be one of the most important promoters. All these deeds and facts truly impressed me.”
Finally and luckily prelate Mag. Bernhard Naber, the former abbot of Altenburg’s baroque abbey hospitality faced the project A·M·A. So in 2012 A·M·A celebrated its 30th jubilee respectively its 25th existence as “Altenburger Music Academy”. Furthermore some of the most important colleagues respectively connections to Altenburg have to be mentioned: Prior Dr. Albert Groiss OSB and subprior Michael Hüttl OSB, who for the longest time had supported AMA at the abbey in Altenburg.
All of a sudden, A·M·A received a new and incomparably brilliant frame. Nonetheless, the amicably relations to Aschbach did not stop, in fact even until today guests from Aschbach come visit A·M·A-concerts in Altenburg.
How did A·M·A cause such a loyalty, so that several persons voluntarily founded "Friends of Clavier-Music“ in order to save A·M·A?
Robert Lehrbaumer: “It is the atmosphere, which everybody who comes in contact with A·M·A, experiences as truly “special”. I cannot tell what the special thing is that we actually do therefor, except for that it is of our last importance to create the most possible perfect and a tenderly personal environment for both participants and docents. Obviously the choice of the docents is depending on their artistic qualities, but also their human qualities are of great matters, since both of those qualities actually directly “rub off” on participants – as we have observed. So I am truly happy that as time passed, also interpersonal relationships between A·M·A and many of the top-class docents have established. (Next to the already mentioned personalities who guested at A·M·A, also Walter Berry, Christa Ludwig, Renate Holm, Kurt Equiluz, Gabriele Sima, Ildikó Raimondi, Gabriele Lechner, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Gottfried von Einem and so forth, did so.)
A likewise important factor is that of the excellence of instruments and facilities, which docents as well as participants consistently appreciate. This is possible because of the thankworthy cooperation with “Bösendorfer”, “Steinway”, “Der Reisinger” and recently “Klaviergalerie”. Collateral-offers constantly underlie the adaption of the changing needs of the participants (studio, workshops, lectures). In terms of organization, not only competent, but also chosen appealing figures are predominant, who repeatedly mutate to “everybody’s darling” – exemplary Kathi Baumann, who is the organization’s “heart”. A deciding reason for the success finally is the harmonious value-for-money ratio. Everybody should be able to afford a first-class course.”
Even though the idea of focusing on keyboard-instruments was fundamental when AMA was founded, over the course of time a quite wider field of interest in the respect of different fields of study was notable – also at universities.
As a consequence of the stagnating harpsichord-course, a vocals-course was offered, which can perfectly be combined with piano and organ.
The fact that the otherwise as soloists acting guitarists and organists very well harmonize with each other in terms of mentality, further opened a new field of variety since new and synchronized possibilities of how to combine single courses with each other were established.
The cooperation with leading US-piano-pedagogues such as Robert Ward and Min Kwon entailed a spectacular and extended course-segment: in terms of the “Concerti Festivals” instrumental soloists and chanters regardless of age and origin are chosen through auditions or demos and are consequently technically and mentally trained to a successful performance with an orchestra which will perform at palaces, castles and abbeys in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland. This attraction gains more and more attention each year.
Besides the elite-orchestra-course and the soloist-master-courses, A·M·A extended its offer to a new category of interest.
Robert Lehrbaumer: “We realized that many interested persons simply were to shy to enroll themselves because the term “master-course” discouraged them to do so. Nevertheless we indeed helped those who weren’t to shy to – in same cases – establish their own successful musician- or pedagogues-career, or at least to offer them an improved education and to initiate them effectively.”
Consequently A·M·A’s participants are compounded by a unique variety since hobby-musicians also participate – the age group varies from 6-86 years.
Each year about 70 music enthusiasts are accepted to participate and some of them participate several times. So far the following nationalities were represented: Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Hungary, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Croatia, Taiwan, China, Chorea, Japan, Russia, Philippines, Iran, Costa Rica, Cuba, Panama, Venezuela, USA and Australia.
Most of the participants are music-students, but also musicians who are already in employment or those who teach, often participate in master classes in order to refresh their skills. Moreover a passive participation is possible for those who do not wish to actively play but who wish to observe the docents in order to pick up pedagogical suggestions; but too for everybody who is interested:
Such an interested person may take the opportunity to participate at the desired courses and discussions without playing an instrument.
Yet it was possible to discover, encourage and support many talents and moreover even some attitudes to life could be changed towards music through A·M·A. Also switches concerning instruments ex. g. piano to harpsichord or vocals had their origin at A·M·A. A·M·A also serves as the springboard to concerts and solo performances for the most outstanding participants. The valuable friendships between participants and docents are refreshed at the annual AMA photo session.
Besides the offered courses, A·M·A also offers performances and concerts, which may be visited by everybody. At the concerts first the docents represent themselves and in later events the participants appear.
"Friends of Claviermusic“ was founded by musicians, music enthusiasts, supporters of young musicians, music pedagogues etc. in order to realize AMA at the abbey of Altenburg.
At this point we may thank our friends, helpers, sponsors, benefactors and last but not least our audience.
HS-Prof. Isolde AHLGRIMM – former prelate of the Vienna Conservatoire.
Mag. Bernhard NABER OSB – abbot of the Abbey Altenburg
Univ.Prof. Dr. Rudolf SCHOLZ – University of Music, Vienna
Christina ZLOKLIKOVITS – Grammar school music teacher
DI. Otto KELCH – technical director of ÖAMTC
Hofrat Dr. Alfred WILLANDER – former head of the cultural department in Lower Austria
UNIV.PROF. DR. KARL IRSIGLER – chief physician
UNIV.PROF. DI. DR. HERWIG THOMA – medical engineer
P. THEODOR GREINDL OSB
P. MICHAEL HÜTTL OSB