German academy responds to racism allegation

We have received this statement from Raimund Trenkler, founder of the Kronberg Academy, in response to claims by Marika Hughes, granddaughter of Emmanuel Feuermann, that she was sidelined for racial reasons.

Mr Trenkler writes:

I deeply regret that Marika Hughes felt hurt in 2002. We were delighted about her accepting our following 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 in her interview with Mr. Katz. I certainly did not set up the Kronberg Academy to put any people above others. Just the opposite is the case.


Raimund Trenkler


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  • interestingly Mr Trenkel does not respond to the very specific incident that Marika Hughes mentions 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.

    • If one has watched the interview to which Mr. Trenkler responds here, it is clear that he is trying to avoid the issue altogether. This may be still understandable to a certain degree because it is quite embarrassing for someone in his position. Yet this avoidance doesn‘t lend much credibility to his portrayal of himself and the situation either. But his sentence „I am sorry for not having invited Marika Hughes as a cellist for artistic reasons.“ really puts the icing on his dreadful cake for me. By starting with „I am sorry“, it is the only formulation which could technically count as an apology. And right away he uses just this for another slap in the face. As a German I feel deeply embarrassed by his behaviour and want to apologize to Ms. Hughes for the abominable treatment she had to experience.

    • +10000 I am astonished by his response. Also baffled, for I seem to recall Marika having mentioned playing at the start of the celebrations. It is the award ceremony shenanigans she spoke about in the interview, and Trenkler just blocks that out. God above, of course she should have been with the family!! I am at present mulling that Trenkler founded this school, he has apparently trademarked its name himself… he owns it, though he doesn’t pay for it, and he’s got a good facade of patrons, which is not difficult to get. I think that perhaps it was at the award ceremony that he did not want a darker complexion spoiling the effect he wanted to achieve, the image of the trademark of his business. Trenkler tolerance has strict limits.

      • Doug, are you nuts? Have you heard the interview? Do you even know what the AFD is? Your response is very offensive and sad because of sick soul.I know where you are coming from. Shame on you!

        • “If it weren’t for double standards, the left would have no standards at all.” -Dennis Prager

          Thanks for providing yet another example.

          • This is a serious issue involving accusations- which have yet to be explained by the perpetrator- against a powerful person in the music world. It is hard to imagine what besides racism could motivate such terrible behavior, but whether it is racism or simply abominable rudeness, it isn’t OK either way. No politics motivates this complaint, and if you took the time to listen to the video you would see that the issues were real and the dismissive “apology” certainly reinforces the tone of the original complaint. This is not the place to play cops and robbers with politcal gotcha and right/left, Germany/America battles. . These are real people, not pawns of ideology.

      • Are you a right-wing troll, part of one mainstay of SD? Of course you are. Such tripe is all you’ve ever posted on this site.

          • It is, or was meant to be, a response to ‘Doug’ re his comment about the so-called Left having double standards. He and a number of other commenters on here view the world, regardless of the issue in hand, purely through the lenses of right-wing spectacles. Just a glimmer of an opening for politics and they are in like Flynn. There are enough of these politicos on this site for me to suspect they are indeed trolls who roam sites at random, the site purpose being irrelevant. One massive umbrella site for charitable causes, circa 25 million members world-wide, has, rather tragically, been invaded by organized trolling groups, well-coordinated. Not here, I’m glad to say, though they manage to disrupt even the most purely musical of discussions.

  • Mr.Trenklers comment “I am sorry for not having invited Marika Hughes as a cellist for artistic reasons” is completely beside the point and at the same time derogatory. This seems rather to confirm that his treatment of Mrs.Hughes could have been unfair and indecent.

    Whoever knows Mrs. Casals-Istomin, Mr.Bashmet, Mr.Kremer, Mr.Eschenbach or Sir Andras Schiff should ask them if such an organisation really merits their continued support.

    Temeber that the ECHO-Prizes did not survive racist behaviour.

          • How VERY thoroughly you have not a clue as to the theory and nature of Fascism. For God’s sake, read a book or two about Fasicsm written by serious scholars. You won’t find such works easy, but if you take it slowly, with a willingness to learn, you’ll grasp it all right, and your education will have begun.

    • Contact David Geringas. He is a wonderful cellist who has been involved with the Kronberg Academy for a long time. I know David and he will not tolerate Trenkler’s behavior.

  • One wonders if Mr. Trenkler watched the video, since he chooses to respond with platitudes and somewhat rude insinuations. I am no fan on online lynch mobs, and wouldn’t guess as to whether Mr. Trenkler’s behavior is the result of racism or some other type of nastiness, but it certainly deserves a better explanation than what he has offered. I had the privilege to know Eva Feuermann Lehnsen (Feuermann’s widow and Marika’s grandmother) a bit- enough to know that she is about the last person on earth who would have called an emergency meeting with a lawyer in a hotel in a foreign land unless she truly believed that her family had been mistreated. This statement dos nothing to explain or rebut the allegations…

    • Trenkler simply didn’t want a black woman to sit in the front row and ruin his picture of his wonderful competition. Trenker’s reaction is typical of a German in a powerful position. He is a racist.

