Faculty Q&A

Admissions 2021-22

What makes the teaching environment at the Barenboim-Said Akademie unique from your perspective?
This school is special for two reasons, the first is our focus on the Middle East region, the second that we incorporate a humanities element into the studies. This creates a special atmosphere of learning and living. The students here are very close and share many moments of artistic and academic importance.

Is there something specific that you are looking for in a (prospective) student?
I wouldn't say anything specific. I find it important to hear that a student has some kind of musical understanding and, most importantly, a burning will to make music. Problems of instrumental technique are solvable.

Is there a piece of advice that you would like to give to prospective students?
As I mentioned, this is a special place. We offer what I believe is the most comprehensive education for a musician imaginable. This also means that students are expected to work very hard and do more than just practice their instrument. My advice: roll up your sleeves!

What is the most important lesson that you learnt from your own studies?
I would have loved to study in such an environment. I had two years of studies in Paris, one year of Classes Préparatoire at Fénelon (a humanities programme), and a second year of Philosophy at the Sorbonne, before finally studying with my long-time teacher, the late Prof. Axel Wilczok, in the Hochschule of Rostock. Essentially, I pieced together something that looked a lot like what the Akademie offers! Being a musician is about more than mastering your instrument.

What makes the teaching environment at the Barenboim-Said Akademie unique from your perspective?
The core idea of the Barenboim-Said Akademie, to educate students as thinking musicians and to create all the necessary conditions for this to happen - that is the most important thing distinguishing our Akademie from other music schools. The young musicians can discover a new approach to music through philosophy, history, literature and other important humanitarian disciplines. They are trained not only as instrumentalists, but as musicians in the broadest sense of the profession. The Boulez Saal, which is located in the heart of the Academy, does not only offer students a unique opportunity to experience the best musicians of today live, in rehearsals and concerts, but also to perform there in numerous Academy Concerts and a graduation recital at the end of the studies. Furthermore, the Akademie is a place with a particularly warm and human atmosphere, which is primarily due to our wonderful students from various regions of the Middle East and Europe.

Is there something specific that you are looking for in a (prospective) student?
My goal is not only to teach my students how to play the viola, but also to spark their curiosity, to encourage them to go on a journey of self-discovery, to find their musical identity and their own way in the professional world of music. I try to provide them with all the necessary tools for their professional life.

Is there a piece of advice that you would like to give to prospective students?
Learn to be aware of time and to appreciate every minute. The time at university is probably the most precious time because it lays the very foundation for your future. And one more piece of advice: do not to let negative experiences get you down, but try to learn from them in order to move forward.

What is the most important lesson that you learnt from your own studies?
The realization that one's own curiosity and willingness to learn are the most important driving forces in personal development.

What makes the teaching environment at the Barenboim-Said Akademie unique from your perspective?
The Barenboim-Said Academy is a very “special environment” for both the students and the teachers. In my view, the school’s unique humanistic creed is apparent in every little detail: the intimacy of its setting, the friendly collegial atmosphere between its students and the cordiality of all the members of staff. As a teacher I am very touched to see how motivated and passionate my students are about their studies here. I believe that all of us: students, teachers and staff alike, share a sense of pride at being part of this institution.

Is there something specific that you are looking for in a (prospective) student?
What I am looking for in every student is their passion for music. From that passion stems the willingness to push themselves towards achieving their goals and limitless curiosity encompassing music and the world around them.

Is there a piece of advice that you would like to give to prospective students?
My advice to young musicians is to be inquisitive and open minded and to actively seek out what inspires them. What is perhaps most important in our development is how to balance the highest standards we set for ourselves as musicians with patience and kindness towards ourselves. 

What is the most important lesson that you learnt from your own studies?
Perhaps the most important lesson I learnt is that we are on a never-ending quest for all the answers we are seeking and that our studies are only the beginning of this beautiful path.