Twenty-eight friends and supporters of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra took a wonderful musical tour to Europe. Sponsored by the Friends of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, the tour was lead by Maestro José-Luis Novo. The Maestro’s informed and witty discussions about the musical performances we saw immensely added to our understanding and appreciation of all that we heard.

The group departed from Maryland Hall on May 30th and returned on June 9th. In between we visited the beautiful cities of Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague. In Salzburg we saw Mozart’s birthplace and the Marble Hall in the Mirabell Palace where he performed as a child prodigy. We experienced chamber music and a thrilling new production of Handel’s opera, Ariodante. In addition to all the interesting sites we visited in Salzburg, we went to Austria’s Lake District and had a boat cruise on the scenic Lake Wolfgang.

During our time in Vienna, our group toured the magnificent Schonbrunn Palace, had a behind the scenes visit at the Vienna State Opera, and explored the fascinating House of Music museum. We also were able to visit the Mozarthaus where Mozart lived and composed some of his most memorable scores.

We had the pleasure of attending a concert where the celebrated Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder did double duty as soloist and conductor with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in a program of works by Mozart and Beethoven. We also saw a wonderful performance of Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake in a production featuring the original 1964 choreography by Rudolf Nureyev. Members of the Vienna Philharmonic played for the performance.

In Prague, an ancient city of great beauty, we toured the historic center of the city, the  Municipal House (home to the Prague Symphony Orchestra), the Jewish Quarter, and Prague Castle. All sites we will long remember! We had the opportunity to hear the Prague Symphony Orchestra in a program of Gershwin and the world premier of the Jazz Mass.

Our final evening in Prague was very special. Our group had a private concert by the Czech Philharmonic String Quartet in the lovely Palffy Palace, followed by a delicious farewell dinner. A truly wonderful way to end our exciting musical journey!

Stay tuned for information this fall about our next music tour!

Michael Kurtz
FASO Board member