Women and Music Theorists on the Rise

There are two general tendencies in music university administration in the German-speaking countries. First, more and more institutions are led by music theorists and composers (Berlin, Freiburg, Hamburg, Mainz, Munich, Nuremberg, Würzburg). Second, an increasing number of principals and deans are female (Augsburg, Dresden, Hanover, Rostock, StuttgartTrossingen; a significant peak in Austria: Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and Vienna; none in Switzerland). I feel positive about both of these developments. Let me know what you think!

Farewell from University

I am announcing here that I will no longer teach at the Berlin University of the Arts, Faculty of Music. My decision to quit is the result of a number of developments and personal experiences during the last months and years. However, this farewell has absolutely nothing to do with my students who belong to the most devoted, curious, and amiable persons I encountered at university. If you would like to learn more about my thoughts on lectureship at UdK Berlin and on academic teaching and precarious work in general, please read this paper (in German only).

Social Media and Teaching

My colleague Benjamin Vogels published an excellent study on the applicability of social media in academic teaching, particularly in the context of music theory. The article is available in the current issue of the journal of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie (ZGMTH). An exciting read, and highly recommendable for faculty and students open to present-day teaching methods.
Besides, my own article on Vincent d’Indy’s Cours de composition musicale has recently been published in the first volume of Bärenreiter’s new dictionary of music theory treatises and textbooks.

Storm in a Teacup

German classical music journalism has approached a state of mud-wrestling these days. Alban Gerhardt is attacked by Christine Lemke-Matwey for his political engagement, Laura Wikert‘s criticism of David Garrett earns her a mini shitstorm from his groupies, Norbert Schläbitz condemns traditional musicology, Hartmut Welscher and Tobias Ruderer settle up with Deutsche Grammophon‘s marketing policy, Igor Levit defends his unjustly harassed colleagues in an angry rant, and Alphonse Sauer seriously speaks of »journalist fascism«. Feuilletonistic trifle at its best! I feel very well entertained.

I Don’t Name Any Names

This is why I am not really interested in performers of classical music. My impression is that many artists, particularly those featured by the major labels, abuse their personality to mask the music. I cringe whenever I see a concert ad or CD cover with a performer’s name printed in capital letters bigger than the composer’s—this makes me stay away from the concert or leave the store. Their faces may be pretty and their attitude seductive, but unfortunately I am attracted by the music itself rather than by the people performing it. And what they perform is largely uninteresting—no surprises, hardly anything beyond the established canon. So all of you big shots and top sellers: Please spare me your hundreds of Moony Sonatas, Teardrop Preludes, and La Campannoyas just serving your self-portrayal. Keep your artistic profile neurosis for yourself. For being commercially controlled puppets of the music industry, you have my pity, not my sympathy. You don’t illuminate the music, you are basking in its light. Go on selling your shallow high-gloss products, but don’t expect me to watch or listen.