An irregular and somewhat confusing semester at Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf has begun. The buildings are still closed—yet most of my department’s music theory classes are taking place, and I am teaching a number of online courses, switching between synchronous webcasting and tutorials on various e-learning platforms. Thanks to Jeannette Getrost of Studio Balu, I found a temporarily unused space where I can deliver my video conferences well-focused and without even leaving my neighbourhood, which is a great opportunity! Students are widely accepting the challenging conditions and show a remarkable level of flexibility. I am currently developing some freely accessible musical form and ear training tutorials for the ELMU platform, an open educational resource founded by Ulrich Kaiser which I invite you to check out.
A professional body of musicians should put all its efforts into the welfare of its members, and the more so as many colleagues are severely affected by the current pandemic situation. Yet the executives of DTKV Berlin prefer to pursue their personal in-fightings against disliked persons within the organisation. The attacks and accusations I have been subjected to during the past weeks have now reached a level that leaves me with no option but going public. There has been a libelling smear campaign initiated by Gabriel Iranyi, Anka Sommer, and Christiane Edinger, who tried to do damage to my professional career by denouncing me to my university administration. After that, Detlef Bensmann has announced to expel me from DTKV Berlin just yesterday, insinuating that my behaviour has been harmful to the association. I take this as an opportunity to summarise and rebut the allegations that were brought up against me. Here is my statement (in German only).
Dear Berlin-based musicians and artists!
There are a number of supporting measures for the aid of businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but the group of professional freelancers in culture are not sufficiently captured by these. Many of our colleagues who face existential loss of theirs incomes have already contacted local or federal cultural politicians individually. Yet I am afraid that these efforts will not be adequately appreciated and considered—that’s why I prepared a collective letter to increase the perceptibility of our concerns and matters. I will send it to Klaus Lederer, the Berlin Senator of Cultural Affairs, on April 24, 2020. You are welcome to support the inquiries and sign the letter. Please also spread and share the link!
Freelance artists are systemically relevant.
If life wasn’t such an unpredictable affair, I would have been performing two Medtner sonatas tonight in a lecture recital at Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf, together with my dear colleague Frank Zabel who would have played Scriabin. Goodness, was I looking forward to this event, and still regret that it had to be cancelled. As a little compensation I edited my recording from a private concert in September where I presented the first movement of Medtner‘s Sonata-Ballade, Op. 27. Here it is—I’m confident that the technical and acoustical deficiencies of this document won’t impair the pleasure of listening all too much. Have a wonderful evening!
I tried to make productive use of the past days of pandemic lockdown to complete my lengthy study of Nikolai Medtner‘s Berlin period, 1921–24. This fascinating endeavour determined me to delve into a not-so-well-known section of the composer’s biography, and to elaborate on certain facts and details hidden in his correspondence and commemorative literature. For those of you who might be interested, a preprint of the article is available for reading and commenting on the platform academia.edu. Looking forward to your suggestions!