Faculty Q&A

Admissions 2021-22

What makes the teaching environment at the Barenboim-Said Akademie attractive from your perspective?
The whole idea is a dream project that came true, with enormous enthusiasm and love for music, education and friendship. The building itself and Pierre Boulez Saal, exhale a specific artistic scent. And not only that, but also a community atmosphere can be felt immediately.
  
Is there something specific that you are looking for in a student?
I promote my musical talent, but at the same time I consider it most important to respect the musical rules.
 
Is there a piece of advice that you would like to give to prospect students?
Don't stay in an orthodox world of thinking, open your soul and heart to new things, try to "fill up" with everything that is valuable.
 
What is the most important lesson that you learnt from your own studies?
That I have to continue learning just like the students, and that I have to work differently with each personality.

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 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.

 

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 attractive from your perspective?
The Barenboim-Said Akademie is an incredibly interesting and inspiring institution. I appreciate the openness of the students and my colleagues, the diversity of the individual stories and opinions, and the atmosphere of mutual respect for one another. It’s an environment that is conducive to conversations about „big questions“, and a place where I get to learn something new every day.
 
Is there something specific that you are looking for in a student?
Curiosity, an open mind, and a willingness to learn and to be challenged.

Is there a piece of advice that you would like to give to prospect students?
Given the unique environment of teaching and learning at the Barenboim-Said Akademie, I would emphasize that this institution offers a wealth of opportunities, above all musically, but of course also culturally and intellectually. This should come with the understanding, however, that this can be a challenging process and will require dedication and hard work. 
 
What is the most important lesson that you learnt from your own studies?
I learned much more in my own studies than I can mention here, but I think I learned the most important lesson during my stays abroad: If we really want to understand something, we need to look at it through the eyes of others, question our beliefs and assumptions, and accept that there are often more ways to think about the same issue than we would like. 

What makes the teaching environment at the Barenboim-Said Akademie attractive from your perspective?
Our philosophy classes are alive: we do not try to dig archaeological relics of past thoughts, but to think them together in the present tense, to come into contact with them and revise or replace them as we understand the way forward to require. We do so by engaging in an earnest inquiry and listening to other views before reformulating our own positions.
 
Is there something specific that you are looking for in a (prospective) student?
A willingness to transform oneself by encountering the unfamiliar.
 
Is there a piece of advice that you would like to give to prospective students?
If you haven’t already, get into a habit of reflecting in writing about your life and your musical practice. 
 
What is the most important lesson that you learnt from your own studies?
The profound truth of the ancient proverb “the wise learns from every person.” In other words, as students, our learning process is our responsibility. I have had the immense privilege of wonderful teachers, some of whom continue to inspire me. But even the best teacher can only reach you if you are fully present. What is more, if you are indeed present and curious, you will find that every teacher is a good teacher.

What makes the teaching environment at the Barenboim-Said Akademie attractive from your perspective? 
The combination of artistic and humanistic education, the lively cooperation and internationality make the academy a unique learning environment.
 
Is there something specific that you are looking for in a (prospective) student?
Openness for new things and an interest in understanding the world. Respect for other cultures.
 
Is there a piece of advice that you would like to give to prospective students?
Take time to cultivate interests that do not lead directly to a specific goal. Stay curious.
 
What is the most important lesson that you learnt from your own studies?
Much that seems obvious is not set in stone