Time for Some Confessions

(1) I eat too much and sleep too less.
(2) I should really do some sports rather than watching it on the internet.
(3) I love my job, and I am fine to commute for a certain period of my life, but in doing so I fly way too often. This is a moral dilemma. I would definitely prefer to take the train if only this was a reliable option at a reasonable price with the probability of arriving in time—but alas, it is not. Deutsche Bahn tickets from Berlin to Düsseldorf cost €70 on average (sales offers are very rare in the early morning hours when I would need to go). Travel time is about 5 hours from door to door, but since 2 out of 3 train connections passing through the Ruhr area are significantly delayed, this is hardly a recommendable choice, given that I need to start working at noon to manage my teaching load. My employer wouldn’t reimburse any travel expenses, so I have to choose the cheapest option over traveling sustainably, despite my dislike of airports and planes. Eurowings air fare is €29 or €39 for the same route, which takes me less than 3.5 hours (as long as Tegel Airport is still in service, I should add). Needless to say, I have not been late a single time since I became a weekly flyer almost two years ago.

This does not primarily show that I am a carefree opportunist (which some people might claim). Instead, this example suggests that the neo-liberal German transport policy is so badly snafu that it cannot help but continuously produce wrong stimuli for travelers, acting in favour of the motor industry (the glorious ›backbone‹ of our economy) while not giving a shit about the desolate state of the most embarrassing railway company of all times. Even though I don’t have the slightest idea how this situation could improve in the future, your opinions and ideas are, as always, warmly appreciated.

DTKV Berlin in Deep Sleep

Since the last general assembly took place five weeks ago, Tonkünstlerverband Berlin, the professional body of Berlin-based musicians, has been inactive. The newly elected executive board and the new chairman Detlef Bensmann have not presented themselves to the public so far. The organisation’s social media accounts accounts are largely unmaintained or out of date, and the website still announces many former chairpersons who were not re-elected or have withdrawn from their posts. As the current board apparently fails to make the recent developments public, here is the most important information:

A Musical Valediction

Yesterday I attended the farewell party of the former Chamber Choir of the Berlin University of the Arts in which I participated and performed during the last fourteen years. It was an affectionate and communicative gathering of the most recent choir members. My contribution was to present Max Reger‘s Nachtlied, Op. 138 No. 3, in my own piano transcription (please find the sheet music of my version here, as well as the choir’s recording of the original piece). This composition, one of my all-time favourites in the choral repertoire, represents some unforgettable memories related to music-making which I am grateful to share with my dear colleagues.

Support for Freelance Teachers

Some news from two occupational groups in musicianship with whom I wish to express my solidarity and support. Please share and re-post if you feel the same.

(1) The Conference of Adjunct Lecturers at German Music Universities (BKLM) and the OrchesterlanD initiative have started a joint campaign, aiming at a significant improvement of working conditions for freelance academic teaching staff in music. The claim is to refrain from assigning fixed-term lectureships via administrative measures—which is current common practice—and turn these into private-law contracts instead. See also the BKLM statement on adjuncts’ dignity and work ethic.

(2) The Berlin Senate has agreed on a 40-percent increase of fees for freelance teachers at municipal music schools. Yet it seems as if the cultural administration would fail to provide the required assets in next year’s budget. There is an initiative of Die Berliner Musikschullehrer and the State Representation of Music School Teachers to protest against this incomprehensible neglect. Much support is needed.