Josefa and Vera Schmidt have designed an evening concert on the theme of female anger. The basis for this is psychology and personal experiences.
taz: Mrs. Schmidt, what does female anger sound like?
Vera Schmidt: Versatile. It is important that we analyze feminine anger in all its facets and gradations. It doesn't always have to be something stereotypically aggressive. It's not always the loud sounds that make the music.
Even the moments before, in which we represent ourselves and raise our voices. As a songwriter in particular, you need assertiveness to prove yourself in public. This step alone was not taken seriously and was denied in the past.
Is it also about nuances then?
Exactly. When I confidently protect my personal boundaries, outsiders may observe a form of irritation. But behind this lies anger, which manifests itself in complex ways. It's a cliché that anger means making noise and breaking something. As psychologists, we look closely. First, we observe forms of anger-driven behavior. It's about feeling inside yourself and perceiving: Aha, I'm angry. Then someone must have violated a boundary. Taking this step consciously is essential to the discussion.
And how does this become a concert?
With the idea that a concert is designed to stimulate internal processes. My sister and I have musical experience. However, I have oriented myself professionally towards psychology. As we still share a love for music, the idea arose to create an interdisciplinary project that combines psychological content and personal experiences in a single concert. This is a collage of contemporary classical music exclusively by female composers. We have the fantastic double bassist Rebecca Lawrence as a guest and the director and poetry writer Aileen Schneider via video. It is this coming together of many artists and disciplines that makes the evening special. The next round of discussions is particularly important for us. In the past these were moving experiences. People shared a lot of themselves and exchanged ideas with each other. Of course, there is something empowering about feeling this community and making it clear: I am not alone in this.
Born in 1990, she is a psychologist and aspiring psychotherapist. She previously studied violin and composition in Stuttgart and Lübeck.
How did anger get to you or how do you find anger?
As musicians, we are socialized into the world of classical music. This brings with it a certain conformity. This form of musical expression is quite… – “well-behaved” is an inappropriate word.
Maybe you could say traditional?
Yes. And very hierarchical. Classical music doesn't usually try to show the real, uncomfortable sides behind perfection. This is also because as a musician you have to adapt a lot to do your best.
Do you speak from experience?
We realized when we smile at problematic things. And I don't want to feel uncomfortable. This is how we define ourselves: that we are the uncomplicated ones. That's why this project was exciting for us personally. We learned a lot about ourselves and exchanged ideas like sisters.
This attitude is related to his greater activism. They are also committed to uncovering and combating the abuse of power in the university music world.
Yes, it is also a structural problem that abuse of power takes place in places where there are power imbalances. This is also the case in the world of music universities. You are in very close contact with the teachers. This is a very physical lesson. Often at home, in the teachers' private rooms. That's why we founded a group to make abuses public, especially in the world of classical music. This is omnipresent in other musical genres, but unfortunately terrible acts continue to come to light. Keyword up to Lindemann.
I am also thinking of the #Deutschrapmetoo initiative, which specifically addresses only cases from the German rap scene.
concert “Female Rage”, Fanny Hensel Hall of the Hamburg University of Music and Theater, February 9, 7 p.m.
We also contacted them and then decided that we had to start our own project also for the world of classical music. Because it has many special characteristics, this classical music scene. Through the “Mapping Me Too” campaign we want to create a central place where people can raise red flags. In places where an attack occurred. This also has to do with the issue of “female anger”: we are so angry that we have to do something now. We simply cannot remain silent anymore. The individual reports that we receive are truly shocking. It is clear that there is much more wrong. Many times those affected do not tell many things, out of shame or the feeling that they cannot do anything about it anyway. Or even blame you for it.
How does the suppression of female anger manifest itself on a psychological level?
A good example is the so-called cunning behavior that is often said of young girls. This also has something to do with the fact that young women are less able to express their anger superficially and therefore less able to advocate for their needs. So the only way is to live the “butt”. Self-destructive behavior can also be a mechanism, but so can depression: most behavioral mental illnesses involve not allowing certain feelings. I would say that anger usually plays a very important role. She looks for a way out.
What feminist models inspired you for your event?
For us, the book “Speak Out” by Soraya Temal was very inspiring. The main thing here is to recognize the potential of female anger and use it for your own benefit. Anger can act as a driver of activism. And of course, we were influenced by the social media movement around Me Too.
When does work in the cultural sector end and where does the family begin?
There is no separation between us. WhatsApp voice messages with ideas are sent at night, but for us it is a very nice way to work together because there is a lot of trust. Of course, sometimes there are differences of opinion and heated arguments. But we complement each other well: Josefa is the performing artist and I do more of the conceptual part. She has a lot of courage and does things more directly, while I think about things a lot.