|The statue of Mozart in Vienna's Burggarten. Flickr Image: Hazboy.|
Glücklicher Geburtstag, Mozart! Happy 254th Birthday! Although it hasn't been quite four years, it seems like an eternity since I traveled to Mozart's native Austria to celebrate his 250th birthday anniversary in May 2006. I was in a dream-like state for the entirety of the holiday. It was my second trip to Vienna and Salzburg, but the operas, concerts and exhibitions were truly beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Nostalgic geography aside, the beautiful reality of Mozart's music is that celebratory regard can be just as jubilant and sentimental at home as it is anywhere else in the world.
As an alternative to strolling the streets of Vienna, I spent my day at the office listening to his music and I watched excerpts of In Search of Mozart during my lunch hour, introducing a colleague to his music and biography. My sister Sheryl ordered a Sacher torte from Vienna which served as the most delectable dessert imaginable (only an authentic birthday cake would do!) and afterwards we watched part of the irresistible Academy award-winning, Amadeus.
Amidst the festivities, I reminded myself that this celebration also implies a necessary reflection upon my service to the legacy. What am I doing to support initiatives that advocate the scholarship and performance of this music? What measures am I taking to ensure its sustainability? Recent developments from my trip to Prague last summer have presented new opportunities to do so.
In June 2009, I was given an award to attend the joint conference of the Mozart Society of America and the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music where I met many brilliant scholars and artists. I met a theater scholar, Michael Huettler, from the Don Juan Archive in Vienna. He was studying Mozart's early Singspiel Bastien und Bastienne and his findings on its performance history were fascinating. Our meeting and correspondence led to my freelance work for the archive as an independent research assistant. The archive's significance lies in its examination of the role of the Ottoman Empire in the history of European musical drama, which includes the study of Mozart's unfinished Zaide and his Viennese breakthrough Singspiel Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio).
Another inspiring outcome from my trip to Prague was a progressed relationship with the Mozart Society of America. I became a member in 2006, but until June, I had only known and worked with members remotely on projects relating mainly to scholarly online sources, our new website and social media. Dialogue following our successful and enjoyable meeting in Prague indicates that my membership will include greater responsibilities in the new year. Future tasks pertain to providing assistance with meeting and concert organization in the US and Europe as well as the Friends of Bertramka, a group devoted to supporting the rehabilitation efforts of the Villa Bertramka in Prague, a significant Mozart historical landmark.
Although this past year was plagued with disappointments from a lack of professional opportunities and scholarships for graduate studies due to the economic recession (I was accepted to the MMus Historical Musicology program at King's College London where I planned to study with Dr. Cliff Eisen), there have been advantages to this hardship. It has certainly tested and proven my affinity, devotion and enthusiasm for annexing my life to musical vocation. I'm relentless in my pursuit. It is a love that is boundless. This artistic light is sometimes suspended, but never diminished, and it has remained an ever constant strength in my life. I'm very excited and hopeful for what is to come in 2010!