This summer I had in mind to learn to speak German in Vienna. Instead, I participated in the Franz-Schubert-Institute in Baden. I became aware of this opportunity through the University I teach at. The extremely high level of teachers listed peaked my interest in attending the course. Following discussing the Franz-Schubert-Institute with teachers at other Universities and summer institutes, I was convinced of the very high quality I could expect to find in Baden.
My conviction was well-rewarded. The Franz-Schubert-Institute offers the most complete and high quality learning environment I have ever experienced. I know of no other courses that offer so many levels of personal instruction; German language coaching, German diction coaching, acting coaching, as well as the extremely important lectures on poetry. Virtually no other courses offer the number of teachers of international repute that is found on the roster of the Franz-Schubert-Institute. It is not possible to obtain the depth of study of Lieder found in Baden anywhere else in the world. Some courses run for two weeks. There are no other courses that offer four weeks of in-depth study of the Lied.
The fact that it takes place where Lieder composers and the poets that inspired the songs lived and worked is also important. To be immersed in the culture one is attempting to learn makes the process far more rich and fruitful. To experience the essence of Austrian life and the spirit evoked in Schubert's music adds great profundity to the level of its understanding.
To have the opportunity not only to be instructed, but to present the results of that learning in concert is another aspect of the greatness of the Franz-Schubert-Institute, and represents further the intense level of dedication that Deen Larsen has to the art form and to the Austrian community. It is a gift to the residents of Baden to have the opportunity to hear the songs that represent Austria in concert halls all over the world.
In a few days I will be presenting a recital of Lieder, presenting to my own community the riches in music that I garnered in Baden bei Wien. Over the next year, I will prepare advanced students to attend the Schubert Institute so that they might become properly introduced to Lieder.
There are many ways to learn about the art forms of a culture, but I have always found that the best way is to go to the source. I deem the Franz-Schubert-Institute in Baden to be this source. It is my sincere belief that Deen Larsen and the Franz-Schubert-Institute are a most valuable resource to singers and pianists the world over and to the community in Baden bei Wien.