Wendelin Bitzan

Wendelin Bitzan

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.

Cooperation and Competition

I am currently working on a paper concerning the relationship of the academic disciplines of musicology and music theory in a broader sense. The main focus will be on possible aspects of cooperation / collaboration and competition / rivalry between the two subjects. If you have experienced certain situations, projects, employments, or structural issues in your work that can shed light on either relation, and if you are willing to share your insights, please feel free get in touch! My perspective is mostly concerned with the situation and academic tradition in Germany, but remarks and observations from other countries are welcome as well.

Preparatory Workshop in Music Theory

I will be offering a preparatory workshop soon again for music theory entrance exams at music universities in North Rhine Westphalia, organised by Deutscher Tonkünstlerverband NRW. Please notify your students who consider an application in Cologne, Detmold, Düsseldorf, Essen, or Münster!

» Thursday and Friday, 16–17 May, 2024 | 3–7 pm
» online via Zoom | participation fee: EUR 65
» click here for the registration form