Review of Astona International 2023

The 35th Astona International was very special in so many ways.


First was the joy of being together again after two years online due to Covid.  Going online definitely proved to have been very valuable indeed. Many of our online students were now with us in person, and we even had a visit from one of our online technicians from last year, who wanted to meet us in "real life"!


Astona was booked out with 32 students from 16 countries: Australia, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hongkong, Iceland, Latvia, Macedonia, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Sweden,  Spain, Switzerland and USA. We welcomed two new faculty-members: Nathan Braude, Viola, and Joonas Pitkänen, Conductor. Nathan had been with us online. Joonas was with us for the first time, as orchestra online was impossible.


Our new host, the Sonnenberg School in Baar, provided us with an atmosphere of good will, trust, generosity, interest in our activities, comfortable accommodations and teaching facilities, and delicious meals!  This contributed enormously to a positive climate in every way. A field trip on the middle Sunday of the course up the Rigi Mountain was thrilling for the students and gave them the feeling that they had seen Switzerland!


The audiences at our public concerts were large, and they expressed their enthusiasm again and again with standing ovations. The press described the performances as "world class".


All in all, Astona 2023 seemed to be the best ever! We are ready to organise Astona 2024, again in the Sonnenberg School, and we look forward to another wonderful two weeks. Thanks to all involved!


Nancy Chumachenco 

Some feedbacks from the students

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for Astona. I had the best time and learnt so much. This course has really positively impacted me by playing and I left feeling so inspired and excited to keep improving. Everyone was so wonderful and the staff were so incredible. Thank you for tutoring our Schubert quartet and encouraging and inspiring us to play to the best of our ability. My thanks goes to the whole Astona team. It was also lovely to experience Switzerland. I will definitely tell my friends about Astona!

Viola student from Australia (23)


I would like to thank you Nancy for the amazing course! It was a big pleasure to be there, to get to know all the people and of course, receive your lessons!

Thank you very much! I hope we see the next year again!

Violin student from Switzerland (1916)  


I haven’t seen my student yet but received such happy and inspired and energized messages from her about her time at Astona. How wonderful!

Teacher of a cello student from Switzerland (17)


For my son it has been a fantastic experience. He has learned a lot with Prof. Kraggerud and all the teachers.

Such a complete course and with such good teachers and fantastic organization.

We would like to thank you for everything. He is so happy and he would like to repeat next year. Do not doubt that I will advertise my violin students about Astona. The course is great and I congratulate you on what you have achieved. Thank you so much

Mother of a violin student from Spain (16)