Medtner Talk in Leipzig

Dear devotees and scholars of Russian music: this is an invitation to my forthcoming musicological lecture on Thursday, January 30, 3 pm, which will see me delving into biographical studies for the first time. In the framework of a conference on Eastern European émigré culture at Zentrum für Musikwissenschaft Leipzig, I will be presenting an English-language paper titled »Decision, Hope, and Resignation«, examining Nikolai Medtner‘s stay in Berlin (1921–24) and the personal and artistic implications associated to that period. Admission is free, so please stop by if you are around! The conference will also cover aspects of emigration from Poland, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Hungary. — Full schedule available here.

Youth Project in Magdeburg

Glad to be part of the music theatre education project YOUR_Street.Scene of Theater Magdeburg which is loosely based on Kurt Weill‘s opera Street Scene. During the next months I will be conducting a creative workshop with a class of 11th-graders at International Gymnasium Pierre Trudeau Barleben, resulting in a musical and choreographic performance which will be presented inside and outside the Magdeburg opera house in July 2020. Today has been the first session—the students show a promising level of musical understanding and vocal and instrumental skills, and I look forward to developing ideas for their collective improvisations and compositions. Thanks to the resourceful Matthias Brandt for initiating this collaboration!

Turn of the Year

Happy holiday season to all of you, regardless of what you celebrate these days, and a pleasant end of the year! Here is a little thing that I wanted to share with you: a live recording of the most recent performance of my music. Petra Vidmar and Erazem Grafenauer of Duo Xylocorda appear in the duo suite At the Forest Verge for guitar and marimba, forming part of a concert in Ljubljana Town Hall, Slovenia, in October 2019. Hope you listen with as much delight as I did. So long—see you in 2020!

A Musical Valediction

Yesterday I attended the farewell party of the former Chamber Choir of the Berlin University of the Arts in which I participated and performed during the last fourteen years. It was an affectionate and communicative gathering of the most recent choir members. My contribution was to present Max Reger‘s Nachtlied, Op. 138 No. 3, in my own piano transcription (please find the sheet music of my version here, as well as the choir’s recording of the original piece). This composition, one of my all-time favourites in the choral repertoire, represents some unforgettable memories related to music-making which I am grateful to share with my dear colleagues.

The Musical Mysteries of Ukraine

The spirit of Emil Gilels hovers over the Small Hall of the Odessa Academy of Music, so much I know for sure. And, by the way, this institution seems to be the one and only conservatory in Europe which is named after a woman—coloratura soprano Antonina Nezhdanova, the dedicatee of Rachmaninov‘s Vocalise. Yet other questions remain unanswered during my trip to Ukraine: Why were Horowitz and Richter so reluctant to perform Medtner, who toured the country in 1927? Where exactly was Horowitz born? And how on earth could the Soviet authorities issue him a passport with his father’s name misstated as ›Semenovich‹ instead of ›Samuilovich‹? Maybe somebody will shed light on these obscurities one day through further research. Off to beautiful Lviv now where I will spend one more day before returning to everyday business: Winter term at Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf requires my well-prepared presence.