Feuermann granddaughter accuses German academy chief of racism

Feuermann granddaughter accuses German academy chief of racism


norman lebrecht

June 26, 2018

Paul Katz has a chilling interview with the cellist Marika Hughes, describing her experiences at the Kronberg Academy’s Feuermann Grand Prix.

‘The Feuermann Compettion is run by a really nasty, racist man,’ she says.




Read more here.

We asked the Kronberg Academy for a response. They have issued a denial that Ms Hughes was exposed to prejudice.


  • sunnydaycomes says:

    She said she had had bouts with Trankler earlier during the week, so could it be something personal that he being rude that night instead of racism? must say things like that is really hard to determine which the real reason behind such confrontation is.

  • Kronberg Academy says:

    Statement by Raimund Trenkler, founder and president of Kronberg Academy

    I deeply regret to hear that Marika Hughes felt hurt in 2002. We were delighted about her accepting our invitations to the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann in 2006 and 2010 and to have her as our guest there representing the Feuermann family.
    I am sorry for not having invited Marika Hughes as a cellist for artistic reasons.
    Now I am stunned at the accusations she is putting forward against me. I certainly did not set up the Kronberg Academy to put any people above others. Just the opposite is the case: 24 young soloists from 16 nations are studying at the Kronberg Academy. We feel highly committed to the humanistic heritage of Pablo Casals, Mstislav Rostropovich and Emanuel Feuermann.
    Raimund Trenkler

    • Omage says:

      Statement from Marika Hughes in response to Raimund Trenkler:

      My name is Marika Hughes and I am the granddaughter of Emanuel Feuermann.
      I am a cellist.
      I am a mixed-race, black woman of German Jewish and American black descent.
      My mother, Monica Feuermann Hughes was his daughter.
      My grandmother, Eva Feuermann was his wife and widow.

      I am grateful to Paul Katz of Cellobello for inviting me to share my family’s stories about my grandfather, Emanuel Feuermann. We spoke about his love of cars, my mother’s relationship to him, his interest in Jazz, the duality of being Jewish and German in 1930s Germany and on and on. However it was the segment on my experiences with Raimund Trenkler and his Kronberg Academy that have created a firestorm.

      Here are the facts:

      I was invited by Raimund Trenkler and the Kronberg Academy to the very first Feuermann Grand Prix in 2002 along with my beloved grandmother and other family members. My grandmother died a few years later and so never returned. I was committed to being present for the Feuermann Grand Prix for as long as I live, to represent our family, as were her wishes.

      It was at this inaugural event that I was first treated so terribly by Raimund Trenkler. I was never again officially invited as Mr Trenkler has misleadingly stated. However I did return on my own accord in 2006 and 2010. I paid my own airfare and purchased my own tickets to every Grand Prix event.

      At the closing event of the inaugural Feuermann Grand Prix in 2002 Raimund Trenkler demanded that I, a black woman, get up from the seats reserved for our Feuermann family in the front row and remanded me to stand in the back of the hall, to the horror and dismay of my family. In addition, while thanking each member of our Feuermann family by name in his opening remarks, he pointedly excluded my name. I am hard pressed to call this anything other than racism. Period.

      Furthermore, when Raimund Trenkler suggested in his written defense that I may be disgruntled because he hasn’t sought me out as a cellist, nothing could be further from the truth.

      I have a policy to never play at any Feuermann event. My reasons are personal. As a cellist I have never wanted to take advantage of my family name. Professionally, I have made my own way as a cellist without using the Feuermann name.

      However, on the occasion of the inaugural Grand Prix in 2002 I was indeed asked to perform with a host of celebrated cellists alongside Raimund Trenkler, in a piece commissioned specifically for the event. In the months prior, I expressed that I did not feel comfortable doing so and declined. Never the less, I was continually pressured by the organizers to play and so eventually I acquiesced. It was understandable from a PR perspective to desire to have the cellist granddaughter participate. However, Raimund Trenkler did not yet know the color of my skin.

      I will welcome the opportunity to one day sit down in person with Mr Trenkler and discuss the unkind ways in which he and his academy have treated me. I believe that this discussion could lead to a mature and important dialogue about race in classical music, long overdue.
      Racism is real and pervasive and in every corner of the world.
      No one is free from the colonial shadow we all live in.

      I would be dishonoring the lives and legacies of my grandparents, Emanuel & Eva Feuermann and Claude & Maudelle Hughes as well as my parents, Marvin Hughes and Monica Feuermann Hughes, if were to keep quiet any longer.

      Marika Hughes
      June 27, 2018 NYC

  • Andreas B. says:

    interestingly, in his statement Mr Trenkler does not respond to the very specific incident that Marika Hughes describes in the interview –
    instead he chooses to imply that Marika’s complaint is “not having [been] invited as a cellist”.
    however, that clearly is not what she is talking about.

    • joshg says:

      Also, the popular use of “I’m sorry that so-and-so felt hurt”, not “I’m sorry for what I did.”