Ivory Tower Conference in Freiburg
Ivory Tower Conference in Freiburg

Ivory Tower Conference in Freiburg

Time for a brief retrospect to a beautiful trip to Freiburg im Breisgau where I attended the initial conference of the recently founded Music Research and Teaching Centre, hosted by Musikhochschule Freiburg and co-organised by University of Freiburg (April 10–12, 2019). The title »Between Ivory Tower and Employability« suggested a topical focus on musicians’ career perspectives, but the event rather turned out to be a self-presentation of interdisciplinary work at the two institutions. This is highly valuable in itself, and I witnessed several impressive lectures, performances, and demonstrations—but a limited perspective and lack of stimuli from outside was also noticeable. In my opinion, the current state of professional music education in Germany suffers from two severe misdevelopments: (1) the extreme difficulty to make a living as an employed or freelance musician, partially caused by the inability (or unreadiness) of universities to help their graduates enter the job market; and (2) the declining educational level and dwindling prospects for domestic applicants, leading to absurdly high rates of international students. Neither of these problems was addressed in the Freiburg conference. The next meeting of this kind clearly requires an open call for contributions, and its range of topics should also investigate and discuss career paths before and after university.

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