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"A place of growth": Eva Beneke, guitar

'My years as a student in Weimar (2002–2007) were a time of intensive personal and artistic development—of a kind which one probably experiences only once in one’s musical career: striving and yearning for exceptional artistry, spending hours on end at the Bachhaus, being surrounded by the best guitarists of the young generation and their engaging teachers, with the voice students right next door ...

My much-admired teacher, Prof. Thomas Müller-Pering, had a unique, inspiring ability of getting each student to achieve to their full potential. His motivational skills and inspiration, as well as his stature as an artistic and personal role model are unforgotten and are more than ample reason for great gratitude. It is one of my own goals to offer my students similar 'wings'. The lessons with Prof. Marianne Steffen-Wittek were also particularly important to me, as they provided me with the necessary self-confidence and useful structures for my current role as tutor for guitar at music academies. A special highlight was my trip to the guitar festival in Peru, which was supported financially by the University's Förderverein and allowed me to explore the guitar-world: my first master class as a teacher, and a fantastic concert at Lima!

Weimar was an amazing home to me for over four years—a cocoon as well as a place of growth. As an alumna, I look forward to every visit and hope that the University of Music Weimar will continue to develop on the basis of its tradition, as an exceptional place for future music professionals.'

Dr. Eva Beneke, St. Paul (USA)

Since September 2012, Eva Beneke teaches guitar (major course in Bachelor's and Master's programmes) at the McNally Smith College of Music in St Paul, Minnesota (USA); as a freelance artist, she regularly gives much acclaimed concerts.
Further information: www.evabeneke.com 

"Most rewarding, both musically and personally": Hélène Tysman, piano

'Of all the institutes at which I studied, I can remember Weimar most vividly. The city is beautiful, and its atmosphere is truly inspiring—not least because of the heritage of Goethe, Schiller, Liszt, Wagner, etc. I can remember well my audition for the Concert Diploma programme: just beforehand, I had managed to visit Goethe's former living quarters—right before my performance of a Beethoven sonata... and it helped!

During my studies, there were plenty of opportunities for performances and projects in which to participate. Indeed, the main building at the Platz der Demokratie has large concert hall with a stunning acoustic. In addition, Weimar has a wonderful concert hall in which I was able to play my final recital together with an orchestra.

The teaching staff at the Department of Keyboard Instruments is also brilliant. Of course, I had applied here in order to study with the fantastic Prof. Grigory Gruzman. I am truly indebted to him. I also always much enjoyed meeting other teachers and musicians at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar in examination recitals, student performances of individual classes, concerts, etc. I am very grateful for the time I was able to spend at the LISZT University of Music. It was most rewarding, both musically and personally.'

Hélène Tysman

Since 2013, Hélène Tysman has been living in Paris as a freelance pianist. She recently released her second Chopin-CD (Ballades) with the label OEHMS Classics. 

"A particular source of support": The Klenke Quartett

Photo: Marco Borggreve
'The Klenke Quartett was founded at a time of discontinuity and great changes. When we began our studies in Weimar before the re-unification of Germany, we had envisaged the typical, rigidly planned career of orchestra musicians. With the fall of the iron curtain, there were suddenly stunning new possibilities. As a string quartet, we could now participate in international master classes and competitions. We began to consider a joint career as an ensemble, and put this plan into action step by step. The University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar supported us in every possible way in these endeavours—without bureaucratic hurdles and, at times, by unconventional means.

The rector at the time, Prof. Wolfram Huschke, provided a particular source of support when making crucial decisions that would help us find our way as a professional string quartet. We are also truly grateful to our revered teachers Prof. Brunhard Böhme, Prof. Karl-Georg Deutsch, Prof. Maria-Luise Lehenseder-Ewald, Prof. Alfred Lipka, and Prof. Frank Strauch, whose exceptional teaching laid the foundation for our development.

Through the endowment of a professorship for chamber music, to which Ulrich Beetz (Abegg Trio) was appointed, we were able to meet a teacher who guided our journey into the world of concert performances with artistic experience and very practical advice. The appointment of Norbert Brainins, leader of the legendary Amadeus Quartet, as visiting professor was another particularly dear gift made to us by the LISZT UNIVERSITY: we were able to strengthen our relationship with our important mentor and esteemed friend. His charisma incited our passion for the Classical masters Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Haydn, and provided the essential building blocks for our successful CD recordings.

We look back to these inspirational years of learning at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar with tremendous gratitude. We are delighted to be able to pass on some of our knowledge and experience to the next generation.

Klenke Quartett: Annegret Klenke (violin), Beate Hartmann (violin), Yvonne Uhlemann (viola) und Ruth Kaltenhäuser (cello)

Today, the Klenke Quartett can look back on twenty years of joint music-making. Numerous CD recordings give evidence to the diverse artistic projects of the four alumni.
Further information: www.klenke-quartett.de

"A true treasure trove for all": Johannes Klumpp, conducting

'The spirited dedication of the individual, a strong interest in the students' progress—and a profound knowledge which matches this dedication: the unique success story of Weimar’s conducting school is, to a large extent, the result of these qualities of its teachers. Looking back to my studies with Prof. Nicolás Pasquet and Prof. Gunter Kahlert between 2001 and 2008 brings to mind numerous moments of exceptional caring, which fill me with great gratitude.

Weimar forces one to concentrate on the matter at hand, to focus on oneself, yet the view is directed outward (and forward): I never felt that people were comfortably resting on their own laurels here.

The 'Weimar system' means that all students can have lessons not only with their own teachers, but also with all other colleagues, allowing numerous experts to watch over one's progress and putting students on the minds of several different people. As a result, students engage with varying idiomatic styles—a true treasure trove for all students!

When training as a conductor, direct contact-time with an orchestra is the most important. Weimar's education is leading also in this respect. Fruitful co-operations with orchestras in Jena, Sondershausen, Gotha, and Greiz, as well as the trips to Marienbad, Lodz, and Teplice—in addition to the institute's own orchestra—enable students to learn how to work with orchestras not only in theory, but in practice.

A profound technical instruction as the toolkit for the job as conductor, in combination with a development of the mind: all of this happens in carefully-planned manner, yet without being dogmatic. Very simple, yet so complex. Weimar has demonstrated that it can work.'

Johannes Klumpp, Essen

Johannes Klumpp is the principal conductor and artistic director of the Folkwang Kammerorchester Essen. At the Sommermusikakademie Schloss Hundisberg, he conducts the festival orchestra and holds the post of artistic director. Between 2009 and 2011, Johannes Klumpp was assistant conductor ('Erster Kapellmeister') at the Musiktheater im Revier in Gelsenkirchen.