Berlin Music Schools: Quo vaditis?

Berlin’s municipal music schools do something they didn’t do in quite a while: They are hiring permanent employees. Until recently, their quota of freelance teachers was at 93%, which is now being reduced to 80%. However, this will not change the fact that freelancers are in charge of most of Berlin’s music education. Apart from an awkward controversy between the Berlin Senate and musicians’ unions on how many FTEs this means, some more questions remain. Should the new positions be publicly advertised or only serve to the benefit of a school’s freelance staff? Is it acceptable if schools do not require applicants to hold a demonstration lesson? And finally: Why are permanent positions considered more important than a general discourse on quality management and sustainability of music education?

Exploring Symbolist Creativity

I will be presenting a paper titled »Colour – Word – Sound. On the Intermediality of Genre and Sensory Perception in East European Art of the Fin de siècle« at the 12th Weimar Conference of Music Theory, taking place the following weekend at Hochschule für Musik Weimar. If you feel inclined to discuss the work of Scriabin, Medtner, Balmont, Bely, Kandinsky, Čiurlionis and other Symbolist artists, and are not discouraged by the unearthly hour of my presentation, I’d be delighted to have your company! Then and there: Sunday, 4 March 2018, 9 am, Klostergebäude am Palais.

On Artistic Excellence

Last year Helge Harding and I wrote an essay on contemporary music education, assessment of musical performance, quality management in teaching, and questions of artistic excellence in general. The text is now published as a leading article in the latest issue of magazine Üben & Musizieren. It will soon be available via the Schott Music website—for now I uploaded a PDF full-text version here. Looking forward to your opinions!

The Dilemma of Opera Singers

In an insightful report about making a career in opera singing, Emilia Smechowski portrays five former voice students of Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin, citing the protagonists (whose names are disclosed) with some sensitive and very personal statements. While a public discussion of the over-competitive environment and unhealthy working conditions in classical music business is most desirable, the article raises the question if the author had better quoted her sources anonymously. Given that she claims to have been a fellow student of the interviewed artists, some of whom feel that they are characterised in an inappropriate way, the impartiality of her perspective seems at least disputable.