The future of the Stauffer Academy

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In 35 years of activity, thanks to the extraordinary dedication of its Masters, the Stauffer Academy has trained more than a thousand Italian and foreign students in Cremona. Starting from the academic year 2021/2022, with the inauguration of the Stauffer Center for Strings in the prestigious new location of Palazzo Stauffer, the landmark institution for higher education for string instrumentalists will enter a new phase of growth and development, projecting its cultural mission into the future, in full respect of its prestigious history and the great tradition of the Italian music school.

The core courses that have made Stauffer famous throughout the world will remain at the center of the Academy’s educational offerings. The annual program of high instrumental specialization will take the name “Stauffer Artist Diploma”: an advanced training course for young instrumentalists and chamber groups of particular artistic talent, led by the historic Maestros Salvatore Accardo (violin), Bruno Giuranna (viola), Antonio Meneses (cello), Franco Petracchi (double bass) and the Cremona Quartet (string quartet).

“I always remember with excitement the day Andrea Mosconi proposed to me to create an Academy of Perfection in Cremona,” Salvatore Accardo recounts. “With the notary Giuseppe Gambaro, enlightened president of the Stauffer Foundation at the time, we decided to set out on this adventure. He asked me to choose my traveling companions. Since 1985, the new Paganini, Enescu, Joachim, Kreisler, Menhuin, Queen Elizabeth, Indianapolis, as well as the konzertmeisters of the most prestigious international orchestras and the most representative chamber ensembles have trained in my class. I am certain that the Academy, in its new course, will continue to be the extraordinary hothouse of musicians that has distinguished it and will live up to the great Italian musical tradition of musicians such as Michelangeli, Pollini, Giulini, Muti, Abbado together with the Trio di Trieste and the Quartetto Italiano.”

Salvatore Accardo

The course for orchestral first violins. The first major novelty in Stauffer’s academic plan is the creation of the “Concertmaster Artist Diploma”: the world’s first advanced course for concertmasters, an advanced professional training program taught by first violins (5 men and 5 women) at the helm of Europe’s ten leading orchestras: Noah Bendix-Balgley (Berliner Philharmoniker), Lorenza Borrani (Chamber Orchestra of Europe), Vesko Eschkenazy (Concertgebouworkest), Laura Marzadori (Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala), Andrea Obiso (Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia), Lisa Schatzman (Luzerner Sinfonieorchester), Roman Simovic (London Symphony Orchestra), Volkhard Steude (Wiener Philarmoniker), Olga Volkova (Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra), Hanna Weinmeister (Philharmonia Zürich).

“I am thrilled to become a Stauffer Academy lecturer at the Stauffer Center for Strings in Cremona, which offers an ambitious and innovative curriculum. And I am especially happy to be teaching at the First Shoulder Violin training course, where young talents have the opportunity to train with some of the best concertmasters in Europe,” says Noah Bendix-Balgley, First Shoulder Violin of the Berliner Philharmoniker.

Noah Bendix-Balgley

“I attended the Stauffer Academy with Maestro Salvatore Accardo for ten years,” recalls Laura Marzadori, a former student of the Academy who is now First Shoulder Violin of the Teatro alla Scala Orchestra in Milan. “Ten precious years where I also had the opportunity to learn chamber music, collaborating with the great artists Salvatore Accardo, Bruno Giuranna, Rocco Filippini and Franco Petracchi. I find the Concertmaster course to be a wonderful initiative! Creating a course by inviting important backs from all over Europe is something extremely innovative and allows the young musician to have a broad and comprehensive view of this important role.”

Laura Marzadori

Masterclasses with international soloists. Another absolute novelty is the activation of an exclusive masterclass program, for which the Stauffer has called together some of the most appreciated and influential artists on the international music scene. Starting next October, the faculty of the Stauffer Academy will thus host more than 30 new outstanding teachers, many of them gathered together for the first time in a single academy. Among them:

violinists Michael Baremboim, Lisia Batiashvili, Daniel Hope, Julian Rachlin

violists Sarah McElravy, Antoine Tamestit, Lawrence Power

cellists Sol Gabetta, Steven Isserlis, Mischa Maisky, Alisa Weilerstein

the double bassists Uxía Martínez Botana, Ödön Rácz

the Maisky Trio

“I am especially pleased to begin this new and prestigious collaboration with the Stauffer Academy at the Stauffer Center for Strings,” declares internationally renowned violinist Daniel Hope. “Through my “Hope Academy,” which is held at Neuhardenberg Castle in Germany, I have come to understand how crucial it is to accompany talented young musicians at the beginning of their professional journey, helping them to understand what the fundamental steps they will need to take in order to succeed in setting up a long-term career. For the first time outside of Germany, this “traveling academy” of mine will arrive in Cremona to carry out, in synergy with Stauffer, an intense and stimulating program of musical workshops aimed at the new generation of professional instrumentalists.”

