Martin Sieghart


You can watch a Portrait Documentary about me under 'Documentary': 'Ik adem muziek' - "Ich atme Musik" (with English subtitles). This lovingly crafted film says more about my life than I could with my own words.

Being a teacher means to always put oneself in the soul of the student and to never demand the reverse.

For all intents and purposes, I think it has always been unimportant in what form I may make music. 'May' being a key word. That I may live with music, from waking up to sleep my life revolves around music.

I require my students to regularly sing in a choir. The voice is and will always be the most important thing, regardless in which form one practises music. It is essential to learn how to shape phrases through the natural breath.

How wonderful it is to experience young people, who through their love of music see no bounds and ignore the given tempi and dynamics. I do not want to listen to someone at fifty who did not exaggerate at twenty-five.

It is the most difficult thing to teach the incredibly gifted. Either they do not want to see any limits or they only see these limits and fail in trying to realise their own demands.

To the same degree the interest for our music in Europe decreases and thus the reduction of subsidies (or vice versa? did the chicken come before the egg?), other countries in Asia, the middle east and particularly South America are growing with a remarkable enthusiasm for it. I do not see this as tragic, I follow it with interest and wonder sometimes how we Europeans will manage without our music.

Never try to develop a method of conducting. It does not exist.

It is always exciting to watch a colleague within their open-air festival attempting to hold together the singers, choir and orchestra from a remote area, far away from the stage and through huge monitors. And mostly with success. These days one calls this music-making.... And year after year this spreads. Soon the organisers will simply prepare a recording and then play it back on tape while some extras pantomime on stage. This is cheaper. And we play along as if we were musical lemmings.

Being a teacher does not mean losing valuable time for conducting and to damage one's own career. It means to learn something new in every lesson, that which one was not conscious of before.

I naively imagined that people would learn from the pandemic. To rediscover solidarity as a prerequisite of community. The opposite has happened: the stronger unabashedly tries to steal the bread out of the weaker's mouth. Distressing and a sure sign for a culture in decline.

Don't try to find "great happiness". That does not exist. Create your daily "little happinesses" and so recognize life as an ever-new gift.