Medtner’s Night Wind Howls Again

Just to let you know, for the unlikely case that anybody shares my nerdy predilection for exuberant Russian piano music: I will be presenting my paper on Nikolai Medtner‘s E minor Sonata ›Night Wind‹, Op. 25 No. 2, once again as part of the 17th annual conference of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz, on November 17, 1.30 pm. Analytical insights will be augmented by in-depth examination of the work’s poetic and hermeneutic contexts. I’d be so lucky to enjoy your company!

Multiple Professorships

One shouldn’t consider it possible that somebody holds two professoral positions at the same time, particularly in a business as tough and competitive as classical music—but yes, two members of the teaching staff at Berlin University of the Arts’ Faculty of Music simultaneously occupy another post in Switzerland. Violinist Nora Chastain is also professor at Zurich University of the Arts, while clarinetist François Benda also teaches at Basel Academy of Music. Apart from challenging the necessity of a second salary at this level, one might question these persons’ ability to manage the teaching load associated with taking care of two instrumental major classes. Maybe they are lucky enough to be gifted with bilocation?

Music Freelancers About to Strike

It is reported that freelance adjunct teachers at Bavarian music universities (Lehrbeauftragte) plan a general strike in November 2017 for a duration of two weeks, objecting to the State Ministry of Culture’s directive to have institutions check the part-time employment status of their adjunct staff (only 9 teaching hours per week per person are allowed to comply with the state law). While it is a good idea to organise, align together, and protest against the desolate working conditions, striking for so short a period might not turn out favourable. Universities will probably not even react to this, only the strikers will earn less and venture their future occupation. Instead, a bold demonstration of power and indispensability is needed. A strike during the exam period at the end of the semester could be way more effective, provided that freelancers have the support of professional organisations such as Deutscher Tonkünstlerverband and Deutsche Orchestervereinigung.

To me the most intriguing question is whether adjuncts will be dismissed due to violation of the 9 SWS limit, and if yes, what will happen next. Does this only apply to institutions within Bavaria, or are teaching assignments in other states also taken into consideration? Students and courses previously taught by freelancers need to be served by other faculty – will universities hire even more freelancers with smaller teaching loads, or will they advertise full-time positions instead? In this case, the current developments are not necessarily negative.