The Chasms of Classical Music Business

Here is a short history of the recent video shred controversy which continues to stir up Berlin’s classical music scene, apparently increasing in complexity from day to day. The story is to be continued, and I will update this post in due time on new developments. For the time being, I am looking forward to hear your opinions.

December 26, 2017 – Moderator and composer Arno Lücker and violinist Carlotta Joachim produce a salacious shred of a video performance of Daniel Hope and Ludovico Einaudi, which is published on Neue Musikzeitung‘s Bad Blog of Musick.
December 28 – Hope forces Lücker to take down the shred after only a few hours online in which it was accessed approx. 70 times. He also has his lawyers send a cease and desist letter on pain of a fine. Lücker shares his experiences with the web community.
The following days – Social media widely discuss the issue, with most commenters taking sides with Lücker while rejecting Hope’s attitude and behaviour. Blogger Alexander Strauch gets extensively involved in the case.
January 12, 2018 – Lücker is told by Sebastian Nordmann, director of Konzerthaus Berlin, that his freelance work as a moderator will be discontinued after the current season. It is unclear if Hope, who regularly appears at the Konzerthaus as well, has played a role in this decision.
January 15 – Moritz Eggert publishes an open letter in defence of Lücker on the Bad Blog of Musick, claiming Hope’s responsibility for the dismissal, and pleading for conciliation. The letter is translated to English three days later.
January 15 – Albrecht Selge reports the case on his blog Hundert11: Konzertgänger in Berlin.
January 16 – Sebastian Nordmann leaves a comment in the Bad Blog and states that Lücker’s humour is incompatible with his duties at the Konzerthaus, thus vindicating his dismissal.
January 16 – Robert Jungwirth reports the case on Klassikinfo.
January 17 – Norman Lebrecht reports the case in a blogpost on Slippedisc, getting several facts wrong.
January 17 – Daniel Hope adds a comment to Lebrecht’s post, stating that, after Lücker has apologised to him, he is now done with the matter. As for the lawsuit, consequences are still unclear.
January 17 – Marlene Fercher covers the case for BR Klassik, reporting that Lücker’s future blogposts at Neue Musikzeitung will no longer be editorially independent.
January 17 – Jens Laurson shrewdly comments on the affair in Forbes magazine.
January 18 – Neue Musikzeitung’s editor-in-chief Theo Geißler dissociates himself from Lücker in a statement on his Facebook wall. The post is deleted only 15 minutes later.
January 18 – Jeffrey Arlo Brown and Hartmut Welscher, in a VAN Magazine article, suggest that Clemens Trautmann, head of Hope’s label Deutsche Grammophon, intervened at Neue Musikzeitung to have Lücker removed.
January 19 – David Sanderson comments the case for The Times.
January 19 – Things get more transparent now. In Michael Cooper‘s report for The New York Times, Hope is quoted to have taken down the lawsuit for Lücker, while claiming not to be responsible for his dismissal at the Konzerthaus.
January 19 – Arno Lücker and Carlotta Joachim issue another shred video based on a performance of Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lambert Orkis. It is available on YouTube for about 12 hours before disappearing again.
January 20 – Carlotta Joachim also contributes a statement on the Bad Blog of Musick, further detailing the context and ambition of the Hope shred.
January 20 – Lücker and Joachim attend a concert of Daniel Hope in Essen and meet him afterwards to make up with each other. The question remains whether and to what extent Neue Musikzeitung‘s freedom of press has been manipulated.
January 22 – Niklas Rudolph comments for Deutschlandfunk radio station.
January 22 – Alexander Strauch summarizes the whole affair in a blogpost on his personal website, commenting in particular on the alleged invasions of fundamental rights, and criticising the recent media coverage.

Animal Portraits on World Tour

I am pleased to learn that, after performances in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, the United States, and Mexico, my instrumental duo suite Zoological Garden is scheduled in the Chamber Music Hutt Valley concert series in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, for May 2018. Thank you in advance, flautist Karen Batten and violist Sophia Acheson of the Toru Trio, and thank you also, Ingrid Bauer for getting in touch! Never thought that these capricious little miniatures would turn out to be my most successful composition.

A Sensitive Job Interview

I have been invited by my Alma mater to introduce myself in the appointment procedure for a music theory professorship. This is, after my widely noticed withdrawal of last summer, something of a surprise. But needless to say, I will accept the challenge and prepare a cunning little demonstration lesson that will blow their minds. Let’s see how it goes. NB: I’m not revealing sensitive data here, as the names of all applicants to this position were publicly announced on the department’s notice board. Good luck to every of my competitors—may they succeed according to their personal ambitions and standards, regardless of their gender, race, class, or origin.

Concepts of Musical Youth Development

I have been participating in a panel discussion, organised by Wolfgang Lessing at Dresden University of Music. This event was part of a newly founded network dedicated to concepts and structural problems of music education in Germany. It’s been a versatile and very inspiring exchange of thoughts with participants from various kinds of musical institutions in Saxonia and Berlin. My colleague Helge Harding and I presented our ideas for new paradigms of professional musical training. A number of other sensitive issues were brought up as well, including possible changes to university curricula and assessment of achievements in musical performance. Future engagement will require people to link themselves, to concentrate their ideas and to transfer them into a broader public in order to reach politics and administrations.