The ‘infectious spontaneity’ of a musical sex criminal

The ‘infectious spontaneity’ of a musical sex criminal


norman lebrecht

October 30, 2019

The Festschrift in honour of Siegfried Mauser is out today.

Mauser is on his way to jail for sexual offences against staff members and job applicants at the Munich Academy of Music.

The volume of tributes, published by Verlag Koenigshausen & Neumann under the editorship of eminent scholars and composers, acclaims ‘the infectious spontaneity and inspiring vitality which have earned him some criticism…(die ansteckende Spontanität und begeisternde Vitalität haben ihm manche Kritik eingetragen‘.

Oh, really?

Not to mention his ‘world-embracing Eros.’

Have they taken leave of their senses?

Mauser, the highest court in the land has decided, was a perpetual groper who took physical advantage of women under his power.



  • Mike Schachter says:

    Who says the Germans lack irony? Almost everyone

  • Gustavo says:

    “…a perpetual groper who took physical advantage of women under his power.”

    Like Domingo?

  • The Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts (an honorary society for artists in Munich) has received a lot of criticism in the German media due to its close association with the Festschrift.

    The Frankfurter Allegemeine even examined the protocols of the Academy’s meetings to substantiate the associations and attitudes of prominent Academy members:

    The hometown paper, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, questions the attempts of the Academy to deny its obvious connections to the Festschrift. The Editor was President of the Academy for ten years. Thirteen members of the Academy contributed work to the Festschrift, including the head of the music section, Peter Michael Hamel.

    Hamel claims that all 13 are acting as “private persons.” The Süddeutcher comments ironically that, “The distinction between private person and public official remains problematic and leads to curious distinctions.” [“Die Unterscheidung zwischen Privatperson und Amtsträger bleibt diffizil und führt zu seltsamen Aufspaltungen.”]

    According to SZ, the Editor (and former President of the Academy) says that none of the composers, scholars, poets, writers, and intellectuals who contributed pieces to the Festschrift have withdrawn their work or asked for a delay in its publication, even though Mauser has been convicted of three counts of felony sexual assault and sentenced to 2 years and 9 months in prison. The SZ article is here:

    And Die Zeit castigates the seeming hypocrisy of the Academy and the comments in the Forward of the Festschrift that imply that the women who complained about the abuse were simply not deserving of Mauser’s “world embracing Eros.”

    Nevertheless, the denials will continue. We might also recall how so many continental institutions have said they can’t judge Domingo unless he is tried in a court of law. The Mauser case shows what that really means.

  • Max says:

    Thank you for your profoundly researched comment and for doing the work that Lebrecht should have done…
    He instead goes for undifferentiated tabloid headline.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Be happy with that, for it invokes loads of more detailed information and opinion. If Norman would conduct an academic website, there would not have been comments and the readership would be very restricted, keeping classical music’s clean or dirty linen behind the screen of respectability.

  • Claudio says:

    Not surprised by this, at all. The misogynists and abuse apologists are so irrational and have so much hate inside them that not even a criminal conviction is enough for them to stop defending their “friends”.

  • Truthalways says:

    People shouldn’t be banned or ostracized for sexual harassment crimes. Cancel culture is idiotic and pointless. The legacy and the right to work should be kept uncontaminated.

  • Glenn Winters says:

    No “backlash” for this guy, huh? The presence of a backlash for Domingo doesn’t mean he wasn’t a dog when it came to women, especially in younger years. I guess if you’re nice to lots of people a statute of limitations kicks in for events of the past.