      • You raise a very serious accusation, namely that this guy’s behaviour of some 16 years ago was motivated by racism. But where is the evidence for this? Maybe he is just rude, maybe the two didn’t get along well? Where is the evidence of racism? Also, you make a pretty strong generalisation about Germans (“typical for …”). Is this fair?

        • Germany has around 33% neo nazis und 2 nazi partys. The racism in Germany is no different than in America, Poland,Hungary and now Italy. Because of the refugees racism is rising here. The comments and hate are very similar to before WW2. It’s sad. Trenkler is not only racist, he is stupid and socially incapable of dealing with people

          • Very strong statements indeed. Why don’t you share the evidence on which you base your assessment? What is your basis for saying that Germany has 33 % neo-nazis? Do you mean to say by that that a third of the Germans are nazis today? Also, to which 2 nazi parties do you refer to? And: what is your evidence that Trenkler is racist? If Marika Hughes correctly describes his behaviour (….which is alleged to have occured some 16 years ago) – yes, that should be considered rude, very rude and awful indeed. But racist? That is an entirely different accusation.

          • To Adam: Hughes is Feuermann’s granddaughter, so at least offer your explanation for excluding her from the family seats and separating from her grandmother. I do not say there cannot be other explanations. I just can’t summon up any that make much sense, or aren’t offensive on other grounds.

          • This is supposed to have happened some 16 years ago. I was not there, I cannot judge whether Marika Hughe’s account is correct or not, and – if correct – whether Trempel’s actions were motivated by racism. Note that Marika Hughes does not allege that he said anything racist to her. She simply alleges that his motivation was racist.
            Do you want to live in a society like this, which assumes the worst of people?
            Maybe Trempler is really an awful person – (quite) possible. But you know full well that an accusation of racism is something special. And I think it should not be raised without good evidence to support it.

      • Oh really? The US has elected the biggest idiot and racist into the highest office, but it‘s still the stereotypical eternal German Nazi to blame.
        People are hopeless and sad.

        • You are right about Trump! No one is stereotyping Germans. I’m half German back to 1500 in Augsburg. My English side goes back to 1607. In all lands, races and religions you will find ignorant intolerant people.

          • You said Germans in powerful positions are typically racist. That‘s nonsense, stupid to say, and the brothers of racism, chauvinism and nationalism, itself.

  • Since the founding of the Kronberg Academy when they were schlepping around looking for funding and not so sure of their future, to the current era, where they have made a place for themselves in the German Festival world, Trenkler has certainly amassed a certain amount of power, which I believe contributes to his self=assured, over confident and generally nasty behavior because he feels that he can, which is why he doesn’t even direct his tongue in cheek, unapologetic response to his terrible treatment of Ms. Hughes. My suggestion is that she inform the Board of this very unfortunate incident and truly a slap in the face, and continue to expose Herr Trenkler for his untoward behavior..

      • Jane, if you wish I can recommend some really pit bull lawyers, both in the US and Germany.

        • Jane is a fine teacher of stringed instruments in Salisbury, so location and funding might make that difficult. But I do detect a solid lawsuit in this business, unless the statute of limitations comes into it, and I suspect some high-powered assistance might be forthcoming if such action were proposed. In spite of some highly misleading comments above, I think Germany might be the best bailiwick.

          • I live in Germany and have 2 law suits because of malpractice. The lawyers for Trenkler will ask why she waited so long to say something. For medical malpractice I had to file within 3 years or forget it. It will be difficult for Marika. The legal system here is quite different than in America and in my opinion not fair. The people with the most money win. Sad.

          • Um…I don’t think you can sue someone for not letting you sit at the front of the hall.

  • Marika Hughes Statement Regarding Kronenberg Academy Feuermann Grand Prix:

    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 I were to keep quiet any longer.

    Marika Hughes
    June 27, 2018 NYC

    • Marika,
      You don’t have to explain or justify what happened to you. It was traumatic to live through that.Take care of yourself.
      Best wishes,
      Jane Parsons
      P.S. I studied with Paul at Eastman. He is a wonderful person and teacher.

    • I suspect that writing this very clear and dignified statement was not easy for you, Marika, and I congratulate you. No one wants to live over and again such traumatic events. Not a few foolish comments have appeared here, and for that reason I much welcome hearing from you. For my part, I think the truth shines clear through this whole business, while a very dark cloud now hangs over Herr Trenkler. I just hope to hear before long that the patrons of his organization have taken note and action. My very best wishes to you personally and in your career.

      • Hi Steve,
        Thanks for writing with dignity. I don’t understand people like Doug and why he brings a political element in. Marika’s experience has nothing to do with politics. What is “trolling” or a “troll”? I’m 63 years old in July and don’t know these new terms to describe people. If I were to guess I would imagine a troll is someone who wants to disrupt and get his message across which is in this case veiled racism.

        • Thank you, Jane. A ‘troll’ is one who participates in blog discussions with ulterior motives, an agenda, or to purposefully distract from or disrupt the main theme or topic of the discussion. The troll’s reasons are, more often than not, political. The ‘troll’ of ancient Nordic mythology was a sort of hobgoblin, which makes for a pretty good analogy with today’s internet trolls. Your guess is pretty well on the mark.

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