Ivory Tower Conference in Freiburg

Time for a brief retrospect to a beautiful trip to Freiburg im Breisgau where I attended the initial conference of the recently founded Music Research and Teaching Centre, hosted by Musikhochschule Freiburg and co-organised by University of Freiburg (April 10–12, 2019). The title »Between Ivory Tower and Employability« suggested a topical focus on musicians’ career perspectives, but the event rather turned out to be a self-presentation of interdisciplinary work at the two institutions. This is highly valuable in itself, and I witnessed several impressive lectures, performances, and demonstrations—but a limited perspective and lack of stimuli from outside was also noticeable. In my opinion, the current state of professional music education in Germany suffers from two severe misdevelopments: (1) the extreme difficulty to make a living as an employed or freelance musician, partially caused by the inability (or unreadiness) of universities to help their graduates enter the job market; and (2) the declining educational level and dwindling prospects for domestic applicants, leading to absurdly high rates of international students. Neither of these problems was addressed in the Freiburg conference. The next meeting of this kind clearly requires an open call for contributions, and its range of topics should also investigate and discuss career paths before and after university.

Be my Genius!

I wrote a few lines on the questionable tendency in classical music journalism to refer to performers as ›geniuses‹ and to conductors as ›maestri‹. Not that anybody asked for my opinion, and I guess that some of you don’t care at all—but that’s exactly why I felt the need to express my uneasiness with that matter. Out now in VAN Magazin. Your thoughts are appreciated.

PhD Defence Ahead

Dear Viennese people, I have the pleasure to announce the public defence of my PhD thesis, a musicological study of the piano sonatas of Russian composer Nikolai Karlovich Medtner. Attendance will require your early bird virtues—but in case you are willing to take up this challenge, I’d be delighted if you joined me next Friday, 5 April, 9 am, in the Rectorate Meeting Room of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. The presentation will see me giving a 20-minute talk, followed by a 40-minute disputation, both held in German language.

A bilingual abstract of the dissertation is available here.
Get more information on my research related to Medtner’s music.

Sculpture of Sound

The recording of one of my most virtuosic compositions, ›Three‹ from the 2009 piano cycle Skulpturen, is now available for listening. Before I performed the piece in Bremen two weeks ago, I captured the preceding rehearsal somewhat in a hurry—and this material served as a basis for some weirdly detailed audio editing. So be aware that this is not a live recording, even though it may sound as if it were. Measured by these far-from-ideal conditions, I am fairly satisfied with the result and venture to share it with you today. If you are a pianist and feel inclined to tackle this piece so as to produce a more convincing performance or recording, please find the sheet music here.