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Verbier vibrates to the sound of strings

The Swiss conductor, Martin Lukas Meister, has been leading a special camp for young talent at the Verbier Festival Keystone

The Verbier music festival, which has brought some of the world's greatest artists to the resort in canton Valais, is drawing to a close. Apart from stars, the festival offered a unique opportunity for young musicians to learn from top class teachers.

This content was published on August 5, 2000 - 17:22

One of the learning opportunities at this year's festival was the Fiddlefest Summer Camp, led by Martin Lukas Meister, one of Switzerland's youngest conductors.

Meister teamed up with the world famous violinist, Diane Monroe, to conduct a unique workshop combining classical repertoire with jazz. Accompanying Monroe and Meister in the summer camp were acclaimed Jazz players Chris Wiesendanger (piano) and Dominique Girod (bass).

The participants included a group of 20 young string players from Switzerland. They were joined by guests from the Levine School of Music based in Washington. A highlight of the camp programme will be a public open air concert which the children will perform on Sunday at the Hammeau in Verbier, led by Monroe and Meister.

Meister, 27, began studying piano and violin two decades ago, and has a long list of music credits. Ten years ago he founded the youth symphony orchestra "Nota Bene", which under his direction has grown to be the largest youth orchestra in Zurich.

In 1997 he won first prize in the International Opera Workshop in the Czech Republic and, with that honour, the title of guest conductor. He won the 1998 conducting prize from the Swiss Musical Arts Association and the Kiefer-Hablitzel Foundation.

The Verbier Fiddlefest workshop was sponsored by the Verein Fiddlefest, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting and enhancing music education in Switzerland. It is the second such camp featuring young string players - the first one was in 1998.

For the debut workshop at Verbier, Meister worked with the acclaimed teacher and director, Roberta Guaspari-Tzavaras. The programme hosted a group of violinists from the East Harlem Violin Programme in NewYork City, an organisation Guaspari founded in 1980.

by James Macsay

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