Report - Roche Continents

20 January 2019

By Gita Rebeka Dirveika:

“I just finished my second year in my Bachelor studies of classical singing and then I found myself in a group of scientists, studying for their Doctors degree. How did I get here?

Roche Continents is a 5-day long programme for 100 (as said in their homepage) top-talented arts and science students from European schools (but nationalities from all over the world) in Salzburg, Austria. For 5 days I had the opportunity to listen to remarkable presentations, workshops and, most importantly, meet the people from science fields and learning from each other.

This year’s theme was “Power of passion”. Being divided in 10 groups and creating presentations on this topic, we got to explore what passion means to us and later present it to all of the participants as well as the organisers. Next to these activities we were treated with beautiful meals, overlooking the magnificent scenery of Salzburg and attending opera and concert of Salzburg festival.

All of the students got to experience the grand premiere of a contemporary opera “The Bassarids”, written by Hans Werner Henze and conducted by Kent Nagano. It was a true challenge for everyone present - to watch and understand a modern composition, and to learn and enjoy the performance of the performers. Next to the opera, we also had a unique opportunity to watch a concert by Vienna Philharmonic. Participants enjoyed the delight of Sibelius’ 4th (a-Moll, op. 63) and Bruckner’s 4th (Es-Dur WAB 104 - “Romantische”) symphonies.

The event has happened every year since 2007. This year’s musical workshop was organised by Serge Vuille - percussionist and composer, active on the new and experimental music scene, musician of London Sinfonietta, Ictus ensemble, BBC symphony orchestra and Martin Creed Band. The students got to learn the art of experimental music and perform themselves, as well as see and participate in Serge’s performances.

We all had an exclusive opportunity to meet the president - Dr. Helga Rabl-Stadler and director Markus Hinterhäuser of Salzburg festival and chairman of the Roche company Christoph Franz, but the most important meetings happened between us, students - learning to break the ice between arts and science fields and creating a community that is the future of our society, really.

It was a 5-day long dream in the sunny corner of Austria, filled with memories that will linger for a lifetime.”

Gita Rebeka Dirveika