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Je donne


Elizabeth Vachon

Bachelor’s in performance (2015), DESS in performance (2016), master’s in performance (2018), DEPA in performance (2019) graduate

Instrument: violin
Exchange program as part of a master’s in performance
Institution visited: Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien

  • Whereabouts did you do your exchange program?

In the framework of my studies at the Faculty of Music in Claude Richard’s class I did an exchange at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien), Austria. It’s a city of incredible cultural riches!

I very much enjoyed the course offer, the excellence of the teaching and the flexibility of the program. It’s a university that offers a stimulating and highly demanding learning environment, which helps you advance technically and artistically. There are many opportunities for collaborations with the professional scene, for performance laboratories and for festival participation during the term.

  • How has that experience marked your life?

The intensity of an exchange marks a life at the human, spiritual, professional and cultural levels. This was a source of renewal for me personally and in terms of artistic expression. My commitment, my openness to the world and my vision of performing as a profession have been galvanized. Thanks to the daily contacts with musicians and orchestras from all over the planet, I discovered new musical esthetics and a new way of listening. In addition, I now have a personal and professional network around the world.

It was a linguistic experience! It’s best to learn the language of your host country: it opens unsuspected doors. Besides all the encounters I acquired a whole world of acquaintances, experiences and values that make me more than what I was before.

  • What do you retain from your study period abroad?

My memories are of encounters, people’s generous welcome, the different countries visited with their landscapes, their communities, their cultures and their histories. I’m very grateful to have been able to enjoy this experience and I thank everyone who helped me do a study period abroad that was so intense and rich. And of course, I could not forget the advice of my teachers, who shaped me, who awakened me to other ways of doing things and who moved my artistic personality forward.

One prominent event comes to mind, a rich learning moment. I had a chance to play with the university orchestra under the direction of Christoph von Dohnányi at the renowned Vienna Musikverein. We’d been prepared for this concert by musicians from the Wiener Philharmoniker!

What would you say to students who are contemplating going off to study abroad?
It’s an extraordinary experience! I wish every music student could do an exchange. It’s a must in this field! Art and the learning of it need to be experienced and stimulated by other realities.

Don’t hesitate to give up what you’re doing for a year ‒ there will be other, unsuspected, possibilities that open up to you when you get back. And don’t hesitate because of a lack of financial means, because there’s such a thing as mobility grants. Leave for two semesters, if possible, even if you love your current teacher: music needs time to take on new dimensions when you learn to listen to it and play it with fresh ears.