[Dixielandjazz] So What's New?

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sat Dec 3 08:02:11 PST 2005

Why Mozart Didn't Get Tenure

 Dear Dean:
In response  to your suggestion that we appoint Mr. Wolfgang Mozart to our
music faculty: The  music department appreciates your interest, but the
faculty is sensitive about its prerogatives in the selection process.

While the list of  works and performances the candidate has submitted is
very  full, it reflects too  much activity outside academia. Mr. Mozart does
not have an earned doctorate and  has very little formal education and
teaching experience. There is also  significant evidence of personal
instability evidenced  in his resume. Would he  really settle down in a
large state university like ours? Would he really be a  team player?

I must voice a concern over the incidents with his former  superior, the
Archbishop of Salzburg. They hardly confirm his abilities to be a  good team
man  and show a disturbing lack of respect for authority.

Franz  Haydn's recommendation is noted, but Mr. Haydn is writing from a very
special situation. Esterhazy is a well-funded private institution  quite
dissimilar from us and abler than we to accommodate non-academics, like  Mr.
Haydn himself. Here we are concerned about everybody, not just the most
gifted. Furthermore, we suspect cronyism on the part of Mr. Haydn.

After Mr. Mozart's interview with the musicology faculty, they found him
sadly lacking in  any real knowledge of music before Bach and Handel. If he
were  to teach only  composition, this might not be a serious impediment.
But would  he be an  effective teacher of music history?

The applied faculty were impressed  with his pianism, although they thought
it was somewhat old-fashioned. That he  also performed on violin and viola
seemed to us to be stretching versatility dangerously thin. We suspect a
large  degree of dilletantism on his  part.

The composition faculty was skeptical about his vast output. They  correctly
warn us from their own experience that to receive many commissions and
performances is no guarantee of quality. The senior professor pointed out
that  Mr.  Mozart promotes many of these performances himself. He has never
won the support of a major foundation.

One of our faculty members was present a  year ago at the premiere of, a
violin sonata. He discovered  afterwards that Mr. Mozart had not written out
all the parts for the piano  before he played it. This may be very well in
that world, but it sets a poor example for our students. We expect deadlines
to be met on time, and this includes all necessary paperwork.

Mr. Mozart is an entertaining man at dinner. He spoke enthusiastically about
his travels. It  was perhaps significant, though,  that he and the music
faculty seem to have few  acquaintances in common.

One of our female faculty members was deeply offended by his bluntness. She
had to leave the room after one of his  endless parade of anecdotes. This
propensity of his to excite the enmity of some  is hardly conducive to the
establishment of the comity to which we aspire to  maintain on our faculty,
let alone the image that we wish to project to the music community at large.

We are glad as a faculty to have met this visitor, but we cannot recommend
his appointment. Even if he were  appointed, this is almost no hope of his
being granted tenure. The man simply showed no interest in going to school
to collect his doctorate. This is egotism at its zenith.

Please give our regards to Mr. Mozart when you write him.  We wish him our
very best for a successful career. All are agreed, though, that  he cannot
fulfill the needs of this department. We wish to recommend the  appointment
of Antonio Salieri, a musician of the highest ideals and probity  that
accurately reflect the aims and values that we  espouse. We would be eager
to welcome such a musician and person to our faculty.

 Sincerely  yours,

 The Chair and Faculty of the Department of  Music

P.S. Some good news. Our senior professor of composition tells  me there is
now a very good chance that a movement of his concerto will have its
premiere within two years. You will remember that his work was commissioned
by a foundation and won first prize nine years ago.

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