Wendelin Bitzan

Wendelin Bitzan

Electronic Concert by Vokalsystem

Warm invitation to this summer’s performances of Vokalsystem Berlin! We are presenting an electronic choral concert programme named [ˈkʁiːzə] (crisis), featuring music by Claudio Monteverdi, Benjamin Britten, Melissa Dunphy, Caroline Shaw, Ted Hearne, Radiohead, and others. Johannes David Wolff and Artschi Loyan are already bursting with playfulness and creativity, and I’m sure it will be a blast. Tickets at €14 / €9 are still available for the events on Friday 12 July, 8 pm, or Saturday 13 July, 6 pm and 8 pm, at the former distillery Monopol Berlin (a really cool space for vocal performances, by the way). Please refer to this website to book your ticket.

GMTH Lecture on Music Notation

Dear friends and colleagues, this is an invitation to attend the forthcoming event in the international online lecture series of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie, taking place next week on Monday, July 1, 2024, 19:00 CEST. We are pleased to welcome Robert Komaniecki (University of British Columbia) who will present a talk entitled »Sheet Music Goes Viral: On the Past and Present of Music Notation as an Object of Aesthetic Significance«. This promises to be a both insightful and entertaining lecture, so please join us! Registration is possible via the GMTH website.

GMTH Panel on Political Pressure

Exciting discussion upcoming: In the framework of the international lecture series of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie, which I have the pleasure of co-organising, there will be an online panel on the topic »Political Pressure and Abuse of Power in Academia and Music Institutions« next Thursday, 13 June, at 7 pm CEST. The composers Stefan Pohlit and Vladimir Rannev will discuss their experiences of ideological influence, discrimination, and institutional violence executed by their former employers in Türkiye and Russia. We are pleased to have music theorist Ellen Bakulina as a session chair.

Looking forward to an intriguing and possibly controversial exchange of thoughts! If you would like to join, please register via the GMTH website in order to receive the Zoom link.

Wage Dumping in Viennese Orchestras

The deplorable practice of orchestras in Vienna hiring freelance musicians for dumping fees has developed to an alarming state since I did my PhD in this city, which always used to be a place of longing for people working in classical music business. Not anymore, it seems, as the Falter magazine reports in a recent article. One organiser of those dubious ›orchestral enterprises‹, making loads of money out of tourist rip-off concerts with run-of-the-mill repertoire, is quoted with his stubborn refusal to pay his musicians more than 80–100 euros per day. There is no need to offer higher fees, he implies, as there are more than enough players willing to perform for those rates. One Facebook commenter suggests that this is because of the considerable inflow of musicians from Czech Republic, Hungary, and the Balkan countries to Vienna. As if these colleagues did not deserve fair payment. Cynicism at its peak!

This abhorrent business model needs to be stopped. Recently, the Austrian lobby group IG Freie Musikschaffende has released a statement claiming a minimum fee of 228 euros per day, which seems more than reasonable, but even this rate appears to be far from reality. Please spread the word, and help the colleagues from Vienna get rid of those exploitative employers! #fairpayment #freelancemusicians

New Role at Tonkünstlerverband Berlin

I am glad to announce that I was appointed managing director of Tonkünstlerverband Berlin, which means that I am resigning from my honorary post as vice chairman of the association in order to take care of its administration on a professional basis. As of June 2024, I will be responsible for the membership management, internal and external communications, and public relations work of the organisation that I was actively involved in transforming into a modern and future-oriented interest group of musicians and music educators. At the same time, I will continue working in my primary role as an university lecturer in music theory.