Author Archives: Julia Auer

Flûtes du roy

flutes_du_roySlowly gearing up for one of our few public appearances…
A program focused on music written for or even by kings… and with our most coveted title, “Flûte du roy”, the title Jaques Martin Hotteterre was able to claim as Louis XIV.’ chamber flutist. For this one concert only, we also aspire to be “flutes of the king”. Join us at the Musikverein in Vienna on May 3rd!

Piccola collaborazione…

Nancy_Storace_Portrait_By_Pietro_Bettelini_-_original_scanThose of you who have heard our Mozart lectures know that we always like to stress that there was no animosity between Mozart and Salieri, maybe a little misunderstanding here or there and a little venting about it to family, but nothing more. This is very much supported by the fact that there is even a recently rediscovered cantata that the two collaborated on. Entitled “Per la ricuperata salute di Ofelia”, it was written in 1785 by BOTH to celebrate the recuperation of the famous singer Nancy Storace of a vocal affliction. She premiered the role of Susanna in Mozart’s Figaro, and knowing in how much detail Mozart catered to the specific voices of his stars, any vocal trouble she felt must have affected him too! Unfortunately, not even this cantata gave her back her pervious vocal luster… but it bears testimony to the fact that Salieri and Mozart thought enough of the other to at least write a “musical get-well card” with him.

Salzburg Festival

IMG_1116This season was the first time we also got to work with two Road Scholar Tours to the Salzburg Festival – and we had an amazing time.

What made it very special is that we met some old acquaintances who had been on previous tours to Vienna and in some cases, even to our house for a private concert! It was so great to see these music lovers again and we hope to have similar encounters next summer!

The Salzburg Festival is, of course, very special in itself. As the world’s biggest music festival, it has no shortage of famous artists on it’s playbills. This has pretty much always been so, and we received some eye-witness proof of this by a Road Scholar: She gave us a ticket from the Salzburg Festival 1977 where she had seen a production of Cosi van Tutte. On the back, she carefully jotted down the cast, and here comes:

Karl Böhm (conductor), Peter Schreier, Hermann Prey, Gundula Janowitz, Rolando Panerai, Brigitte Fassbänder, Peri Christ…. WOW!

That is an all-star cast if I’ve ever seen one! I wonder if ticket stubs of this year’s Rosenkavalier will be kept and amaze people in 40 years time…


“Nun klingen sie wieder…”

Schöllnast BildWe, as flutists, love flutes, and materials, and the stories historic instruments tell – or don’t tell. „Who played on you? Was it an amateur? Was it a professional? Did you play Beethoven – did you play for Beethoven? When were you put away? Who remembered that your sound was lovely and saved you instead of just throwing you in the fire? What is your story?“

Very often, none of these questions is ever answered. The only one we can find the answer to is: „What is your sound? What is your voice?“
We have had the rare opportunity to meet two lovely flutes from the beginning of the 19th century. They are usually housed in the archive of the Musikverein in Vienna, and haven’t been played for many, many decades. Over the last couple of weeks, we have had the opportunity to prepare them for a concert on April 8th, and it has been a pleasure, like making new friends… Join us if you would like to hear them „sound again – Nun klingen sie wieder!“

We almost danced all night!

306ebadd85e94a92226cd6a4105f0f48Last week saw the 74th return of one of the highlights of the ball-season on Vienna: The Vienna Philharmonic Ball! It takes place in the Musikverein, and yes, that is the famous Golden Hall in the photo, transformed into a ballroom for this special occasion. Those of you who have heard our “Living Their Dream in Vienna”-lecture on Mozart, Schubert and the Strauss family know a bit about the importance  balls had for 18th and especially 19th century social life in Vienna. Nowadays they are mainly an incredibly fun event to go to – and we certainly had fun last week!

