A photo capturing the beauty of my first trip to the Salzkammergut, a lake district outside Salzburg. Mozart's mother, Anna Maria, was...

The Games and Gifting of a Salzburger Spring Break

A photo capturing the beauty of my first trip to the Salzkammergut, a lake district outside Salzburg. Mozart's mother, Anna Maria, was born in St. Gilgen and Mozart's sister later lived there with her husband and children. Photo by Sherry Davis.
Arranging a spring break sojourn in Salzburg wasn't possible this year, so I did the next best thing: I brought a bit of Salzburg, rather, a bit of Salzburger, to you! As springtime marks the end of the traditional arts calendar and warmer weather warrants interest in other activities, I thought a trivia contest would be a great way to encourage the continuance of patronage and education in the off-season. Mozart isn't seasonal, but subscriptions are, so it's important to remain independently proactive throughout the year. And as community is central to everything I do, the contest was yet another avenue through which I could build and strengthen "the WolfGANG," as I so affectionately refer to the collective!

Given the success of my first trivia contest last summer and the fact that I had enough friends and colleagues who were willing to donate their own original creations (or that of their ensemble, in one case) as gifts, the contest turned out to be almost as good as cruising on the Wolfgangsee...almost! The Salzburger Spring Break Trivia Contest attracted participants from all over the world and their stories of Mozart are as interesting and varied as their geography. It was truly an international affair, as it should always be. The winners were from the United States, Canada, Australia and Sweden. The gifts were donated by generous Mozartians from Austria, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. I'm very grateful to you all for this wonderful shared experience which I hope we'll reprise sooner rather than later! And now, without further ado, meet our spring breakers!


Winner: Debbi McGillicky - Alberta, Canada
Gift: Signature Mozart mug donated by Anand Saha, Owner of Mozart's Bakery and Piano Cafe in Columbus, Ohio. 
Debbi: I traveled to Salzburg in the 90s to fulfill my life's dream of seeing where The Sound of Music was filmed. What I didn't plan on was coming home with a deep desire to listen to the music that surrounded me in Salzburg, namely Mozart. The more I listened, the more I literally fell in love with the man and his music. Mozart's music fills my heart with joy and hope like no other music has ever done. Since coming to know Mozart through his music I have read every book and DVD I can get my hands on including the novel Marrying Mozart and In Search of Mozart. I decided to learn the violin at 35 and took lessons for 10 years and now play in our community orchestra in Red Deer. I have Mozart to thank for that because it was his music that inspired me to learn. It's so wonderful to share my feelings about him with others who love him! I think my family tires of hearing me go on and on, lol! I visit your page and site daily.

Winner: Thérèse Ryde - Stockholm, Sweden
Gift: Transfigured Mozart CD donated by pianist Petronel Malan of South Africa - Listen to excerpts here!
Thérèse: In my youth, I lived in Vienna and in Salzburg for 2 years and you can't avoid Mozart then. I am especially in love with his operas and Figaros Hochzeit is my favourite. I love Cherubin's arias but the letter song, or what it is called, is my favourite. It has so much to it. When Die Graefin und Susanna are writing a love letter to the Graf to trick him. How they are creative together, like friends are, but you can also hear in the music how they are competitors. That part in the opera is for me a true masterpiece. There is so much to it except the beauty of it itself. So much wisdom and understanding of human nature.

Winner: Meredith Ridgway - San Antonio, Texas
Gift: Two concert tickets for the Vienna Mozart Orchestra at the Musikverein donated by Manager Pablo Bolanos - Watch here!
Meredith: Meredith Ridgway is on the music faculty at University of the Incarnate Word and is a founding member of Mozart Festival Texas, a summer festival celebrating the works of Mozart and his contemporaries. Meredith and her husband, Zachary Ridgway, also comprise the Piano Duo "Pianists Ridgway." As a synesthete, Meredith's research interests include synesthesia and its impact on performance and perception.

Winner: Dale Matt - La Mirada, California
Gift: Autographed copy of the novel Marrying Mozart donated by author Stephanie Cowell.
Dale: I'm very much looking forward to "Marrying Mozart" and am grateful to have won it! I'm a native Chicagoan who's lived in Los Angeles for the past decade and a half. Professionally I'm a programmer at the RAND Corporation, but I am also an amateur pianist and church musician. Bach and Mozart were probably my earliest heroes, when I was ten or so. At the time I found Mozart's story to be even more compelling than his music. An early Mozart favorite of mine was his Requiem (again, the back story was as interesting as the music); the score was one of my first music purchases. Today, of course, you can get almost anything you want Mozart-wise online but back in the day I had to special order the score. I still remember how excited I was picking it up at the music store. As time went on my interests ranged through the 18th and into the 19th and then early 20th centuries -- my Twitter name is @LisztNut -- but I always come back to Mozart. Studying his wind and piano concertos and sonatas has been an on and off thing for me throughout the years, and my most recent Mozart flings were with the violin concertos and some of his Masses. I just downloaded The Mozartian app to my Android phone AND tablet and am looking forward to following your exploits on your blog. Again, many thanks for the link you've provided to Mozart, for the trivia contest and for "Marrying Mozart"!

Winner: Clarice Williams - Queensland, Australia
Gift: In Search of Mozart, In Search of Beethoven and In Search of Haydn classical series DVDs donated by award-winning director and producer Phil Grabsky of Seventh Art Productions in Brighton, England - Watch trailers!
Clarice: Mozart's music, especially his operas, are a delight to watch as a theater-goer and a delight to perform! I have been on both sides of this statement. The sublimity, radiance, and at times (especially in his opera seria) drama, is a wonder to hear and to behold!

Winner: Monica Carvalho - Uppsala, Sweden
Gift: Vienna for the Music Lover donated by author Dr. David Nelson, Music Professor and Founder of In Mozart's Footsteps.
Monica: Here is what I have to say about Mozart's music: I am very happy to have found Mozart's music! He has brought a new dimension to my love for drawing since he is a constant companion when I do what I'm good at and he has also expanded my views towards classical music in general. Before Mozart, I never paid attention to operas, they were really out of the question! Now I love all of his operas and listen to them as often as I listen to his other works. I feel blessed to have discovered his music and to be able to enjoy it! And I never tire of saying that it was through Sherry's blog that my journey started. I am eternally grateful!

Winner: Christina Tozer - Ontario, Canada
Gift: Transfigured Mozart CD donated by pianist Petronel Malan of South Africa - Listen to excerpts here!
Christina: I just adore his music and really "found" him as a young person myself because I found classical music very soothing. Also after I watched Amadeus I fell in love with him all over again. One of my daughters continues to love his music as well.