“To work for the first time under the direction of Nikolaus Harnoncourt and to experience his unique approach to music-making was a “life-changing” experience. I was amazed by the energy and sound coming from the Orchestra. I am a big fan of this orchestra but hearing them live was an experience at a higher level. On the second day of the rehearsals I was fortunate enough to sit in the Orchestra and play. This was a life-changing experience and a moment that I will always treasure. I was inspired by some of these ideas [suggested during masterclasses with the COE cellists] and they are going to lead me through the music I will be playing back home, in Sarajevo. They [the COE] are a fantastic group of musicians and made me feel very welcome from the day I arrived in Graz.”
Bosnian cellist Belma Alic was invited by William Conway, co-principal cello of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, to take part in the COE Academy programme during Styriarte 2011.