<span class="vcard">Wendelin Bitzan</span>
Wendelin Bitzan

Teaching the Music of Amy Beach

So much looking forward to offering a music theory class at Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf dedicated to the analysis and interpretation of the remarkable music of American composer-pianist Amy Beach. We are going to discuss a selection of her orchestral, chamber, and vocal music, with special emphasis on harmonic and formal conceptions. I am particularly glad that there will be some fascinating guest presenters who agreed to share their expertise with the students: conductor Eva Meitner and violinist Judith Stapf with Trio Orelon. The course is going to take place on Wednesdays, 10–12 am, in alternating on-site and remote sessions. Let me know if you would like to participate in the online classes as a guest.

Questionable Opinions of a Professor

In an interview published by neue musikzeitung in March 2023, pianist and professor Hans-Peter Stenzl, in his function as vice president of Deutscher Tonkünstlerverband, made some highly disputable remarks on studying music and the representation of musicians’ interests. He questions the need for political engagement among students, and in all seriousness recommends to fully focus on artistic refinement without being distracted by »entrepreneurial thoughts«. In addition, he gets several facts wrong with regard to a current initiative of Deutscher Musikrat that aims to issue a statement on fair payment of freelance musicians, and regrettably spreads misinformation on the corresponding working group and its purposes. Simon Borutzki and I published a comment on behalf of DTKV Berlin, putting Stenzl’s most striking misjudgments into perspective. Read more here.

Contemplating Jugend musiziert

On the occasion of my kids taking part in the German youth competition Jugend musiziert for the first time, here are some personal thoughts: The competition did not develop very much during the time since when I myself was a participant some twenty years ago. Some new instruments and categories were introduced, there are junior judges in some categories, and the application procedure has been digitised. Many other aspects remain unchanged: The repertoire lists are still insufficiently diverse, applicants are still required to state the keys and ›style epochs‹ of the performed pieces, advisory consultaltion with the jury still takes place prior to the announcement of the results, and questionable special prizes are still being awarded by weird people and organisations.

Provided that all procedures are carried out smoothly and participants are carefully guided and advised by parents, teachers, and adjudicators, the competition can turn out to be a rewarding and inspiring experience. Some noteworthy ideas are expressed in this podcast by my dear colleagues Laura, Saskia, and Daniel in a recent episode from the Pro Musik Magazine.

Future Talk in Leipzig: Building a Network

Very excited to chair a panel discussion at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig next week! As part of the Future Talks series of Netzwerk Musikhochschulen 4.0, we will discuss questions of studying music, starting a career as a freelance musician, networking, and vocational representation with people from music universities, professional associations, and politics. My dialogue partners will be Sebastian Haas, Lisa Mangold, Andrea Tober, Andreas Hammer, and Oliver Fritzsche. You can join the subsequent public discussion if interested (please register at mentoring@hmt-leipzig.de), or follow the event via the YouTube livestream. Many thanks to Carmen Maria Thiel and the Mentoring Arts programme for the invitation!

» Thursday, 23 March 2023, 2 pm, at HMT Leipzig, Probesaal, Grassistraße 8, 04107 Leipzig
» For more info see this website, and the livestream will be available here

How Musicians Become Offenders

I would like to draw your attention to a remarkable article, written by pianist and university professor Florian Hölscher of Frankfurt Music University, on hierarchies, abuse of power, and misconduct in classical music education. The author puts this sensitive issue into a historical perspective, relates recent developments to 19th-century Meisterlehre and aesthetics of artistic genius, elaborates on the example of the George circle as a prominent example of mental and sexual dependence, and introduces a typology of potential offenders in teaching relationships. This text was thankfully provided by courtesy of the author for the Pro Musik Magazine.