Erwartung- An educational outreach proposal

I wish I could take credit for this, but it is the handiwork of a distinguished friend who is wise enough to not want his name attached to it.

Perhaps this won’t be as funny to readers who haven’t reviewed dozens or hundreds of education project briefs and grant requests….


“ERWARTUNG” – a music education project for pregnant teenagers

 Schoenberg was a happy family man and was never happier than when he was gestating an idea. One of his naughty children was Erwartung – Expectation…or more appropriately “Pregnant”. In this project, orchestral musicians go into the community to explore issues around pregnancy with teenage mums-to-be, helping them face the challenges of single parenthood through the inspiration of Schoenberg’s work. 

In this short opera, a single woman is searching for her dead lover in a forest. Is she pregnant and has the father gone missing? She is not content.  Exploring issues of sexual pathology and murderous vengefulness, abandonment and existential anxiety, teenagers get the chance to learn life skills through music. Groups will compose their own Erwartung; a lament based on their predicament which will then be perfomed alongside Schoenberg’s masterpiece. Art-work based on Munch’s “The scream” will accompany the music. Faced by the prospect of motherhood and the likely juvenile delinquency of their off-spring, mothers learn the art of primal screaming and the technique of Sprechgesang; a means of singing that does not require any ability at all. This technique, made famous by William Shatner, can also be used in choirs or accompanied by karaoke machines.

To ensure a happy ending, male members of the orchestra will volunteer to be fathers to the fatherless children – encouraged by a SEX-tet playing Verklarte Nacht. In addition, recordings of Erwartung will be offered to each teenager as a means of birth-control. The project-leader comments, “After hearing Erwartung, you want to die. It’s a complete turn-off!”

Actually, it’s better than many a project I’ve actually seen brought to life….

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Spread the word. Share this post!

About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at

All material in these pages is protected by copyright.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *