Flashback: 40th Anniversary of the Hindemith Institute in Frankfurt
With the exhibition "Archive Treasures" and concerts at the Academy of Music and the Performing Arts in Frankfurt am Main, the Hindemith Institute in Frankfurt celebrated its 40th anniversary in November 2014. The highlights of the festivities have been preserved in this film by Tim Wulf.
With the kind consent of Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft mbH
For Schott Music Publishers, Paul Hindemith is one of the most important composers. When one bears in mind that Hindemith composed important works in nearly every genre, he is perhaps the most important of all in this breadth of creativity. For this reason, it was of special significance for the publishing house that the Hindemith Foundation founded the Hindemith Institute. Firstly, in order to organise the publication of the Complete Edition and, secondly, in order to contribute to the accessibility, new discovery and rediscovery of Hindemith's oeuvre by encouraging studies to be undertaken within the framework of the Hindemith Yearbooks, as well as other studies. When one remembers that the Hindemith Institute also cultivates contact with conductors, soloists and dramaturgs - indeed, with all those involved in our musical life who wish to carry on the work of Hindemith - then the cooperation between the publishing house and the Institute is essential in order to attain this goal.
We possess an incredible amount of the most varied kinds of documents: from music manuscripts, autograph scores, sketchbooks, sketches, text drafts to Hindemith's own operas, extensive correspondence with many different personalities of the musical and cultural life of his generation, private documents such as photo albums as well as the model railway with which he played passionately. This plethora of documents and materials enables us to gain a highly differentiated view of his life. From various points of view, we can shed light on the history of this composer's oeuvre and biography, thus drawing a very detailed picture of his life.
The integration of the Hindemith Institute into the Academy of Music and the Performing Arts in Frankfurt offers students many possibilities to come to terms with this special musical personality who was equipped with great charisma. It contains a large treasure trove that makes the work of Hindemith more understandable, comprehensible and accessible for students. They are aided and supported in this undertaking by the Institute staff. For those of us on the teaching staff, too, the Institute is always an inexhaustible wealth of information and objects which allow us to assimilate new knowledge, receive impulses and incorporate them in our teaching activities. With Hindemith, in particular, the artist's personality is not limited to composition; far more than that, he is a musician whose activities were markedly versatile and diverse. With his music, first of all, which he composed and bequeathed to us; secondly, with impulses in the direction of historical performance practice and through his confrontation with music-pedagogical questions. He was concerned with questions of what is known today as music mediation: how do I confront an audience with current, contemporary music? How can I encourage understanding and interest?
In all these points, the Hindemith Institute offers material enabling us to comprehend Hindemith's thinking and activities, not merely to acknowledge things as museum pieces. The Institute thus continues to contribute impulses to the current music scene, to present-day concert life and to our artistic activities today. I find this quite extraordinary. And, of course, the spatial proximity that we have here offers us a very special opportunity that makes precisely these paths accessible to us.
The students benefit greatly, in many practical ways, from the fact that the Institute is housed here in the building. They are made familiar with the composer Hindemith from the very outset; his works are frequently performed in all the instrumental classes. It is therefore invaluable that many manuscripts can be viewed right on location and that the staff of the Hindemith Institute takes the trouble to make this music more accessible to students. We receive a great variety of stimuli from the Hindemith Institute. Foreign students, too, such as Spanish or Koreans, for example, whom I am presently teaching, have found a wonderful approach to Hindemith. Not only because I personally advocate his music strongly, but simply due to the fact that the Hindemith Institute is in our building. A great familiarity with his music has grown over the years. And I am especially happy about that.
The City of Frankfurt is proud to house, for the past forty years now, an institute that is highly regarded in the field of musicology in which one of the most important and extensive estates of a twentieth-century composer is stored. In this way, the Hindemith Institute is making a valuable contribution to Frankfurt's reputation as an attractive cultural, musical and scholarly location. I wish the Institute another 40 years. Congratulations!