One of my first stops when I am lucky enough to visit Vienna is the bulletin board of the biggest and most central branch of the Vienna Conservatory. Concerts at all three locations are always posted. Before I buy any tickets for musical performances, I check out these free concerts.
The audiences are usually quite small; the visitor rubs shoulders with friends and family of the performers and their professors. The students are excited about their accomplishments, relieved when they finish, and glad to have a few more hands applauding in the audience. I’ve seen fabulous performances of opera arias, piano concertos, string quartets, clarinet and flute solos, and sublime violin and cello combinations. I once saw a young percussionist play a solo piece, about 15 minutes long, which used every single orchestral percussion instrument. His kettle drum made sounds I had no idea a drum could make.
I will admit that given the chance, I will probably never again attend an evening of trombone solos. Mostly, though, I have to say, in the words of Joni Mitchell, “They played real good for free.”
Vienna is a musical city; it’s fun to hang out with young people who are there to play beautiful music.
Join me next time for more explorations in the art and history of Europe!