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The Schöntal diaries by Daimee Ng

Kloster Schöntal; what an experience! Situated in the south of Germany, an hour’s drive from Stuttgart, the Kloster was my home for a little under two weeks for the International Competition for Violin this August. After over ten months of preparation, myself, my extensive family, and of course, Maria and Mr Masin, travelled here. The exterior of the Kloster and the surroundings looked to be quite pleasant, but…well, you’ll see.

Because of its remote surroundings (really halfway in the middle of nowhere), mobile connection was non-existent, and, would you believe, one had to pay for Wifi! There was limited entertainment; no TV and few books, one quaint little kiosk which sold only one German newspaper, and, oh, I guess you could count the bats which would fly in if anyone opened a window! 

Air conditioning? Nope, never heard of it. It was stifling inside and outside, even with the windows open, and the concert hall itself was literally twenty-nine degrees Celsius. I guess I should feel bad for the participants…but imagine the jury, sitting there throughout the entire day. It was surprising no one fainted!

On the flip-side, I was surprised and delighted to find the brother to my own instrument, a violin made by Andrea Postacchini, the maker of my own. The violin maker Florian Leonard had brought with him an array of beautiful instruments to be put on display, and I was lucky enough to be able to try out this Postacchini. It was so nice to see and hear the resemblance of the two violins.

Probably the highlight of our interesting accommodation was the Kloster café, where we would spend many afternoons delighting in our Eiskaffe and Apfelstrudel, as well as an assortment of other sweet treats.

All in all, it was a great learning experience for myself, to see the vast assortment of young musicians of different levels, and I really enjoyed myself.