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.
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!
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.
The classical music world seems more wretched than ever. In his vulgar piece on conductors’ sexuality and abuse of power, Norman Lebrecht suggests that »sex is one of the perks of conducting«, further elaborating on the »powerful relation of baton and penis«. The author, a knowledgeable observer of the business, takes it for granted that virility is required to conduct an orchestra, and implies that a conductor who doesn’t assault women leads a »rather boring life«. Mr Lebrecht, even if you cannot imagine it: Ill behaviour of conductors is not exactly a result of gender inequality, nor is it likely to improve as soon as more women enter the podium. Quite the contrary, it is an issue of deep-rooted misogyny and contempt—fueled by opinions like yours. It is about time, as Barbara Hannigan has aptly claimed, to ditch the whole outdated maestro attitude altogether. Conductors are musicians, nothing more and nothing less, and we should look upon them as partners at eye level rather than rulers of the orchestra.