Combine the ingredients of great friends, a table on the stage of the Brahms Saal, agreeable beverages, the opportunity to dance to anything from “real” waltzes to Swing and a very whimsical disco-selection while the kids were happily at home with the best babysitter ever, the hours just flew by – we threw in the towel at 4.30 am, and though we had to get up again two hours later for a normal school/workday, it was definitely worth it!

Good though that there was no lecture or concert on Friday, we were decidedly worse for the wear… We keep thinking that a Road Scholar ball-themed tour of Vienna might be fun…hm…we’ll keep pondering that one.

Happy new year, dear Road Scholars!

So, were you watching? The New Year’s Concert 2015 was an especially elegant affair, we thought, and we (in this case, that means Julia and our kids) got to see a LOT of Walter, judging from the frequency of the “there’s Papa!!”-shouts.. And the second flute/piccolo Karin Bonelli did a brilliant job too! We really feel privileged to have day jobs that deal exclusively with beauty and harmony, especially in times like these.

We were really touched that some of you included us in your Christmas mail! Thank you VERY MUCH …  we hope to maybe see some of you again in 2015. Walter will be in New York around the end of February, and maybe some of you get to come back to Vienna? Let us know if you do – and all the best for 2015!

Meanwhile, back stage at the Opera…

IMG_0008All of you who have taken part in the “Great Composers of Europe”-Tour know that your guided tour of the Opera House ends in an exclusive opportunity to have a “behind-the-scenes”-talk with Walter about his everyday(or rather, -night) work at the Vienna State Opera etc. Well, even though Walter works there A LOT, there is some backstage stuff he doesn’t usually see. So he jumped at the opportunity to attend the Opera’s open house day, with opportunities to walk around on stage, see stage machinery and special effect stuff, attend rehearsals and also to see and TRY ON costumes! Walter couldn’t resist this hare-head from Janaceks “Cunning Little Vixen” – our youngest, Anton, wasn’t quite convinced…

The company we keep

securedownload The other day, we had to move Walter’s “Inside the Vienna Philharmonic”-talk to a lovely conference room at Hotel Bristol, just across from the Vienna State Opera. The venue was great, and we appreciated the company we had…

Always on our minds…

Well, with Monday night’s “Vienna 1900”-Lecture the spring season of 2014 is all wrapped up. We will be back for Road Scholar in September, but even in the meantime the tours will receive a good amount of our attention. We are busily working on new material all our groups will be receiving from fall 2014 on: lecture outlines, a CD, even nicer program notes… Apart from that, we also have a “little” flute camp coming up the end of next week, with almost 50 flutists of all ages. Afterwards, we will withdraw to a secluded cabin on an Austrian glacier and sleep for a week. No, just kidding. We have three kids, we know that sleep is overrated, anyway. Afterwards is the Salzburg Festival, which is still tour-free this summer. We will use some of our free time to prepare our talks for the Salzburg Festival tours in 2015! Road Scholar, you are always on our minds…

And: we got mail! A gentleman who took part in the last “Composers of Europe”-tour was so kind as to send us this:
“I was on the recent RS tour at which Julia and a marvelous quartet performed on May 24 at St. Salvator. All the tour group felt most privileged to be invited. During our time in Vienna we saw Traviata and a number of small concerts, but yours was the most interesting because of the excellence and esprit of the musicians.”
Well, thank you very much. That is really appreciated.

Road Scholar encounters and recommendations

We had one of those special Road Scholar moments just before our lecture concert on Sunday. A lady approached us and told us that she had signed up for this tour on recommendation. And seemingly one of the main reasons for the recommendation was us, Julia and Walter! We definitely feel very flattered – thank you so much, Doug and Lilly!
And speaking of recommendations: in August 2015 there will be a series of Salzburg/Lucerne Festival tours. We will be with the groups during the Salzburg part of the tour thrice, and the program in general sounds fantastic. We’d actually love to take it ourselves if we weren’t working there. But we can definitely recommend the tour- it would be lovely to reencounter some of you there.