At the start of the new academic year, Solway Music Camp fellowship participants shared their personal experiences with those who might very well become their 2019 successors.

It is the second year Solway Investments Group has partnered with Europe’s most known opera festival in Salzburg to run the Solway Music Camp fellowship program for young creatives residing in the regions of the Company’s operations.

This year Solway financially supported all four camps run as a part of the festival’s childrens program from July 15 to August 12 in Salzburg. In total, 158 participants aged 8 – 17 years, from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Norway, United Kingdom, Israel, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Canada, USA, Somalia, Guatemala, United Arab Emirates, and China attended the music camp for children and youth. Solway Music Camp fellowship finalists had the honor of participating in the latest out of the 4 one week long sessions. Their camp was based on Hans Werner Henze’s opera The Bassardis.

Natalia Diaz and Sophie Ajuria (Guatemala), Olga Lubchenko and Stanislaw Chyzh (Ukraine) and Verce Andonova and Kosdantin Atanasov (Macedonia) were given an outstanding opportunity to experience the world’s most renowned classical music festival by participating in the Salzburg Festival Opera Camp for Children and Youths.

In 2018 more than 60 creatives, aged 13 – 16, expressed their interest in applying for Solway’s fellowship program. 24 continued their journey to the Stardrom after the first elimination round was completed, and only 6 (2 per country) were awarded the full scholarship that covered travel and visa expenses, accommodation, as well as educational and entertainment activities in Salzburg, Austria.

Together with 38 other campers from 15 countries they spent a week from August 6 until August 12, without parents, in the Schloss Arenberg working with world-renowned music educators, theatre professionals, stage designers and dancers, while staging a unique version of the opera, The Bassarids, that was also performed at the Salzburg Festival. Together with the other campers the fellows visited the dress rehearsal of The Bassarids and were invited backstage.

Before visiting the rehearsal of the original work, The Bassardis camp participants received an age-appropriate introduction to the piece. At a round table session with Alexandra Marielle Kahn and the playwright Christian Longchamp they talked about the opera, discussed the production and came away with insights into the work of the greatest professionals in the opera world.

Stanislaw Chyzh, the 2018 Music Camp fellow from Ukraine shared his experience by admitting that he had never imagined it was possible to stage a full-sized opera performance in one week. He also said that participation in the opera camp left him with a variety of new friends and led to the decision to apply for any and all European university scholarships in international studies.

“Salzburg Festival opera camps provide you with a great opportunity to meet people from many countries and create something great together. You do not need to be from the same background to stage a real performance.” – explained Stanislaw.

“This opportunity gave me a whole new set of options. For example, I am now thinking of applying to the Music University to study jazz, which would never have come to my mind if I hadn’t had this experience. Everyone in the camp told us that art is the best thing ever. I do believe it is.” – said Natalia Diaz from Guatemala.

Olga Lubchenko from Ukraine said that one of the most important things she learned from taking part in the Solway Music Camp fellowship was to not be scared of trying something new. She explained that during the camp she was given the opportunity to learn to play percussions even though she had never done it before. “Playing percussions in public was scary but ultimately very fulfilling.”

In her interview Helga Rabl-Stadler, the president of the Salzburg Festival summarized what the participants previously said: “Many develop an intense relationship with music, music theater, and opera. These are experiences that shape you and last for a long time.”

“We introduced this program in 2017 and we are certainly going to continue. We choose the talented youngsters at the crucial age of 14 – 17 years – the period in life that will have a great influence on their future self. We are still testing the idea and after the next year we will likely have a better sense of how to develop the program further. As for today, the results indicate that this initiative not only influences the creativity of the participants but also opens doors in the world in which they live, and this is a positive thing.” – commented Dan Bronstein, CEO of the Solway Investment Group.