The Kronberg Academy was founded in 1993 in Germany to give promising young violinists, violists and cellists a top-flight musical education and the support they need to make successful careers for themselves.
Over the years, string luminaries such as violinists Gidon Kremer and Christian Tetzlaff, violist Yuri Bashmet and the late cellist Mstislav Rostropovich have taught at Kronberg, which is located in the small town of Kronberg in Taunus in west-central Germany. Earlier this month, the academy began fund-raising in South Florida to support its programs and bring some of them, as well as more music, to area stages.
Axel Langhorst is the president of the American Friends of the Kronberg Academy, and he told me Monday that the group’s Palm Beach chapter marks the academy’s first foray into South Florida.
“The academy has been around now for 16 years,” he said. “It has matured, and come into its own.” The academy introduced itself at a press conference Aug. 19 in Palm Beach, and is putting together a series of concerts in the upcoming season in private homes, the Steinway Gallery in Boca Raton, and the Kravis Center.
Langhorst said the Academy was founded to address the concern that would-be soloists needed more guidance from the professional community in order for those careers to take flight. “You can get your master’s from Juilliard, but what do you do next?” he said.
This past March and April, the academy’s violin master classes welcomed 192 students from 42 countries, Langhorst said, and the academy also offers master’s degrees through the University of Frankfurt. Additionally, Kronberg has a relationship with the Manhattan School of Music in New York, and Langhorst said the academy would be interested in partnering with educational institutions in South Florida to advance its mission.
Besides introducing area enthusiasts to the kind of work Kronberg does, Langhorst said Kronberg is hoping to use technology to spread its mission as well, using videoconferencing to conduct a master class across the ocean and the miles. “So you have the real possibility that someone like Yo-Yo Ma could teach a cello student here, from Frankfurt,” he said.
Although some details are not final — Langhorst said the first Kronberg concert at the Kravis might have some crossover music in order to skew the audience younger — the academy has now begun to make its presence felt.
In time, an institution such as this could add real depth to the local classical music environment, and further establish South Florida as an important place nationally for this music.