Enrolled at the mdw since: October 2019

Programme of study: Orchestral Conducting

Favourite place at the mdw and why: The lawns with their trees, because I love greenery and because nature in general is so important to me.

Favourite place in Vienna: That’s a tough one—I’ve been falling in love with Vienna every day for the past nine years. The parks, especially the Augarten and the Stadtpark, the National Library, the area in front of the Karlskirche at night after the hubbub has died down, and the Steinhofgründe with the Otto Wagner Church and its sparkling copper cupola are just a few of those places in town that I feel drawn to.

What I wish I’d known back when I began my studies: Just what all the word “Leidenschaft” really encompasses. [Leidenschaft = “passion”, but: Leiden = “suffering”—Trans.]

Where would you most like to perform? Anyplace where I’m able to touch people with my music.

When I stand onstage, I tune out the rest of the world—it’s then that the “magic happens”.

Topics preoccupying me at the moment include the environment, the suffering entailed by war, spirituality, self-knowledge, and high sensitivity.

I feel that my greatest success thus far has been getting to know myself better every single day.

© Stephan Polzer

What do you think today’s conductors should bring to the table? And do you think this profession’s self-concept has changed in recent years? If so, how?

It has, of course, but this is a lengthy process. As always, vigour and musical sensitivity top the list of essential qualities—but our profession still is in need of things like more visibility for women who can serve as role models for others.

What’s important to you, as a conductor, in working together with an orchestra?

Most of all, being on an equal footing with its members. As well as having the empathy it takes to sense what the orchestra, as a diverse group, needs at any given moment so that I can adapt to it—but, in doing so, also having the self-confidence to remain true to my musical understanding of the work at hand.

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