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Salzburg skids: Mozarteum in chaos as four chiefs quit

November 24, 2017 by norman lebrecht

13 comments.


The Salzburg university is fast becoming the laughing stock of cultural Europe as its latest attempt to appoint a rector collapses in disarray.

The story so far: two years ago, the Mozarteum appointed a German pianist, Siegfried Mauser, as its rector.

He turned out to be a molester of female colleagues, convicted by a Munich court.

His successor, from Cologne, took one look at the Mozarteum’s governance and fled this summer before starting work.

In panic they appointed a nice lady from Trossingen, but her salary demands were so off the scale that they got leaked to a Vienna newspaper.

Still, a deal is a deal – or so we thought.

Last night four members of the Mozarteum board of governors resigned, leaving a meeting that was supposed to endorse the new rector several rumps short of a quorum. Collapse of stout council.

It’s starting to look as if what starts in Trossingen stays in Trossingen.

The Mozie, meanwhile, is hilariously headless.

 


Comments (13)

  1. Anon says:

    I will do it. My only condition is, that the board agrees to cover my relocation cost moving away from Salzburg after the first year.

  2. Mr Bean says:

    My heart goes out to Mrs.Gutjahr, who will now not receive 270.000 Euros plus a free flat. How can they do this to a woman of such calibre so short before Christmas ?
    She was Rektor in Trossingen, a town with 15.000 inhabitants and a Hochschule which is one of the true powerhouses of excellence in Germany. Pre baroque Flutes, very contemporary Trombone and the 7 string Mannheim Lute are their top departments and draw the best students from all over the world.
    It would have been a chance for the Mozarteum to have a woman Rektor, who for once would have been paid a fair and overall modest salary, well deserved when taken into account how hard it is for women to reach such a position.
    Shame on you, Austria !

  3. William Osborne says:

    There are hints in the article that the dispute wasn’t just about the salary, but about indiscretions among one or more members of the Unirat — an outside advisory council that oversees the administration of the Mozarteum, and which approves the salaries. The paper mentions that the head of the faculty senate showed up at the Unirat meeting, which is not allowed. (Their job is to oversee the faculty.) Another indiscretion might be leaking the salary negotiations to the press. Confidentiality is a necessary part of the Unirat’s working environment. Something more extreme than just a salary negotiation must have happened to cause four resignations.

    It’s also problematic that there have been so many conflicting reports in the press about the salary requested. Nor a clear explanation of how much money Gutjahr would lose from her pension by leaving her German job before she turns 65. The penalties can be quite stiff.

    It’s also not clear that Gutjahr withdrew her application. She indicated a willingness to negotiate, which is fairly normal, but that has been rendered impossible by the resignations in the Unirat that prevent a quorum.

    Administrative power in conservatories in the German-speaking world is strongly concentrated at the top. Without a Dean, they can be quite rudderless. And its already been over a year and half that the position is open. It is the students who will suffer the most. The government needs to find a way to appoint an interim Unirat and settle this hiring matter as soon as it can.

  4. William Osborne says:

    Perhaps a note about the University of Music in Trossingen is also in order. During the war, the conservatory in Stuttgart was moved to Trossingen to keep it from being bombed. The plan was to move it back after the war, but the people in Trossingen liked having it so much, they successful pleaded for it to remain. So a new conservatory was established in Stuttgart.

    In Germany, the law stipulates that all universities must have equal quality. (And with minor exception, private universities are forbidden by law.) Trossingen is the smallest of Germany’s 22 state conservatories, but its quality is equal. A couple examples, the new solo clarinet at the Met, and the new solo oboist in the Concertgebauw are students from Trossingen. Many similar examples could be listed. In short, people should not demean Gutjahr because she is the Rektor in Trossingen.

    1. Hugh Jorgann says:

      A name like “Trossingen” — in which any English speaker with a sense of scepticism would be tempted to omit the “r”—can hardly convey world class even if it exists. The epitomy of the boondocks. Rename it to “Stuttgart South“ or something. And the disgustingly inflated salary of Ms. Goodyear is an insult to those numerous teaching staff who are paid derisory hourly rates as freelancers (they are the ones in the faculty list who have external e-mail addresses).

      1. Robert King says:

        Why should a smallish German town (Trossingen: population 15,100) not have a really good conservatoire to which people want to go? After all, a smallish town in Scotland called St Andrews (population 16,800) has a really good university which people from far and wide queue up to attend.

        If the quality of the music teaching in Trossingen is good – and the output of excellent musicians suggests that they are getting more than something right – isn’t that something to celebrate? And if the lady heading that successful conservatoire is doing a good job running it, isn’t she be likely to be head-hunted?

        Widening your argument, Bamberg (population 70,000) has a world-class orchestra that matches (some would say significantly betters) orchestras from cities with populations ten, even fifty, times larger. Surely the Bamberg Symphony should not have to be renamed the North Bavarian Symphony? Can’t a small town that punches way above its artistic weight celebrate that success?

        In practice, the German federal system enables a far wider and more equitable spread of culture, education, and talent than many other systems. Maybe other countries could see if they can adapt or incorporate the best aspects for themselves?

        1. Robert King says:

          In para 3, I of course meant to write:
          Can’t a small town that punches, artistically, way above its weight celebrate that success?

      2. William Osborne says:

        It’s true that the pay gap between professors and adjunct positions in Germany’s conservatories is too wide. There are many well founded complaints about this. The American university system is suffering a similar problem.

        Robert King is right, the Federal system in Germany creates a remarkably democratic distribution of culture that could be a useful model for other countries.

        1. Anon says:

          But in international comparison, German professors are paid anything but well.
          Which says a lot about how lousy Germany pays for adjunct teaching jobs.

          1. William Osborne says:

            It depends. The professors are in different pay groupings. The old C-4 profs are paid quite well. After the “reforms” about a decade or so ago, the salaries for new profs were significantly reduced. All part of the way neoliberalism takes away from the middle class and shifts wealth to the 1%.

  5. erich says:

    The real problem in all this is in the way the chairman of the board is allegedly handling the matter – and it should perhaps be investigated if all his various other board appointments in Salzburg – as a crony of the regional Governor – might not represent a considerable conflict of interest.

    1. Anon says:

      well, it’s Austria…

    2. Tristan says:

      Erich might know how things are going in Salzburg which is an’ Operettenstadl’
      Thomas Bernhard should be quoted!
      There are no objective criteria for anything and all kind of similar people are sitting on all kind of boards; the Austrians call that ‘Freunderlwirtschaft’ – people in most positions there do not know anything else than their little Salzburg…..it’s one of the most petit bourgeois place on this planet or like my Austrians friends tell me ‘spiessig’.
      This board of the Mozarteum should have been changed immediately!


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