Schloss Frohnburg

Our places: Schloss Frohnburg

By Emilia Campagna

July 11, 2022

Not only “The Sound of Music” was an iconic musical shot in Salzburg, but it also happened to be shot at our auditions’ venue, Schloss Frohnburg – and the rich coincidence can have a meaningful relevance for our candidates.

Have you ever heard of a Schloss Frohnburg? This German name sounds like fairy tale places and old times splendour, and actually, it is a very special place where two very different things somehow meet: the renowned Salzburg’s Mozarteum and the American 1965 musical movie “The Sound of Music”.

What is Schloss Frohnburg’s story?

Originally, Schloss Frohnburg was built between 1660 and 1680 by Prince-Archbishop Max Gandolf as a summer manor and called “Schloss Grafenau”. Through marriage, the castle went to the family of the Counts of Frohnberg who gave the new name to the building. Later it became the property of the Counts of Kuenberg. Schloss Frohnburg went through its prime around 1700, when its extensive parks and gardens were maintained by 13 gardeners! The castle had orangeries and orchards and the site now used as a library was originally a bathhouse, these days only a marble plaque saying “Limpida perluor unda” (bathing in the clear wave) commemorates this fact.

For those familiar with Salzburg’s topography, it is situated along Hellbrunner Allee, which connects the Residenz Palace (probably the most important historic building of Salzburg) and the old town of Salzburg with Hellbrunn Castle in the South over a distance of about 5 kilometres. Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus ordered the construction of the straight alley to get comfortably to the castle and gardens built by Santino Solari in 1613.

How Schloss Frohnburg turned into becoming a house for music

After the Second World War, the American occupiers confiscated the building. In 1960, the Republic of Austria acquired Schloss Frohnburg to allocate it to the Carl Orff Institute as part of the Mozarteum. Nowadays, the historic concert hall and the adjoining rooms are used by the Mozarteum University for performances and can also be rented, making it an ideal location for concerts, seminars and much more, thanks to its concert hall and the adjoining conference hall. And right here are scheduled Theresia’s 2022 auditions, to be held in a few days (on 14th July and 15th July).

A location for “The Sound of Music”

Salzburg is so full of gems, that Schloss Frohnburg is not at the top of the list of the standard tourist. Thousands of people, though, worship it in the movie “The Sound of Music”, in which it was used for the exterior shots of the Trapp villa. Do you remember the story? In 1938 Maria (a charming Julie Andrews), a young nun to be, uncertain whether to take vows or not, is sent to Captain von Trapp’s home to be the governess to his seven children. She falls in love with the children and their widowed father who, ordered to accept a commission in the German navy, opposes the Nazis so that he and Maria decide to flee from Austria with the children. Music is at the very core of the movie, as it is the force that unites the Captain, Maria and the seven children. What people usually do not know is that this is a true story: the Trapp family really flew to the United States before the II World War, making a name for themselves as the Trapp Family Singers.

The first appearance of the castle is particularly evocative for us because it happens to be when Maria leaves the convent to face her new task. She’s afraid and apprehensive: will she be up to the job? Will she make a good impression? That’s exactly what a young musician facing an audition may think. Well, first of all, we can assure you reminding the words of hour horn player Jonathan van der Beek, who joined Theresia after last year’s auditions: “It is called an audition because they are making a selection in the end, but it felt more like a workshop or even a masterclass in a beautiful environment. We got to prepare certain pieces, and we had to ‘rehearse’ in front of a jury the whole day. This made me very comfortable as I wasn’t judged only on the 5 first minutes of playing. When I went out of the audition, I was just so grateful that I got the opportunity to work with Alfredo Bernardini and all the great musicians that participated.” 

Then we could all get inspired by Maria, singing “I have confidence” on her way to Trapp Villa – Schloss Frohnburg: “With each step I am more certain / Everything will turn out fine / I have confidence / The world can all be mine!”.

Good luck with your auditions and… have confidence!




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About Emilia Campagna

Journalist and musician, Emilia is a blogger for Theresia