Who was that fabulous Russian composer-pianist of German ancestry named Nikolai Medtner, and what made him so noteworthy as a creator of piano sonatas? Dear Vienna residents, come and learn more this Thursday, May 19, 2 pm, at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst‘s Fanny Hensel hall. I’ll be presenting part of my PhD work in an one-hour talk on Medtner‘s Sonata Triad, Op. 11, and G minor Sonata, Op. 22. Would be fantastic to have your company. Entrance to the PhD symposium is free.
The last few weeks have been busy and productive. Wordy Medtner analyses are growing, a fresh wind quintet is currently emerging, and more of my granduncle Günther Bitzan’s music will soon be edited and published. Now awaiting a new challenge in teaching music theory at Hanns Eisler School of Music from next week on.
Palmarum concert this afternoon, 3 pm, with Almut Gatz and Händelchor Berlin at Heilandskirche Sacrow. This is the initial performance of Ensemble Picardie, a vocal quartet with the participation of my dear colleagues Almut, Laura, and Robert, and as the baritone part of which I am happy to serve. Never sung in a church located as idyllic as this one, directly on the Havel riverside. If you happen to be in West Berlin or Potsdam, come along! Entrance is free.
Classical music education in Germany is suffering from a severe prejudice. The notion that somebody with an instrumental or vocal major, focusing exclusively on his / her subject, is more appreciated than students and graduates of the pedagogical programmes (prospective teachers and music school staff) is widespread at universities and conservatories. Faculties, students, audiences and critiques are generally supportive of high-level performance while professional education is drastically underrated and underpaid. This is a fatal misdevelopment that discourages applicants to choose the profession of teaching music. We should promote Schulmusik and Instrumentalpädagogik because these fields are far more relevant for society and cultural welfare than the formation of an one-track artistic elite. Read more of my thoughts on the institutionalized misbalance between performing and teaching music at the Hello Stage Blog, and please share, comment, and object, if you feel like it.
Tonight I was deeply moved and enthusiastically inspired by a piano recital at Piano Salon Christophori. Russian pianist Ekaterina Derzhavina was performing Haydn and Medtner in a way that made me burst for joy and cry in ever-repeating change. What a passionate, graceful, and simultaneously modest playing. And I didn’t have to leave my hometown, not even my borough, to be lucky enough to make this outstanding experience. At times, very rarely in fact, one may feel blessed just by being present in a moment of divine musical inspiration. This has just been such a moment, and I am grateful to have encountered it.