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Interesting Cvs


Fiffaro
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As a student in the late 70s, I idealistically believed that there was no real need for including a biography in my program notes. If I played well enough, I didn't need to tell people how good I was, they would recognize this for themselves. Now more mature, and more cynical, I have learned that most of the audience that walk in off the street would prefer to believe what they read rather than use their own ears to form an independent opinion of a performer. I've also learned a lot about writing biogs from reading those of others, including some that would best be filed under 'fiction'!

 

I remember attending a masterclass in Vaduz where the person leading the brass class included, in her program notes, that she was not only the loudest trumpet player in Europe, but the most beautiful, too.

 

My education in this area really started, though, when I commented to a fellow student, who had already taken a year off his University course and temporarily departed Australia to study with Trevor Pinnock, about the role call of early music names that a particular performer listed as having worked with. All the big names of the era (Leonhardt, Tagliavini and so on) were included. I was so impressed. My colleague simply said, 'And has she performed with any of them more than the once?'

 

In my time, I've seen a number of claims to be the first to complete a particular feat that had been accomplished by others, earlier. It seems that there are some who simply make claims without checking to see if they've been beaten to the punch. (Youngest person to perform the entire organ music of Bach from memory is one I remember.)

 

Others have laid out goals that they will achieve, but subsequently had to delete the reference from the biog when they didn't achieve the stated goal.

 

I also recall a colleague of mine who listed one of the leading organ teachers as someone he'd studied with, knowing that this study was a lecture / masterclass that lasted for the grand total of all of one day.

 

But, for me, the ones that really get my goat up are the 'best organist in [suburb | city | country]' or 'best organist of the next generation' claims, that are essentially meaningless. Or claims to being especially anointed by a famous composer (How many organists believe that they had a special place in Messiaen's life? I remember Thomas Daniel Schlee saying that Messiaen had a way of making any organist seem specially favoured.) Or claims to be the leading exponent of a particular composer's works.

 

But, I do think that most performers tend to study other musician's biogs, for ideas and for amusement, too! Please do share the amusing or the silly or the exasperating, if you so desire.

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I started a similar thread last year and got a fair amount of stick for it: http://www.mander-organs.com/discussion/in...?showtopic=1309

 

Messiaen does seem to have been prepared to annoint anyone who played substantial amounts of his music. And why not, if it was a way of showing his gratitude? If he'd annointed me (along with every other organist in Christendom) I'd sure as hell mention it in my CV!

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Thank you for pointing out the thread you started, Vox Humana. I'd not be upset if the moderator deleted this thread to remove the duplication. Is there a way to draw this to the moderator's attention?

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But, for me, the ones that really get my goat up are the 'best organist in [suburb | city | country]' or 'best organist of the next generation' claims, that are essentially meaningless.

 

Hmmm...?? these claims are in fact more likely to be true!! :)

 

I am the best, most accomplished organist with the largest repertoire in GU51 3LT!! :P:P

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Hmmm...?? these claims are in fact more likely to be true!! :)

 

I am the best, most accomplished organist with the largest repertoire in GU51 3LT!! :P:P

 

 

Exactly Douglas! Don't we all use the facts, whatever they may be, to our best advantage? If we are honest have we not all exaggerated slightly on our CV's or at least worded something to show it in a better light? Particularly those of us who are not in the same league as Cynic, PCND et al!!!

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  • 5 weeks later...

I heard of an interesting one the other day. The organist is question is, I am told, around my age, was trained at one of the conservatoires by a famous virtuoso, was subsequently assistant organist at one of our cathedrals and is an FRCO. I have no reason to doubt his training (nice touch mentioning the word virtuoso without claiming to be one himself!) but if he had ever been assistant organist of the pile in question I am quite sure I would have recognised his name (which I didn't) and if he was ever a member of the RCO then he must have obtained his diplomas and quit before I joined in my late teens because there is no mention of him in any of the membership lists from that time onwards. I suppose another possibility is that circumstances have obliged him to change his name, but, being the cynic that I am, I cannot help being sceptical.

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Coincidentally, I was discussing an organist with a colleague of mine the other day.

 

My colleague told me that he recently played for a funeral at a village church where the organist was unable to attend. The organist at that church would probably struggle to reach Grade VI, if that. But, my colleague tells me, he has written on all his scores which were by the console "Property of X Y, FRCO" (where X Y is his name). Wishful thinking, we think!

 

And, several years ago, we used to have in this area a rather mediocre organist who used to call himself "Dr A B, DMus". When pressed on where he had obtained his DMus, he would always scarper - fast!

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And, several years ago, we used to have in this area a rather mediocre organist who used to call himself "Dr A B, DMus". When pressed on where he had obtained his DMus, he would always scarper - fast!

 

Well, there is always the possibility of having earned his DMus in another area of specialisation and playing the organ only as an amateur.

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Well, there is always the possibility of having earned his DMus in another area of specialisation and playing the organ only as an amateur.

 

 

Yes.....but you didn't know this fellow! I doubt he'd have known a major third from an Open Diapason!

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Well, there is always the possibility of having earned his DMus in another area of specialisation and playing the organ only as an amateur.

If he had only claimed an unspecified doctorate this might be the case, but a DMus cannot be in anything other than music and requires the highest theoretical musical skills. In the (not altogether charitable) words of one DMus I used to know, "Anybody can get a PhD; you have to be a real musician to get a DMus." Hmm.

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I believe the RCO (quite rightly) likes to be made aware of people who falsely claim to have their diplomas. I know of at least one specific case and doubtless there have been many others over the years.

