Julio Mendívil: How to be an Antiracist Musician 

Photo: Universität Wien/Barbara Mair

Often, musicians are thought of as super-women and men who have the ability to turn hate into love and transform the coldest, most insensitive heart into the warmest and most feeling (just think about the biblical story of Saul’s violence being pacified by David’s magical serenades).  If that be the case, then converting a racist mindset into one in which people are “not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” should be a breeze.  But what if the musician in question is unaware that her/his own perspective is innately, yet unconsciously, racist?  That, ironically, rather than inspiring society to greater harmony, her/his undetected racist outlook strengthens divisive structural racism in society?  Yes, even gender-conscious ethnomusicologists can be racist, as Julio Mendívil, Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Vienna, will tell us.  Come welcome Julio to our show for a special roundtable about an elite form of racism only found in academia! 

When: Wednesday, October 27th, 2021, from 19:00-20:00 Central European Time (1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time)

Where: on Zoom and Facebook Live

Cicely & Madalyn Parnas: Practice Does Not Make Perfect 

Today’s professional music instrumentalists (pianists, violinists, cellists, etc.) may be surprised to read William Deresiewicz’ introductory comments to his book Excellent Sheep – a critique of elite American families’ academic objectives – about “the ability to engage in introspection” as “being the essential precondition for living the life of the mind, and the essential precondition for introspection [being] solitude.”  That’s not news: those professionals spend hours of their day in an introspective solitude that would probably give even an ascetic pause.  And their “practice” regime doesn’t need to be scheduled: it is pre-programmed to happen each and every day (including the seventh).  Anecdotes about Freud report that he didn’t believe creative artists were meant to develop healthy and happy lifestyles (then, again, the music he grew up listening to might have been categorized as Sturm und Drang).  Psychology has evolved since then, of course, as have musicians and their concepts of “best practices.”  What is the outlook of today’s elite professional musicians?  Is any semblance of “work-life balance” their lot?  Cellist Cicely Parnas and violinist Madalyn Parnas-Möller – two sisters at the top of their game, both as renown instrumental soloists, in their own right, and as the award-winning chamber ensemble, “Duo Parnas” – invite us for an intimate discussion about musicians’ faithful and multi-faceted relationships with their instruments.  

When: Wednesday, October 20th, 2021, from 19:00-20:00 Central European Time (1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time)

Where: on Zoom and Facebook Live

Akiko Nakajima: The Soprano Identity 

Akiko Nakajima knows all about departing: she is constantly leaving to meet her opera and concert engagements the world round.  She also knows all about staying: she audaciously built – brick by brick – a career that bridges Japan and Europe and, today, is General Director of the Noura Opera Foundation in Gunma, Japan, Music Director of the Österreichisch-Japanische Gesellschaft in Vienna, Austria, and Professor of Voice & Opera at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna.  Come welcome Akiko to our show and get ready for a redefinition of the soprano identity.

When: Wednesday, October 13th, 2021, from 19:00-20:00 Central European Time (1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time)

Where: on Zoom and Facebook Live

Miguel del Águila: Elegant and Affectionate Music

If contemporary classical music isn’t usually considered “elegant,” then it surely is never considered “affectionate.”  How, then, did Miguel del Águila, a Vienna-trained composer, find the path that led his music to be received by The New York Times as both “elegant” and “affectionate” as well as to be nominated for three Grammy Awards?  Come welcome Miguel and special guests Guillermo Figueroa, Principal Conductor of the Santa Fe Symphony, Dirk Meyer, Music Director of the Augusta Symphony and violinist Saul Bitran of the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, to our show and get ready for a new take on musical modernity.

When: Wednesday, October 6th, 2021, from 19:00-20:00 Central European Time (1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time)

Where: on Zoom and Facebook Live

Zsolt Nagy & László Marosi: Learning Music from the Best 

Paradoxically, Franz Liszt was, at once, very Hungarian and not Hungarian at all.  His parents worked for the Esterházy family estate on the outskirts of Vienna, where he only knew to speak German and, as he prepared to move to Paris, learned French.  As one of the first international “concert pianists,” Liszt passionately fundraised for Hungarians in need and would be knighted in Budapest as a Hungarian hero.  He later financed and taught at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, but, despite his efforts, was unable to learn the Hungarian language.  Such cosmopolitanism is the heritage of Hungary’s premier music school and surely, Liszt would be proud of the international careers of two of its alumni: Zsolt Nagy, who was appointed Professor of Orchestral Conducting at the same Paris Conservatoire that Liszt was rejected admission to, and László Marosi, who taught conducting students at the University of Central Florida.  Come welcome Zsolt and László to our show!

When: Wednesday, September 29th, 2021, from 19:00-20:00 Central European Time (1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time)

Where: on Zoom and Facebook Live