“… a life-altering experience!”

Why? Because our participants are literally learning at the source, experiencing the classical masterpieces while immersed in the very culture that produced them.  They do walk in the footsteps of Mozart and Beethoven and they do perform in some of the very halls where these giants performed. 


Our home base for 13 days is Bratislava, just an hour’s boat ride down the Danube from Vienna.  One of the crown jewels of the Austrian empire it boasts a  rich cultural history; Bartok grew up there, Liszt played his first public recital there and the prodigy Mozart performed there at age 6.  While visiting the city to supervise a performance of his Missa Solemnis in its gothic cathedral, Beethoven fell in love with Babette Keglevich, the daughter of his host. The rich 18th century architecture of Bratislava is hardly distinguishable from the Vienna of empress Maria Theresa.  

What sets our Academy apart from all others is the curriculum of multiple orchestra rehearsals and performance opportunities offered to each participant.  Only through these intensive experiences can soloists learn how to integrate their solo part with the varied timbres and personalities of a live orchestra. Far removed from the monolithic world of the all-conquering 19th century romantic virtuoso, the classical concerti of 18th century Vienna are about the interaction of equals, not unlike singers on the operatic stage.  In that spirit, our soloists re-discover the composer’s intentions, allowing the audience to experience something genuinely vital, creative, and fresh from the source.  Only by the honesty and humility of this approach can the classical arts touch the future and remain relevant to our humanity.


At the climax of the course each participant receives one concert performance on tour with an all-professional Slovak State Opera Chamber Orchestra.

Robert Ward, Artistic Director