The Academy

The 9th European Summer Music Academy (ESMA) was supposed to take place in the cities of Mitrovica (guitar masterclasses), Peja (woodwinds and brass), Pristina (singing & piano) and Gjakova (strings) in Summer 2020.

However, given the ongoing pandemic, these plans had to be revised, as physical presence and meetings would be out of the question this year. In order to make the 2020 ESMA happen despite the Coronavirus, it was decided that all activities would take place online – a small price to pay for making sure that everyone’s health is safe.

This is how the Building Bridges project was born: an initiative that combines the ESMA masterclasses with the orchestral idea of the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra – all of this in virtual space.

Young musicians between 14 to 27 years from the countries of south-eastern Europe and further afield will have once again the opportunity of working and studying with renowned European instructors and performers. This year’s faculty will bring together first-class orchestra musicians from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Serbia that will offer masterclasses in piano, violin, viola, violoncello, double bass, flute and singing.

Apart from receiving individual lessons, the participants will, all together, create a virtual orchestra recording by sending in individual recordings of their respective orchestral parts. These will be combined and mixed into a full orchestra, and thus the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra will come alive online in 2020, with a recording to be released at the end of the year.

The Building Bridges in the Western Balkans 2020 has been generously sponsored by the embassies of Austria and the Czech Republic, by the EU Office in Kosovo, by the Rotary Club Aachen-Land, and by the Heimerer College in Pristina.

The academy is led by the Artistic Director Desar Sulejmani, with the close collaboration of the local implementer Artium Eudora – ‘ArtEU’.

The participation in ESMA 2020 – Building Bridges in Western Balkans  is free of charge.