Wednesday, 27 August 2014

CHALICE FROM THE PALACE

New chapter to open for 'Pető'

No doubt considerable thought is being given in Hungary to the sort of person required at the head of the new András Pető College, to the structure to which this role will be integral, and to the specifics if the job description and person specification.. Perhaps a card has even been marked.

No doubt people concerned with Conductive Education around the world will have their own priorities for what attributes this role will require – but they will not be involved in the recruitment and selection process. Whatever other considerations are to be involved, the long- and short-term outcome will, however, be of interest at the highest reaches of the Hungarian government, for reasons of state.

The final choice is unlikely to be made without the acquiescence (or more) of the palace.

Poisoned chalice?

Uneasy successions:
  • In 1967 András Pető himself had died with his boots on, on his 74th birthday, after a hard day's battling with officials when he was too poorly to be at work in the first place.
  • After an interregnum, Mária Hári took over as Director. She formally retired only in 1996, though by then she appears to have lost the authority that she enjoyed before the Institute's privatisation in 1989. She maintained a regular presence at the Institute that had been her life but was increasingly unhappy at how it was changing and walked out in anger a few months before she died.
  • Mária Hári's deputy Ildikó Kozma had succeeded her as Director in 1994. Ildiko Kozma's administration broke up in 2005, with a whiff of scandal and then court proceedings. 
  • Following another interregnum Zita Makói's brief tenure began in 2006 (the job now being redefined as Rector). From the outset her time there was marked by organised staff disruption and non-compliance, spilling out into deliberate public discord in the media and in public demonstrations. The unmanagability of the institution became public knowledge in Hungary.
  • Franz Schaffhauser was appointed as rector in 2007, a serving university academic (pedagogy and psychotherapy) who oversaw the upgrade of the Pető Institute's qualification to first-degree status aand encouraged conductors there to undertake futhter degrees. He was also involved with what from the outside seemed a broadening and humanisation of the course.
Underlying institutional problems, however, appear to have rankled on and the Institute has foundered. Perhaps inevitably, as this has been on his watch, Franz Schaffhauser has carried the blame, his dismissal coming from the office of Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister, no less.

Good luck to whoever

When András Pető died in 1967, in a world vastly different in some respects from today's, Karóly Ákos made considerable effort to deflect attention away from himself as the next head of the Institute and to promote Maria Hari as the required sacrifice. Perhaps there are already individuals wondering about putting themselves forward to fill the position of Rector of the András Pető College.

A poisoned chalice? Time will tell. Meanwhile there always the old, confusing advice of the late Danny Kaye, misremembered and paraphrased –
The chalice with the malice is the chalice from the palace
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ9f2rnjB84

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