My name is Abigail Evans, I’m from Essex Junction, Vermont, and I am senior here at St. Lawrence. I am double majoring in Economics and Business with a potential minor in Music. I traveled abroad to Vienna, Austria for the spring semester of my junior year. The donor that made my amazing travel experience possible was the Cabot Family.
As a classical violinist, traveling abroad to Vienna in itself was a huge excitement. Composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, and Haydn either lived, or found their success in Vienna, and because of that, it is often labeled as one of the ‘Classical Music Capitals’ of the world. Vienna was the perfect spot for what I was most interested in.
From my home base in Vienna, Austria, I was fortunate enough to travel to three musically distinct places – Salzburg, Florence, and Budapest – to hear and experience different acoustics, repertoire, and ensembles. My music mentor here at St. Lawrence, Sondra Goldsmith-Proctor, the Musician-in-Residence, and I talked a lot about where I should travel and where I could hear the best, most diverse music. On top of all of that, I was also fortunate enough to travel to Cremona, Italy, and meet my luthier – the man who made my violin.
In Salzburg, I listened to very traditional, classical music. I visited Mozart’s home and went to a quite touristy concert. There was music, dancing, and drinking; it was more of a show than a concert. Although the concert wasn’t anything new or different for me, it was something I really wanted to experience.
In Budapest, I attended a concert where the featured instrument was a tuba. I had no idea what to expect, but I ended up loving all the music and writing down all the pieces so that I could remember to add them to my ‘Study’ playlist on Spotify.
Lastly, when my parents came to visit in February, we traveled to Italy together to see Cremona and Florence. We first stopped in Cremona to drop off my violin with my luthier. I had met my luthier once before, but I had never seen his shop. It was amazing to be able to see the exact spot where my violin was made. My luthier, Elio, had a sheet full of Italian to English translations for all the parts of the violin. Communicating was a bit tough at first, but eventually we were able to string things together and have small conversations. I left my violin with him for a few days so that he could do some maintenance while my parents and I traveled to Florence, where we heard close to ten different ensembles just out on the streets. There were groups with two violins, groups with four violins, two violas, and a bass, and groups with strings mixed with brass and street drums. My parents and I just walked around the city eating gelato and sitting and listening to the different corner groups. From Florence we went back to Cremona to pick up my violin and then made our way back to Vienna.
I am so grateful for the experience I had abroad and for everyone that made it all work out so smoothly. Even though my technique and skill weren’t exactly improved upon by my experience, I feel like a more well-rounded violinist and music connoisseur. I now have lists upon lists full of music that I hope to play one day.