Holger Hettinger

Head of Music at Deutschlandfunk Kultur in Berlin

Dr. Holger Hettinger (*1968) is Head of Music at Deutschlandfunk Kultur in Berlin. He is both responsible for the musical program and for the numerous productions of this well-known radio house. Hettinger holds a PhD degree in musicology. He works for Deutschlandfunk Kultur since 2004. Beside his radio activities, he is since 1999 the host of the award ceremony of the International and Independent Jurys of the Berlin International Film Festival "Berlinale".

From 2010 on, Holger Hettinger worked as professor for arts journalism at the Macromedia University of Media and Communications. His book "Kulturjournalismus" was published by Herbert-von-Halem-Verlag Cologne.

Hettinger is also a curator and exhibition organizer - in 2014, he was responsible for the exhibition sequence "Vier Bücher - four books" in Cuxhaven, Northern Germany.

Holger Hettinger was born in Saarlouis and lives in Berlin.

How was your first encounter with the Concertino Praga competition? 

In the 1990ies, a colleague of mine who lived in the neighbourhood was awarded at the Concertino Praga competition. When he came back from Prague, a celebrated – highly atypical! – a boisterous party that lasted until the early morning hours. Then I realized: „Concertino Praga“ must be a very significant competition!

What type of music do you personally like the most? 

I will not fix myself to a certain period or to a certain ensemble constellation. I prefer music that is thrilling, surprising, intense. Here, the range goes from early vocal music to chamber music and to contemporary music. As a music producer, I have to be both generalist and specialist at the same time. However, I have a particular interest in organ music, as this refers to the very beginning of my musical career, playing the church organ of my hometown Rehlingen/Saar when I was a pupil.

How do you view artistic competitions and the objectivity of the judging of the performances?

Generally spoken, artistic competitions are a great opportunity to get familiar with different approaches, with different views to look onto music  - sometimes it is striking how persistent a musical masterpiece can be concerning the different interpretations. In an ideal world, a performance broadens the horizon of the competition’s judge. „Objectivity“ is a noble word; more important than a real or perceived objectivity is for me the ability to realize the idea, the approach behind a performance, and to identify the innovative potential.

What do you think about the anonymous method of judging the recordings in comparison with the judging of the live performances?

If you had asked me this question 15 years ago, I would have said: difficult, because listening to a recording means listening to the result of a process with many people involved, not only musicians: also sound engineers and producer contribute to the artistic result. But the times, they are changing, as Mr. Dylan used to say. Recording technology has become easy to use and affordable for everyone. Recordings of considerable quality can be mady by almost everyone who is interested in the process. This broadens the access to this formerly exclusive technology. Furthermore, judging a recording means: putting the focus on the sheer musical performance – unaffected by showmanship on stage!

What do you feel is the greatest benefit of music competitions for young musicians? 

It is a perfect training for musician’s skills apart from instrumental technique: the art to be „to the point“, the ability to cope with a competitive situation, the great experience of surpassing oneself. And for the less prosaically aspects, it is a good opportunity to make new contacts and to get familiar with different stages.

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