My first steps I took at the Beethoven Music school in my hometown Mödling.
Very soon I performed the Vivaldi Violin concerto in a concert for
young talents and got a great write up in the papers.
I really enjoyed the experience, and from then on I was hooked.
I decided to become a professional violinist.
I was only fifteen when I was accepted as a violin student at the Vienna Music Academy and studied with G. Pichler and later on T. Kakuska from the Alban Berg Quartet. The way they played had an enormous influence on me and still does up to this day.
I got to know Kato Havas OBE at one of her Summer workshops and it was a life changing experience for me.
During my studies I had been experiencing tension in my left wrist and knew that Kato Havas and her New Approach was the solution I had been searching for.
So, I decided to move to England to continue my studies with her and the rest is history.
I never had any tension problems again, and under her guidance I was not only able to develop as a violinist but become a fully-fledged musician.
Kato Havas herself had been a child prodigy and studied with I. Waldbauer (Hungarian string quartet) whose friends where Bela Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly etc just to name a few.
She felt very indebted to them and always insisted she had not invented a New way of playing, but her discoveries were all deeply rooted in her tremendous musical upbringing and the hungarian school.
Kato was the director of the Summer Music Festival in Oxford, when I was a student and I gained invaluable experience performing violin concertos as soloist
with the Festival orchestra. My performance of the Viotti Violin concerto in particular was much acclaimed by the critics. I finished my studies with a performers diploma with distinction.
Master classes with S. Vegh and Ion Voicu in Salzburg Mozarteum followed, where I made great friends and learned a lot.
I then spent many years being a ”citizen of the orchestra”. I had permanent positions in NPO South Africa and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria as a first violin. I collaborated with Orchestras such as Rai Scarlatti Napoli, Orchestra Sinfonica San Remo, Radio Orchestra Munic, Volksoper, Tonkünstler and the ORF Vienna just to name a few. It was found particularly inspiring for me to work with conductors and players such as M. Rostropovich, P. Eötvös, Pierre Amoyal, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Nicholas Hooper (Harry Potter composer) and Simone Young.
These days I am a freelance musician based in Vienna. I divide my time between teaching my students who are so important to me, playing solo and chamber music and going on exiting tours with orchestras and ensembles. I love the enriching experience travelling and performing in different cultures, and sharing the stage with wonderful colleagues.
So far, my concert activities have led me throughout Europe, China, Japan and parts of America. It’s such a privilege to be able to communicate in a universal language everybody in any part of the world understands...MUSIC!
Having worked abroad for long periods of time I picked up Italian and Spanish as well as speaking German and English, something that proves very useful now when I teach international masterclasses.
Some orchestras occasionally call me in as guest leader and I had some interesting ventures into contemporary music, especially memorable a tour I did with Ensemble Modern and the wonderful Pierre Boulez.
As a Solo Violinist I am particularly proud of my performance of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with the violist Monica Cuneo and the Tchaikovsky Violin concerto I performed in England and Italy that was highly appraised by the Oxford Times.
"Caroline Duffner studied the New Approach to Violin Playing with me for many years. I found her a very gifted and responsive pupil indeed. She was soloist in my International Festival and gave many excellent performances. I found her tone quality exceptionally moving."
Mozart Sinfonia Concertante
from left to right: Caroline Duffner, Kato Havas, Monica Cuneo