Make the Zodiac Great Again

Some of you may have heard of the German pianist Stefan Mickisch, known for his opera introductions and—more idiosyncratically—for assigning the keys of the circle of fifths to the twelve zodiac signs. In a concert announcement issued a few days ago, he praised his theory in boastful terms, referring to himself as the revealer of an absolute musical truth. To me, his conclusions appear self-referential and highly biased, and I tend to consider the whole affair a mere speculation, lacking clear philological evidence. I asked a number of questions on the pianist’s public Facebook profile which he appreciated but answered only inconsistently. Yet after I expressed my serious doubts, he would react in an aggressive tone, call me a »rare jackass« and »arrogant ignoramus« (my translations), and ask me to STFU. After that, he headed for all my profiles and pages to leave spiteful troll comments everywhere. Mickisch’s offensive language probably reveals more about his character and professional attitude than he is aware.

Maladministration at DTKV Berlin

The Berlin section of Deutscher Tonkünstlerverband has recently shown several cases of communication failure and administrative misconduct. Right now, the executive board aims to expel a highly engaged member whose alleged transgression has been to propose structural reforms and to notify the community of the recent misdevelopments. If you are a member, please attend the upcoming general assembly on Monday, November 26, 10 am, at the DTKV Studio (Schillerstraße 64, Berlin-Charlottenburg), express your protest, and contend with the current administration. It’s about time for some changes—take action now if you care for a strong professional representation of musicians in Berlin!

Berlin Medtner Festival

Thrilled to announce the first International Nikolai Medtner Festival medtner classics, taking place at various venues in Berlin during next week, October 29 to November 3, 2018. I am particularly honoured to contribute some introductory notes to the opening and closing concerts, and to appear as both performer and scholar in a lecture recital on Thursday, November 1, 6 pm, at Villa Oppenheim. I will be presenting my thoughts on Medtner’s Sonata-Elegy, Op. 11 No. 2, and also join a panel discussion to debate the composer’s Berlin period with acclaimed musicologists and historians. After that, I will share the stage with fabulous soprano Anna Hofmann for a performance of the rarely-heard Sonata-Vocalise, Op. 41 No. 1. Please refer to the International Medtner Society for the full programme and line-up. All events are free of charge, and everybody is cordially invited!

Soloists First, Educators Second?

The ongoing discussion in VAN Magazine on the future of music education in Germany reaches another level. In her follow-up article to the recent contributions by Clemens Thomas, Heinz Geuen, Esther Bishop, and myself, Judith Gerhardt finally adds the perspective of music pedagogy students at Berlin University of the Arts, focusing on the misbalance between soloist training (which is way more encouraged and promoted at institutions) and music education (a subject generally regarded as inferior and less representative, despite its significantly higher social and political relevance). Once more it becomes apparent that a paradigm change is overdue—and now, after students and musicians have variously expressed their discontent with the present system, it is about time for administrations and educational policy on federal and state level to join the discussion and determine how professional music education can be re-organised and modernised.