Germany’s top composers publish Festschrift for a sex offender

Germany’s top composers publish Festschrift for a sex offender


norman lebrecht

October 17, 2019

Siegfried Mauser is finally on his way to jail for multiple sexual offences against job applicants and colleagues.

But nobody seems to have told the board of the Akademie der schönen Künste.

They are preparing a Festschrift to be published for the criminal’s 65th birthday next month. Are they out of their mortar board minds?

Read here.

UPDATE: Among the luminaries who have contributed to this celelbration of a sex-pest are the leading German (male) composers Rihm, Hiller, Reimann, Trojahn, Widmann, Zender and Lachenmann.

The editors are Borchmeyer, Dieter / Popp, Susanne / Steinbeck, Wolfram

The German music establishment is still protecting one of its own.


  • justice says:

    he s not ‘a criminal’. he s a brillant pianist, intellectual, Music theorist, organizer .. and a warm hearted, open-minded man .. and all he did was consensual. no party is denying that but for unknown reasons, now, after so many years, the courts are re-defining the standards. that doesn’t make him Jack the ripper. it is very strange that those ladies have 100% support and he has 0 % .

    • Nick says:

      Mauser is a very far from a “brilliant pianist”, even further from “intellectual”, and yes, an organizer ….but of what? Let’s keep this under….Jail – is his place.

  • The Bayerisher Akademie der schönen Künste is not an educational institution. It is an honorary society for well-known artists. There are 40 members in the music section. Only 4 are women.

    Given the well-known sexist discrimination my wife faced in the Munich Phil, and the way that sexism was extensively supported by the government of Munich (which owns the orchestra) during her 13 year tenure, it is perhaps no surprise that The Bayerisher Akademie der schönen Künste would honor a man convicted of rape. It would appear that they are not “out of their mortar board minds,” but acting within the norms of their culture.

    They will, of course, disagree and see nothing.

    You can read about Abbie’s experiences here, all entirely documented with 13 years of court records, letters, and other docuements:

    And in German here:

  • Mauser was originally convicted of rape by a lower court, but it was overturned on appeal. The higher court confirmed what happened, that he forced a woman face down on a couch in his office at the Munich’s University of Music, entered her from behind, and that she cried out in pain.

    German law at the time of the assault stipulated that if women did not violently oppose sexual assault, it was not rape. The lower court ruled that crying out in pain was violent resistance, but the higher court said that wasn’t enough, and overturned the rape ruling.

    This law was later changed (women often have no option of violent resistance,) but the judgement had to be made according to the older law which was in effect at the time of the assault.

    To make this even more bizarre, Munich’s University of Music is housed in what was built as Hitler’s personal office building. It is called the Führerbau and is a classic of Nazi architecture. The Dean’s office, where the assault took place, was in the room that was literally Hitler’s office.)

    In Munich, hundreds of musicians work in this building as if its perfectly normal.

    A second indictment was later issued against Mauser in another incident where he forcefully groped a woman, also in his office at the University of Music. (The details are rather astounding, which if I remember right, including forcing his hand inside her pants.) He was convicted of “sexuelle Nötigung”, § 177 German Criminal Law Code. I believe a corresponding term in English would be felony sexual assault. He appealed this ruling all the way to Germany’s supreme court but lost and will soon begin serving a two year and nine month prison term.

    The treatment of women in Germany’s classical music world can be quite appalling. I hope these events in Munich will signal a change, but if the Bayerischer Akademie der schönen Künste is publishing a Festschrift for Mauser, it would suggest that the older mindset remains proudly in tact.

  • Gisela Gluch says:

    No, they are not publishing a Festschrift. The Festschrift has * nothing * to do with the Academy. This was simply “fake news” of Bayerischer Rundfunk. Would you mind doing research into this such as contacting the publishing house ( info * ) ?

  • Brettermeier says:

    “Germany’s top composers”

    Our top composers are all long dead.

    Linked article: “Es wäre so schön gewesen: hätte Dr. Siegfried Mauser im Frühjahr 2017 seinen Berufungsprozess gegen die ihn sexueller Übergriffe beschuldigenden Frauen gewonnen oder spätestens das OLG Bayern ihn im Herbst 2018 freigesprochen, wäre die zu seinem 65. Geburtstag im November 2019 in der zweiten Jahreshälfte 2019 erscheinen sollende Festschrift „Musik verstehen – Musik interpretieren.”

    So many words and still not enough to make that a sentence. Great job!

    • John Borstlap says:

      It’s a beautiful German sentence correctly expressing the knots the authors tie themselves in to explain the inexpliccable.

  • Brettermeier says:

    Correction to my comment: I should have read further, the sentence was not finished. But I was so bored already.

    • Funny comment. LOL. German is inclined to long words and long sentences. One of the things I found interesting about Alexander Strauch’s commentary was the list of composers who have contributed words or music to the Festschrift. They include Aribert Reimann, Manfred Trojahn, Wolfgang Rihm, Peter Michael Hamel, Helmut Lachenmann, Hans Zender, Jörg Widmann, and Wilfried Hiller. There is an equal number of literary figures and musicologists.

      Why would so many luminaries of Germany’s new music world support someone who did the things Masuer did (and as documented by the courts?) Why would they not have given credence to the reports of assault the women made, especially given the well-known problems with these issues in the classical music world? How could they have such a smug and insular world view?

      I’ve lived in Germany for 40 years, but after a time I could not participate in its new music world. The pervasive atmosphere of sexism and misogyny was almost suffocating, and many in the new music community deeply resented our work for women’s rights. Sadly, this situation barely improved over the years. Fortunately, my wife and I have been able to perform our work in close to 200 cities the States–a place with even worse problems that Germany in general, but with at least a new music community far more amenable to our ideas about the rights and dignity of women.

      I hope people will take careful note of this Festschrift scandal. It says so much about the attitudes in Germany’s new music community. To speak plainly, it’s disgusting.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The domination of Klangkunst among the mentioned composers is revealing enough (except Wilfried Hiller).

    No doubt, especially Lachenmann will be enthusiastic about Mauser, given his understanding of music:

    • To belabor the obvious, there are no correlations between any style of classical music and sexual assault. Your muddled (if not monomaniacal) thinking that associates atonality with evil merely illustrates the troubling confusion surrounding the topic of sexual assault in the classical music world.

      • John Borstlap says:

        The confusion of a mindset keen on assault can easily be associated with Klangkunst, and gender is only an additional ‘bonus’:

        This does NOT mean that ‘anständige Klassik’ is immune to predatory inclinations, but I bet statistical research would show a stronger connection between acoustical and physical assault. There is nothing in Klangkunst which would offer different aspirations, as in Klassik.

        • Harald Muenz says:

          This does not correspond to the truth. Lachenmann studied piano under Jürgen Uhde, a well-known Beethoven pianist. In the Stuttgart Musikhochschule I personally heard Lachenmann beautifully play an entire movement of a Bach Partita (even by heart), so your accuses of musical dilettantism and him negating the musical tradition are completely unfounded defamations.