 

About 40 years ago there was a gentleman who was organist of a Brighton church very briefly and he quickly lef tte area again. He is now dead but one of the publications of the Burgon Society indicatws that amongst his other false claims was that of being a D Mus (Oxon). The world of music - and especially the world of choirs and organs - has not been, and is not - beyond coming up with institutions and qualifications that are, to say the very least, interesting.

 

Malcolm Kemp

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I believe the RCO (quite rightly) likes to be made aware of people who falsely claim to have their diplomas. I know of at least one specific case and doubtless there have been many others over the years.

 

But are they able to do anything about it, though? The person making this claim could always say that it stood for "Fellow of Royston-Vasey College of Origami", or something similar.

 

The world of music - and especially the world of choirs and organs - has not been, and is not - beyond coming up with institutions and qualifications that are, to say the very least, interesting.

 

Indeed. A while back I came across a very talented organist using a "diploma" I'd never come across. I googled it, and it turned out to be from a tinpot "college". Further googling revealed that there are several such "colleges" out there, all staffed by people I've never heard of with "DMus","PhD" and loads of other "diplomas" of which I've never heard, but with hardly any of the more recognized diplomas. "Dodgy Doctorates" methinks. And, as you observe, they seem to be targeting the world of choirs and organs especially. I wonder why....

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Undoubtedly there are a good number of amateur organists out there who have a completely unrealistic view of their abilities. A recent survey of our modest organists' association invited members to rate their ability from beginner through the ABRSM grades to diploma standard (amongst other things). Quite a lot of respondees rated themselves higher than I would have expected and one rated himself as diploma standard, although he would at best only scrape a bare pass at Grade 6.

 

In case this should sound like a swipe at amateur organists, I should make clear that it isn't. I am all for supporting and encouraging them. However I also believe that a realistic view on one's ability is desirable, if only to appreciate properly how and where one needs to improve.

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If he had only claimed an unspecified doctorate this might be the case, but a DMus cannot be in anything other than music and requires the highest theoretical musical skills. In the (not altogether charitable) words of one DMus I used to know, "Anybody can get a PhD; you have to be a real musician to get a DMus." Hmm.

 

A musician with mediocre skills in performance can earn a DMus in composition or another subfield in music, right?

 

Also, isn't a DMus degree (or DMA on the other side of the ocean) more of a practical degree, awarded mainly to performers and composers? People who are interested in the theoretical and historical aspects of music study for a PhD, which is regarded more highly than a DMus (or DMA).

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A musician with mediocre skills in performance can earn a DMus in composition or another subfield in music, right?

True, I'm not aware of any practical performance aspects to any DMus exam. A PhD in music does not necessarily require any performance skills either. However, I have to say that I have little interest in the requirements of either and I am sure others here will know more.

 

Also, isn't a DMus degree (or DMA on the other side of the ocean) more of a practical degree, awarded mainly to performers and composers? People who are interested in the theoretical and historical aspects of music study for a PhD, which is regarded more highly than a DMus (or DMA).

Broadly speaking, yes, though whether a DMus or a PhD is more highly regarded probably depends on which you have. :P Personally I regard both as extremely deserving of respect.

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A DMus is regarded as a "higher" Doctorate.

 

A PhD could be studied by somebody who has specialized in, say, the history of a certain composer, but might themselves have limited performance skills. It is also possible to gain a PhD in composition.

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I take the view that you cannot rank a PhD against a DMus or DMA. A few questions need to be asked. What institution? With which supervisors? What was the topic or specialty? Even then, candidates from the same institution who worked with the same supervisors can be of variable standards.

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I take the view that you cannot rank a PhD against a DMus or DMA. A few questions need to be asked. What institution? With which supervisors? What was the topic or specialty? Even then, candidates from the same institution who worked with the same supervisors can be of variable standards.

 

Here is the North American view:

1) If an institution offers both PhD and DMus/DMA in composition, the PhD tends to have more rigorous requirements, and therefore takes more time to complete.

2) Most performance programmes offer the DMA degree; PhD is very rare in this subfield. Whether or not a dissertation is required for graduation, the DMA programme in performance tends to take less time to complete than a PhD in other subfields of music.

3) Musicology and theory degrees are always PhD as they are research-oriented.

4) Speaking from a purely academic perspective, a PhD is more highly regarded than a DMA because of the emphasis on research. This is a very broad generalisation.

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Hmm. You live and learn. It seems (if Wikipedia is to be believed) that you can do a DMus in performance or musicology as well as composition. I didn't know that. I wonder how it differs from a DMA. If pressed, I would have agreed with Holz Gedeckt that in the UK the DMus is held in higher regard than a PhD. Depending on the subject, of course, a PhD in music need not necessarily require the highest skills in music at all. You might only need to be, say, a historian or a paleographer with a fine brain.

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It seems (if Wikipedia is to be believed) that you can do a DMus in performance or musicology as well as composition. I didn't know that. I wonder how it differs from a DMA... Depending on the subject, of course, a PhD in music need not necessarily require the highest skills in music at all. You might only need to be, say, a historian or a paleographer with a fine brain.

 

Interesting. I was under the impression that nowadays in most British universities, PhD and not the DMus is the highest degree awarded to musicology students, which include music historians and theorists. In earlier times, the DMus degree might have been more common.

 

(FYI, there is a much bigger divide between music historians and theorists in North America. To be sure, these are very different subfields.)

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Interesting. I was under the impression that nowadays in most British universities, PhD and not the DMus is the highest degree awarded to musicology students.....

 

Most English Universities offer a PhD, but not a DMus. Although very few offer DMus in comparison to those who offer PhD, DMus is accepted as the "higher" Doctorate of the two. I wouldn't mind having either!

 

Or both! :blink:

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