τα νέα μας

Γράμμα του Μιχάλη Πατσέα Προέδρου IKS

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Γράμμα του νέου Προέδρου της Διεθνούς Εταιρείας KodályΜιχάλη Πατσέα
για την Διεθνή Κρίση και το καθήκον μας ως Μουσικοί, Δάσκαλοι και Διανοούμενοι.
Δημοσιεύτηκε στο Τεύχος 36/2 (2011) του Bulletin of the International Kodály Society
και αναρτήθηκε στην Ιστοσελίδα της Εταιρείας  [ www.iks.hu  - Society-News ]

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From the Office in Budapest


Letter of the new IKS President, Michalis Patseas
about the International crisis and our duties as Musicians, Teachers and Intelectuals.
Published at the 36/2 (2011) Issue of the Bulletin of the International kodály Society
and at the IKS website  [ www.iks.hu  - Society-News ]

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Dear Members and Friends of the IKS,


The beginning of my term as President of IKS found my country of Greece deep in crisis. Namely, it is a debt crisis that has grown into a financial and political one. Although for several reasons the leaders of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have chosen my country as their bankruptcy “poster child”, Greece is neither the first nor the worst case. The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008, Iceland’s Financial Crisis in the same year followed by the Irish Financial Crisis have “led the dance” of worldwide economic crises. Each one of them has specific characteristics but in the end, my perception is that all of these are just local symptoms of one big, systemic international crisis.

In the heart of the economic crisis dwells the giant credit bubble created by bankers and politicians. This has now reached the point that in the USA, for example, financial liabilities exceed the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by nine times. But, is it merely an economic crisis? Definitely not! The Homo Economicus theory, observing an individual human “as a being who desires to possess wealth” (J.S. Mill, 1836) will never be a sufficient enough tool. We need to understand the whole picture. We musicians and music educators have already seen many different aspects of it.

We observe how the membership of non-profit organizations like our own diminishes and grows old. We realize how it becomes more and more difficult to find candidates for the boards of such organizations. We notice that many orchestras and opera companies are shutting down, university humanities departments have fewer students, and concert and choral life have fewer patrons. We are currently experiencing a steady decrease of general education instructional hours in music and the other arts, often leading to their total abolition or worse, a dumping of them into the artificial garbage bin of so-called “Arts Education.”

To make things worse, such actions were conceptually and theoretically backed by colleagues who looked for opportunities to fawn upon political leaders and/or their bosses. The supremacy of humanistic doctrines that make up the core of pedagogical philosophies like the Kodály concept is openly disputed. The notions of “art music”, “music of intrinsic value” and “music literacy” are taunted.

A few of us have been speaking and writing about the cultural and educational crisis during the last twenty years, whereas most of us have remained silent throughout the turmoil. Each one of us has usually reacted only when some of those actions affected one’s own pocketbook.

The systemic crisis that I mentioned above is simultaneously economic, political, social, moral, cultural and educational. And it is above all international. We have to conceive it as a whole in order to seek for the most plausible solutions in our own fields, in our own countries. We have to react and we have to lead: “Génie oblige”, the motto of Ferenc Liszt, stands for us as well. The American linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky adds that we, as intellectuals, have authority, prestige, opportunity and credibility, all of which lead to responsibility. We have to stand up for our beliefs. We have to start a vigorous discussion among ourselves and then broaden it towards our fellow musicians and music educators, artists and art educators, writers and humanities teachers. We first have to find allies in professional and local bases and then reach out to broader parts of society through our public, our students, their parents and other family members.

It is obvious that we don’t have much time left. May I dare to use Christ’s words? “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Mathew 5:13 KJV).

Our IKS Board is ready to keep this discussion going among members and friends. Meanwhile, we ask you not to forget to support morally, financially and practically your national Kodály Society as well as the IKS.


“Οι καιροί ού μενετοί” : Opportunities won’t wait (Thucydides 1.142.2).


Athens, November 18, 2011


Michalis Patseas
President of the IKS
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