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Continuing the Vienna-site tradition of collaboration with Austrian students and faculty, Bradley music major Stephanie Castongia ’11 was able to set-up two private flute lessons while studying abroad this May. Before she left campus, she pre-arranged a lesson with a professor of flute at the Vienna Conservatory, Karin Reda. In that one-hour lesson, Stephanie received a great deal of very specific feedback on issues of technique, as well as aspects of interpretation of the piece. Asked what she valued most about the lesson, she said, “I valued the German experience. Back home we learn the French School, and this was a different approach to articulation — more mundane and more deliberate. I also found their dynamics louder.”
Her second lesson was with the principal flutist for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Walter Auer. After attending a performance of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, Stephanie and her fellow flute student Rich Lupo ’09 spotted Walter Auer walking near them, pushing a baby stroller. They approached him for an autograph, and he asked them what had brought them to Vienna. Dr. Kyle Dzapo, professor of music, then explained that they were Bradley music students and that Stephanie was hoping to arrange a lesson. Mr. Auer then gave Stephanie his private cell phone number, and they arranged a lesson for the upcoming weekend. At that lesson, Stephanie was struck by his insistence that “Everything you do must be 100% effective,” emphasizing that she must give full attention to each individual note, as opposed to broader phrases.
In addition to the lesson itself, Mr. Auer gave Stephanie and Dr. Dzapo a private tour of the National Opera House, and when Stephanie offered to pay for the lesson, he refused, explaining that they were his guests and that he was happy to offer the lesson at no cost.
Such learning experiences happen seldom in a lifetime, and this one was made possible by the personal initiative and the passion for the flute itself of both Stephanie and her advisor, Dr. Dzapo.