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Klaus Kaufmann talks about CEUS

Klaus Kaufmann is the founder of the Austrian-Chinese-Music-University. He teaches Chinese students from his home in Salzburg through the help of modern technology and several plane trips back and forth every year.

In an interview with Pianorama´s Mathias Hammer Hansen Prof. Kaufmann talks about the university-project:

"We started this project about three years ago and the first step was that we installed a video conference system. … The Boesendorfer piano has a so-called CEUS system, which means there is something inside the machine, inside the piano, that allows you to play, and then you press a button and the piano plays automatically what you have played. It is exactly the same. Maurizio Pollini, for example, has tested the system and it replayed exactly the same tune. 

So it means you can play the piano in Austria and listen to it in China? 
Yes and our idea was that this information should be transferred through the web. That means one Boesendorfer piano is in China and another is in Salzburg, and both of them are connected to the web. So the pianos are able to reproduce the same note, the same loudness, in the same manner. 

So that means that a teacher and a student can be on each side of the earth, but still interact?  
Yes, exactly, that was one of the ideas and point of the school. I also have an assistant, a former student of mine, from China, who teaches about 5-7 students in China, while I teach them through the system. She is there in person, while I control the class through the system, and then, of course, I come over several times a year. 

How does the system work? Is it a useful teaching tool? 
It is a compromise, of course. You cannot teach a class just with this system, that wouldn’t work, because you have to be there personally. But it is a very good compromise. If I have taught the students through the system for 3-4 months, they are much better prepared when I finally arrive and it is much easier. And this year, for the first time, we had the first entry examination, just a week ago. We offered the students to take the examination in China and if they passed, they could go straight to the embassy and get a visa and come here.
The level was not vey high, though, I must say. But there were two players that stood out, a boy and a girl, who was like a genius. She was twelve years old and incredible. Even one of our teachers there said he had never heard anything like it. So it means that differences are very large. … 

Professor Klaus Kaufmann

Professor Klaus Kaufmann

What are your general expectations for the Bang & Olufsen PianoRAMACompetition? 
I very much like that it’s for young people. Often young pianists are more interesting than adult, because they are more free, in the sense that they are more natural. … In general, I feel that young pianists are freer, more natural and close to the music. Not like sportsmen or trained like adults. 

If you should give the participants one advice, what would it be?
 That depends on the individual participant, I think. It’s difficult to say. But I would advise them not only to play the piano and to get in touch with other fields of music. For example, the piano students here in Salzburg know their repertoire, but they don’t know any of Mozart’s operas, or symphonies by Beethoven or Brahms. So that would be my advice; that they really get in touch with all kinds of music, not just for their own instrument.


(Photocredit: Pianorama)