Dear friends,

I would love to tell you all about my 2019 and hear about yours in person. Unfortunately that often isn’t possible. So I have decided to write a bit about my 2019 and to share it with you. I hope that will spark many interesting conversations about all our paths, passions, and experiences.

While consulting corporates on innovation and strategy, music still remained an important part of my life. I am happy to have initiated a network of senior professionals in the business side of performing arts to support non-for-profit organisations in strategy, marketing, innovation and more. Haydn 1791 brings together a unique set of experience for that special sector.

In the corporate world I have the joy to work closer and closer together with four outstanding individuals – Katharina Moser, who brings emotions to Europe and to causes, Yvonne Pirkner, the powerhouse of service design and innovation, and Oliver Sartena, seasoned expert in marketing and sales. While we already did first projects together you can expect to hear more from us in 2020. 

After having been asked to do more and more executive coaching and coaching for musicians, I decided it was time to get my formal accreditation. I tremendously enjoyed going “back to school”, even if it was unusual to find myself studying again and writing essays etc. I tremendously enjoy the work with my clients and are very grateful for their trust.

Below you find more on the music which inspired me in 2019, some keynotes I was invited to give, and the startups I enjoyed working with. But let’s have coffee soon, and talk about what inspired you in 2019 and what your plans and ideas for 2020 are.

With all my best wishes,

The Music

Without a doubt was 2019 a musically rich year. I had the chance to attend many, many live concerts, to meet a lot of musicians, and to work with some of them. On my Spotify Playlist 2019 are some of the highlights and here is some background to it.

Flutist Emi Ferguson launched her latest album, Fly the Coop with Preludes and Sonatas by Johann Sebastian Bach. Once again, one is astonished by her lively and energetic music making. It is a different Bach you will hear. And if you have not heard her first album, Amour Cruel, do not miss it! I can remember when I first met Emi in California in 2015. I invited her to play for us startup geeks in the Runway Incubator in San Francisco. Already there she astonished me with her versatility and the ability to blend with her audience making them comfortable and attentive.

One of my discoveries in 2019 was the American composer Florence Price. She was the first Afro-American woman whose music was performed by a major symphony orchestra. Her 1st Symphony was premiered in 1933 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. We need to ask ourselves why composers like Florence Price are buried in oblivion. I am glad that some of the musicians I work with, have taken on the idea to have at least one female composer in their programs. 

At last, Ferhan and Ferzan Önder released their new album with works by Fazil Say. I can remember the world premier of the Gezi Concerto which we did in the Volkstheater in Vienna. Having it out now is wonderful. Once again, Fazil Say proves to be an amazing composer besides being a stunning pianist. 

On our own little record label we published one of the most beautiful and special recordings we ever did. Bassoonist Jo Anne Sukumaran created a fascinating album with solo bassoon works as well as chamber music and gave it the title Night Garden. It is a very intimate and personal journey she shares with us in her wonderful music making.

The Belcea Quartet released their latest album mostly with string quartets from Leos Janacek. The Belceas do not need an introduction to music lovers, as they are one of the leading string quartets of our time. I remember well when they told me about their first Beethoven Cycle years ago when I was at the Wiener Konzerthaus. Even though I admired them, it was hard to have yet another Beethoven Cycle. So I talked them into performing all Beethoven String Quartets in two weeks. What an amazing experience which was luckily captured on film!

Several years ago, a young cellist asked to see me – Sol Daniel Kim. He grew up in Vienna with Korean roots. He studied with Gautier Capucon. There he was speaking about his roots, his heritage, which he wanted to explore musically. He was afraid that it could harm his classical career, if he were to play traditional Korean music. As he was so passionate about his idea of exploring his Korean roots musically, I encouraged him to do so. How happy was I when I got the album South Wave, North Wind, which he recorded with the Gayageum Player Dayoung Yoon. Even better when he told me that recording the Korean music actually helped his classical career in Europe as he had something special to show.

Also, while at the Wiener Konzerthaus I invited another young cellist to play for us in New York – Marie Spaemann. She played music by Johann Sebastian Bach and others at the Neue Galerie with Adele Bloch-Bauer watching over her. She is another example of these amazing young artists who find their own way. Marie was always interested in more than “just” playing the cello. This year she released her first singer-songwriter album which still features some Bach. Amazing songs, with great texts. And even the texts are by her!

Another surprise this year was meeting the Tyrolian Matthias G. Kendlinger. He is not only a great conductor who brings the joy of music to so many people with his own orchestra, the K&K Philharmoniker. But he is also a great composer – and probably one of the few composers who have an annual festival running over a week exclusively with their own music. 

In Spring 2019 trumpeter Simon Zöchbauer asked to see me. Out of that meeting came a wonderful collaboration with the Ensemble Federspiel. Seven young brass players – oh, sorry, Frédéric actually plays the clarinet. They are thinking about new concert formats and more. And they have just released my Christmas album for this year – Von der langsamen Zeit. 

You find all the music on my Spotify Playlist 2019. Enjoy and share!

The Keynotes

Over the last few years I had the joy of being invited to give several keynotes. Mostly they are around music and management. They are a welcome addition to the leadership trainings I give at London Business School, this year for the first time for and with Schumbeta, or for corporates. This year I had the joy of two very special keynotes. 

In June in Madrid I gave a keynote titled “The End of Strategy” for the Global Mobility Alliance, the forum of the worldwide automobile clubs. Twenty years ago there were the great strategic frameworks lead by Porter’s 5 Forces. It was the time of deep analysis and thick reports. Today we are living in a time of trial and error with concepts of the Minimum Viable Product and others. Still, it’s the people who make or break strategy.

My personal highlight was the Global Peter Drucker Forum in November in Vienna. Of the three talks I gave, the one called “Beating AI with Mozart” stood out for me. Not only did I have the joy to share the stage with my friends, flutist Daniela Mars and moderator Katharina Moser, but I had the freedom to make the audience experience a bit, what it means to be more than an algorithm. You can watch it on YouTube

The StartUps

Besides supporting corporates around innovation, I had the joy of working with several startups. Most of them came to me through the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft, the largest, non-university research organisation in Austria. A year ago I was asked to design and later lead an entrepreneurship program for their scientists. We launched the 4 Fellowships 4 Entrepreneurs Program in 2019 and I had the joy to work with four outstanding teams. The program runs in parallel to their day jobs. We met once a month for a whole day working on basic business skills from finance to marketing. The teams had mentors and my support to drive their ideas forward. A generous budget helped them to cover initial cost. I am proud of:

  • AI.AUTOMATICA – the growing network of artificial intelligence specialists to create value from your data,
  • lablife – the creators of high quality tutorial videos for students starting in a biotech or medical lab,
  • motivate – which brings motivation to learning for teenagers, and
  • The Human Touch – a biotech company with a patent on human material to grow your cell cultures
 And another startup I do want to mention: Oktav – your portal for all the piano scores you can think of regardless of your level of playing.


The Music

A Keynote

The StartUps