Enrolled at the mdw since: 2017
Programme of study: Master of Arts in Music Education for Voice and Instruments (IGP) – Piano
Favourite place at the mdw and why: The Convent of the Salesian Sisters on Rennweg, for its peacefulness.
Favourite place in Vienna: The Palmenhaus in the Burggarten.
What I wish I’d known back when I started studying here: That the State Opera will sell you wonderful standing room tickets for almost nothing if you line up early enough (1 1/2 hours before the performance).
Where would you most like to perform? I love the intimate and spontaneous atmosphere of house concerts, so I really would like to help repopularise this tradition.
When I play my instrument… I lose track of time. I enjoy giving myself over to the music with abandon. And with all the teaching I’m doing, I now view the opportunity to make music myself as something quite precious.
When I stand on stage… the feeling I have playing isn’t all that different from how I felt while preparing for it. Surprises, be they negative or positive, are pretty rare.
A question that’s preoccupying me a lot right now is… how to best guide beginning piano students towards spirited music-making in their lessons.
My biggest success to date has been… being able spend extended periods of time enjoying life with good energy and curiosity.
What you find attractive about making music together with others compared to standing onstage alone?
Magdalena Fuchs (MF): I think that the crucial part of a concert, particularly in chamber music, happens prior to the actual performance. Preparing together is what makes a group truly gel. And everything you experience as a group during rehearsals, all that you talk about and get a handle on musically, ultimately culminates in that one moment of making music together in concert—even if a lot of things will, of course, be spontaneous since you’re reacting to each other even as you work towards the same end.
Have you already experienced projects where working as a collective was central and where the collaboration that took place turned out successfully?
MF: This past summer, I joined forces with a colleague of mine to organise the concluding concert of “Zusammenklänge”, a hmdw/mdw project where mdw students give instrumental music lessons to displaced children and adolescents. A special challenge here was complying with COVID-19 mitigation measures. Suddenly, it all depended on everyone pulling together: the participating mentors, the Working Group on Safety, the hmdw, the workshop leaders, the mdw students, their pupils, and their pupils’ parents. Everyone was involved more deeply than they would’ve been otherwise. And what came out in the end was one-of-a-kind—perhaps precisely because of how everyone had gotten so deeply involved!
Do you view yourself as more of a lone wolf, musically, or as someone who prefers working together with others?
MF: I’m fond of being my own boss in more than just a musical sense. I treasure serenity, order, and my own rhythm, and I enjoy making time for all that. But I also value exchange with a musical counterpart quite a bit, and I enjoy how stimulating it can be to do things together.