PAST AND PRESENT OF THE ORFF-SCHULWERK SOCIETY AUSTRIA
On December 12, 1961, half a year after the founding of the Orff Institute in Salzburg, the "Gesellschaft Förderer des Orff-Schulwerk" (Society for the Promotion of the Orff-Schulwerk) was founded at the then Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg on the initiative of the President of the Mozarteum, Dr. Eberhard Preussner, who also served as Vice President. The industrialist and generous sponsor Dr. Manfred Mautner-Markhof made himself available as president. This made the Austrian Orff Schulwerk Association the first society worldwide, but it is soon followed by the founding of many other Orff-Schulwerk associations.
In the first years, its concerns and mission were still closely tied to the interests and needs of the Orff Institute. Thus the society strived above all to win students for the "authentic training and teaching in the Orff Schulwerk at the Mozarteum Academy and to provide the necessary financial means or support for this", as can be read in the first statutes of the society.
A good ten years later, Prof. Dr. Ulrike E. Jungmair, an elementary school teacher and graduate of the Orff Institute, took over the management and began to expand the Society's concerns and to recruit practicing educators for further training courses and also as members. Continuing education courses of the Society were now offered in all counties and a "Parent School" was introduced at the Orff Institute. The Society also acquired new instruments for external teaching practice schools of the Orff Institute and offered support and advice for the establishment of "school classes with extended music lessons".
In the following ten years, the Society's field of activity expanded by intensifying its cooperation with pedagogical institutes and further education institutions for kindergarten throughout Austria. The Society's Board of Directors participated in professional conferences and was invited to contribute to curricula and their testing in the subject of music education in elementary schools. From 1986 until 2008, an annual summer course "Elementary Music and Movement Education in Elementary Schools" was held in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Education in Vienna and the Pedagogical Institute in Salzburg. The number of members rose gratifyingly during these years and reached a peak of over 700 members.
In 1989, Mag. Evi Hitsch-Paulusberger took over the management and formed a committed management team with the long-time Vice President Prof. Dr. Jungmair for many years. Due to the increasing opening of the borders to the Eastern European neighboring countries, Prof. Dr. Hermann Regner (at that time member of the board of the Carl Orff Foundation Munich) encouraged the Austrian Orff-Schulwerk Society to initiate so-called "Meetings of the Neighbours". Until 2008 meetings were held very successfully in Eisenstadt (Austria) Prague (Czech Republic), Budapest (Hungary), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Warsaw (Poland and Nitra (Slovakia).
From 2003 onwards a very fruitful cooperation between the Austrian Society and Turkey started. It is especially thanks to Prof. Dr. Ulrike E. Jungmair that the Orff Schulwerk was able to gain a foothold in Turkey.
In 2009 Prof. Rainer Kotzian took over the management of the society and immediately became proactive: under his leadership composition competitions were launched and his main goal was to actively involve more members in the work of the society and to recruit new members. A newsletter was established and a practical supplement "Extrablatt" was sent out together with the magazine "Orff-Schulwerk Informationen". On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Society in 2011, the success of the efforts is already evident: the number of members climbed again to above 300 and the feedback from the members was positive and committed.
A short time later, there was a new change in the board of directors: Dr. Manuela Widmer and Michel Widmer take over the role of chairperson and vice-chairperson on the board. Likewise, Mag. Evi Hitsch-Paulusberger continued to be on board, thus guaranteeing continuity in the management team. Weekend seminars were successfully organized in the various regions of Austria; unfortunately, an annual summer course was no longer held. A fruitful cooperation with a committed team in Romania emerged with two successful summer courses and the supervision of an annual project in a school with the financial participation of the Carl Orff Foundation. In recent years, an intensive online course for Chinese female colleagues has also been launched.
Currently, Ms. Anita Biebl, MA took over the chairmanship of the Austrian Orff Schulwerk Society. There is again a newsletter, a presence of the society on Facebook and Instagram, a new homepage and a new email address.
Here are all current contact details at a glance:
Chair: Anita Biebl MA
1st deputy chairperson: Dipl. päd. Birgit Grössl MA
2nd deputy chairperson: Mag. Evi Paulusberger
Treasurer: Sonja Czuk-Waldauf
Frohnburgweg 55, 5020 Salzburg, Austria