Saturday, January 20, 2007

Prof. Prof. Prof. Dr. Matti Raekallio

The title of this post is according to the German protocol.

Mr Raekallio is a brilliant piano teacher; one of the rare kind of teachers that can actually teach piano technique. He still plays the piano, and has a very broad repertoire. Personally, he coached me -as my doctorate supervisor- for almost 5 years (2001-2006).


Since 1998, he is professor of piano at the Sibelius Academy. [he's been teaching there for ages before 1998]. Since 2005, he is piano professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Hannover, as successor of the famous Arie Vardi. Furthermore, from the next season, Matti Raekallio will be piano professor at the Juilliard School. (info suomeksi tästä). All these are full professorships.

First question: how on earth is he going to make it? I don't have a clue... He's already on leave of absence for 2/3 of his work for next year here in Helsinki. On the other hand, according to the Sibelius Academy site, he has to teach at Juillard, for 5 periods of two weeks each. (couldn't find something similar at the Juilliard website).

Second question: why on earth is he doing it? Many answers come to my mind, but there's one thing sure. He is ambitious! (answers eventually at the comments)

Third question -we getting to the serious ones now: when and how will the Sibelius Academy react to that? If at all... Theoretically, they cannot.

Fourth: is any of his Finnish pupils going to react? I would. But, you see, I was just lucky to come to Finland before he went on adventurous ways. The answer is probably no. (notice, the Finnish in the question!) No foreigners need to come anymore to Finland for him. And I am not the only one who came here for him...

Fifth: does anyone thin that this way there is a possibility for serious work? Don't get me wrong! I said already he's great. But, no one is perfect... And the pupils here are leaving him already.

It seems, that he did not only followed the example of numerous teachers before him [that taught in two schools], but that he as well paved new roads for them: we had, since the great Kurt Masur, the two continents conductors. Now, thanks to him, there'll be the two continents (at the beginning just) piano teachers. Don't get me wrong again: I think higlhy of him both as a teacher and person, and I believe he helped me; not necessarily so much with my doctoral degree, as much as with my playing and my confidence as player in general.

I find the whole situation however, annoying. Mostly because everyone around here is proud of the first Finnish professor at Juilliard, instead of being sceptical and restrained infront of the problems that the actions of Matti mean for the Sibelius Academy.

PS: Somebody, when I told her about my wish to write about him, asked me whether I wanted to commit suicide. Well, my future at the Sibelius Academy is in any case vague. Why should I lose my integrity?


buzz it!


Anonymous said...

Critics are meant to be constructive!. Enjoy the pepper but don't abuse of it!, it can be too hot to swallow it!


Your loyal public would like to have something about Ligeti or some personal opinions about music. Not only "gramaphone" magazine.


Just a joke.

See you around.

The nameless

Στέφανος Νάσος said...

I think I know who you are, but let's respect your anonymity.

Yes, I hate hot -spicy- food, but I don't even think I started using pepper yet.

About Ligeti you can find anywhere in the world -or internet. Personal opinions about music? Who cares...

The stuff I'm writing you can't find in "grammophone" or anywhere else. This is about the profession, the professionals, and their choices. In an industry almost endless, some people believe that the market is too small... So, I'm here to try to change this point of view, simply because it's wrong.

Probably nothing more, but certain nothing less.

Cheers nameless!

Odysseas said...

I am in a totally different field but had a similar experience: my advisor was too ambitious and he was always looking for more responsibility, a higher position and... more students! After some point it was impossible to meet him and talk about your research (but you could talk about other topics that he cared about!).

I know very well how hard it is to be a doctoral student without a real advisor, but on the other hand you can learn other things from these people, do some useful networking, etc.

In any case, I find very interesting to watch how these people manage to do so many things simultaneously!

Στέφανος Νάσος said...

First of all welcome Mr Ulysses!

No, I'm not a doctoral student anymore, done with my studies...
I write about the rest of his students (all of them undergraduate, and many youngsters who need lots of attention).

There's the paradox about Matti: he doesn't like lobbying. At least that's what he told me couple of years ago. And I believe him. Of course, there's always the possibility that he understood how important lobbying is in arts... even at his early 50s.