After finishing my studies at the Yale School of Music, I felt I still needed time and new creative input to grow as a concert artist. I was incredibly lucky to receive a grant to study with Dieter Weber at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria, not only to be able to learn from a master pianist and musician, but to also live in a city where the arts are a top priority. This year proved not only to be the basis for a whole new perspective on academics, music, the arts, on life, but also paved the way for my future. Without having had this international experience from which I learned about a new culture, perfected a new language, was introduced to new ways of thinking, I would have never become the open‐minded, tolerant, internationally involved academic and artist that I have become.
My international teaching and performing and my passion in bridging gaps amongst peoples of the world through music and education are an offspring of this challenging year. I am a very proud member of the Fulbright Commission in Austria and cannot stress enough how important such exchanges are for future peace and mutual understanding.
To cut funding for such a successful and important educational endeavor [would be] a disaster.
Antoinette Van Zabner is a graduate of the Yale School of Music with a degree in music. She studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna as a US Fulbright student in 1975–76. Photo courtesy of Antoinette Van Zabner.