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Afternoons at the Piano

My godmother was not a talkative woman. She wasn’t even my godmother, really; she was the wife of my godfather. But following his sudden death, she took over everything he used to do. His relatives, his office at home, his obligations. I was part of what she’d inherited. She had never been one for feigning all that much interest in …


He Tweets – We Tweet

We all tweet. Trump, Macron, and now Mr. Kurz, too. “have clear [sic] commitment to a differentiatated [sic] & performance-rewardings [sic] school system”, he tweets—and if not correctly, then at least rightly. But we are save! Even under Mr. Kurz, people in Austria will still be able to go to school. Even if, after reading his tweet, we’d be pardoned …


Criticism and Friendship

In a small country, perhaps the biggest misunderstanding has to do with the connection between being critical and being friends. A small country is a confined place, and where people feel confined—with little space left to breathe and even less left to move—fear is not far off. Those who are afraid seek security. Not freedom, not confrontation, not radicality. But …


Yeah, sure, but let’s see, now…

Imagine mentioning some political, businessrelated, or university-related thing that you think could use some improvement. How familiar does the following reaction sound to you? Oh, really? Interesting, you really see a problem there? No, I’d never seen it that way before. So far, it’s always worked just fine as it is. But now that you mention it, I can understand …


Beginning the New Semester with Renewed Mindfulness

In the everyday stress that’s so universal these days, it can quickly happen that we lose our feel for ourselves and forget to even ask what we need, desire, and feel. Instead of turning our gaze inward and becoming conscious of our own strengths and abilities while learning to accept and value them, we often spend time comparing ourselves to …


For Love

“Die Liebe ist die größte Kraft. Die Liebe, die alles schafft.” [Love is the greatest force. Love, the universal source.] These lines were sung by art collective Laibach during the mid-1980s. They came embedded in the hard, dark arrangements so typical of these musicians, performed as part of a militaristic stage show that flirted with fascist political aesthetics. It was not …


Three-Lane Bass

The voice is human beings’ most beautiful instrument, it is said, and its beauty is unevenly distributed. When someone speaks quietly, how often is it that you only half-listen to them? How strongly does a voice influence the message that it brings across—even elevating it, rendering it somehow more valuable—just because it’s particularly pleasant? How fond are we of listening …


What Bass Has to Do with University Life…

In music, it can sometimes happen that we concentrate all too much on virtuosic melodies and brilliant high notes—thereby paying far too little attention to the bass. When it comes to ensuring a great choral or orchestral sound, however, the bass part has a crucial role to play. Oftentimes, the bass assumes the role of a facilitator, allowing the other …


Special Birthdays

A bicentennial is something like one of those decadal birthdays that mark milestones in our lives. We know about them, we see how those around us hectically plan for them with a mixture of joy and panic, and we’re pushed by the outside world to view these dates as something significant. But we don’t really feel them. Nothing’s different than …


Your Voice for Education!

At a university of music and performing arts, vocal training is first and most essentially domain of singers, of course, although future teachers as well as actors also train their voices as part of their studies. But one can also conceive of voice training more broadly: as the practice of involving oneself in democracy and civil society. Raising our voices …


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