Daniel Hope

Creative Associates program. With the start of the next academic year, the Stauffer Academy thus sets itself the ambitious goal of positioning itself among the world’s most modern and visionary musical institutions. Further evidence of this is the creation of the “Creative Associates Program,” a series of extraordinary training courses designed to explore musical languages and cultures of the world and promote an increasingly participatory and inclusive artistic vision, capable of breaking down barriers and creating unprecedented and unexpected synergies. Leading these innovative workshops will be some of the most eclectic and creative musicians on the international scene: violinist Viktoria Mullova and cellist Matthew Barley, who will curate an improvisation course for strings; Aleksey Igudesman, a versatile composer and violinist, who will explore different styles, techniques and musical genres with the workshop “Strings around the World,” along with the collaboration of guest artists including Roby Lakatos; Abel Selaocoe, a South African cellist who is redefining the boundaries of his instrument, connecting different cultures, between the traditional and the contemporary; gamba violist Maddalena Del Gobbo, who will present a course devoted to German and Austrian music of the late 18th century; Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero, who will offer a course focusing on the piano and chamber music repertoire for strings, open to both pianists and string instrumentalists; mandolinist Avi Avital, who will curate a course for mandolin, also open to string instrumentalists; American violinist Elena Urioste, among the foremost experts on yoga practice to support instrumental performance and gesture.

“Italy has always been one of my favorite countries to work in. This bold new initiative of the Stauffer Center for Strings in Cremona is the ideal place to implement our innovative course,” says violinist Viktoria Mullova. “The Center’s ideals align perfectly with our goals and commitment to supporting extraordinarily talented young musicians. I am very pleased to start this collaboration.”

Viktoria Mullova

Artistic residencies. An integral part of this extraordinary project for the rebirth of the Stauffer Academy is the establishment of a series of strategic partnerships that will also lead the Cremonese institution to collaborate with some of the world’s most prestigious international academic organizations and specialized ensembles:

  • Yale University and the Royal College of Music in London. In fact, Stauffer has signed two historic multi-year agreements with the School of Music at Yale University and the Royal College of Music in London, respectively one of the most sought-after universities in the United States of America and one of the most important conservatories in Europe. “We are delighted that the Royal College of Music is partnering with the Stauffer Academy,” says Stephen Johns, Artistic Director of the Royal College of Music in London. “We can’t wait to start working, studying and making music together with our students and professors in this new venue in the historic center of Cremona. We hope that our projects and mutual collaboration will grow stronger and develop more and more in the years to come.”

Beginning in 2021/2022, the two iconic institutions will thus be in residence at the Stauffer Center for a period of three years: faculty and students from Yale University’s School of Music and London’s Royal College of Music will meet with the masters and students of the Stauffer Academy, bringing to life in Cremona an artistic and cultural exchange program unprecedented in the world of higher music education.

“The partnership between Yale School of Music and Cremona’s Stauffer Center for Strings represents the best expression of a new artistic vision that elevates music as a source of hope, rebirth and joy for all humanity, through the fundamental contribution of emerging artists from around the world,” says Dean Robert Blocker, among the most influential figures in the global academic music community. “Our two institutions look to music as a bridge to foster understanding and understanding between peoples and cultures. Through this important collaboration we will be able to support each other toward the realization of our common ambitions.”

  • From baroque to contemporary. The Stauffer Academy will also host two specialized ensembles among the most influential on the international music scene: the Ensemble intercontemporain, the iconic ensemble founded by Pierre Boulez, which will curate a residency program dedicated to contemporary music for stringed instruments, and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, one of the world’s leading ensembles for performance on period instruments, which will curate a residency program dedicated to Baroque performance practice for stringed instruments, under the leadership of violinist Elisa Citterio, Music Director of the Tafelmusik.
  • American and European youth orchestras. Finally, Stauffer has signed an agreement with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, the symphonic ensemble of Harvard University, and EUYO, the European Union Youth Orchestra, to conduct a residency program at the Stauffer Center in 2022, aimed at creating new professional training opportunities for the best string instrumentalists from prestigious youth orchestral ensembles.