As part of the event Zwischen den Welten. Transdisziplinäre Verschränkungen von Wissenschaft, Kunst & Pädagogik [Between The Worlds. Transdisciplinary Intersections Between Research, Art, and Education] on 13 June, the University Senate awarded Harald Huber its Medal for Merit in Gold for his outstanding service to the mdw.

The researcher, musician, and music educator Harald Huber, himself an mdw alumnus, was a driving force behind the establishment of the art- and research-focussed Department of Popular Music in 2002. He has taught at the mdw since 1981, doing so as a professor since 2004. A central theme in Huber’s work in the field of music sociology is the phenomenon of popularity as it pertains to music. A key aspect here has been his development of the “Global Model of Stylistic Fields” (Stilfelder-Kugelmodell), with which he depicts the entire range of contemporary music in Austria between elitist and popular cultural patterns based on the aesthetic theory of Pierre Bourdieu.

Harald Huber © Sandra Bruckschwaiger

An important concern of Huber’s is “to promote art’s confrontation with all aspects of the present”, in the context of which the mdw is called upon to accord space to “all of music’s stylistic fields and their hybrid manifestations”. In doing so, this composer and pianist—who has served as president of the Austrian Music Council since 2006—also stresses the socio-political responsibility that a university bears. At the mdw, Harald Huber is held in high esteem for his scholarship, his artistic work, and especially for his great commitment to students as well as to the further development of the Department of Popular Music and its profile. He plans to remain with the department as an lecturer following his retirement.

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