Miha Pogacnik brand eins

Mit Parzivals Hilfe – brand eins 01/2014

“Häufiger aber stehen hinter Veränderungen Menschen, die schöpferisch sein, etwas Einzigartiges, Neues, Ursprüngliches schaffen wollen. Das alles waren einmal Bedeutungen des Begriffs Originalität – und es ist eine interessante Frage, warum originell heute meist nur noch im Sinne von komisch oder eigenartig verwendet wird…Aber mit der Verfeinerung des Alten kommen wir nicht mehr weiter, wir brauchen viel mehr von denen, die neu denken – und sich nicht darum scheren, ob sie deshalb dem einen oder anderen als Spinner erscheinen.

brandeins parzival

Miha Pogacnik zum Beispiel, Geiger aus Slowenien und Kosmopolit, der angetreten ist, seiner Heimat eine Vision zu geben…” (Brand Eins – from Editorial by Gabriele Fischer, Chefredakteurin)

Den ganzen Artikel auf brandeins.de jetzt lesen.

A lot more about interesting ideas and works of Miha Pogacnik can be read also in Brand Eins issue 08/2003: Das Genie setzt die Norm

Über Brand Eins

brand eins ist der Name eines Wirtschaftsmagazins und der Name des dahinterstehenden Unternehmens. brand eins erscheint in der unabhängigen brand eins Medien AG, die 1999 – damals noch als GmbH – von Oliver Borrmann, Gabriele Fischer und Volker Walther gegründet wurde.
brand eins sucht nach den Hintergründen und Zusammenhängen.
brand eins beschreibt den Wandel in Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, den Übergang vom Informations- zum Wissenszeitalter.

brand eins-Leser haben ihre Zukunft noch vor sich, die meisten werden sich noch sehr lange in einer sich ständig verändernden Welt zurechtfinden müssen.

Zur brand eins Homepage


Biography Dilemma: Success?

This dilemma goes throug all my life: requests for CV!

Each time one CV is written or re-written I feel, this is not “me”. I am sure you feel the same. How do we capture that which really wants to be born into our stream of life, with which we want to indentify ? How do we acknowledge the humbling insight that despite our  personal busy and active life it is always unexpected gift from the periphery which corrects, directs, sometimes painfully destroys and also uplifts to a new  inspired and meaningful phase?   How do we expose our failures to be appreciated as essential on the learning journey towards a high and far distant ideal of becoming composer of one’s own “biography as masterpiece”? Reading CV’s floating around, so much success everywhere!!  Is it really so that everyone only wants to read about success? What about “success trap”? When 30 years ago we were “successful” creating Chartres festival, many advised me to continue that way, inviting “right” people to be invited back by them, beginning the old pattern of “trade” for great “carreer”! NO!- was my decision, sensing success-trap and instead starting something new and never done before : to encourage the audiences to travel with me and my colleague artists to the crisis areas of the world and….IDRIART movement was born!  And with castle Borl 21 years ago: many strongly advised: let go with this pile of old rocks! And we persisted instead. And now Borl, Terra Parzival Grail story memory bearing, is emerging as a beacon on the path towards the polyphonic European identity. Since the departure in Chartres the “shepperds dilemma” persisted: “how to tell the overwhelming experience?”- which does not fit in the traditional CV format? How to learn and accept that it is the signature of our multiple crisis ridden transition time when the emerging future educates us: Every time start anew! You can not rely on any past “success”! Learn to stand in and act out of the “zero point”!

Yet, if one has lived a life long enough, one can  turn back and  gratefully perceive the gift of mysterious order in biographic rhythms, never consiously persued.  Let me try with an example of this outgoing year 2013, for me and many of my friends  truly a transition year:

I can observe seven highlights, very personal transitions in 2013. The first one in January, is connected with 21 years rhythm:

*Six solosonatas and partitas by J.S. Bach  are the “Bible” for every violinist under the sun! All my life I have been learning to stand within this encompassing, living organism, this music – cosmos, learning to translate this archetypal musical formative forces to different domains of human persuit! Here originates my conviction that it is the formative principle of arts, capable to influence and chrystalise the re-composition of society if, for instance, raised to the method of  Macro Violin Resonance Platform!

In 1971 good fortune made possible for me to perform  these six masterpieces in Bielefeld, Germany, not knowing the proximity of  EXTERNSTONES in Teutoburg Forest, ancient  Germanic sacred initiation caves  dug in solid rock. There and then I felt for the first time that  becoming a violinist does not need to be determined by centuries old tradition! What was the call? Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival story was given to me  and  “onion peeling method”  was born: to keep peeling off what I don’t want when life presents different options, – all the way to the core! Chartres and IDRIART movement resulted.

And 21 years later, in 1992? Searching for new horizons, with Bach sonatas in 43 Europa’s cathedrals and sacred places, it was again at Externstones where the “call of Castle Borl-Ankenstein”, ancestral home of Parzival dynasty, reached me.

*And, certainly with no conscious intention, destiny led me again to play at Externstones this January 2013: Next 21 years? Yes! Terra Parzival, European region build upon foundation stone of Parzival’s QUESTION, generating empathy and solidarity!

So… this was the first of 2013 seven transitions. And the other six?

**At Easter time, in April, we celebrated in  Chartres cathedral  33 years of the first concert there in 1980, which genereted a huge response with the birth of Chartes Festival d’Ete and IDRIART. Will there be “octave” surge in 2014?

***In the beginning of June  treshold was crossed in my biography, to personal to tell, but reader, if you ask me, I will tell you directly.

****On July 10th  Co-Creation of Terra Parzival Macro Violin was inagurated with decisive support of fellow Slovenians!

*****On July 17th was the TP Questival culmination and transformational experience with symphony orchestra  sit-in process-performance in the TEMPLE, the Chrystal Hall of Rogaska Slatina, where healing waters of the hidden lake within “Mont-Zal-Wotch” come to the surface.

******End of September, on Michaelmas, performance in the King’s Chamber of the Cheops Pyramid in Gizeh, Egypt and

*******On December 7th celebrating 30 years of IDRIART with my dear friends and colleagues in castle Borl, together crossing the treshold of the new emerging cycle, saying YES! – to the challenging Terra Parzival vision!

Yours, Miha


3 Social Innovations


The background and substance of my method for reaching the solar plexus of learning when working with my audiences and clients can be explained by 3 “social innovations” I contributed to society and which are arising out of my efforts to transform the following privileges:

– Privilege of performer violinist

– Privilege of masterpiece of music

– Privilege of master violin (Stradivari, Guarneri)

Privilege of performer violinist

When performing for the first time in the magnificant cathedral of Chartres 33 years ago I realized that in this extraordinary architecture playing on the violin needs to expand to “playing on the cathedral”, playing on the “Macro Violin”, playing from the periphery. This idea found its “home” as the final stage of Theory U by one of today’s leading economic theorists dr. Claus Otto Sharmer. The cosequence for me  was that I motivated thousands of my audiences to share the “priviledge of performer violinist” and joined me and my collegues fellow artists, travelling with us to places of crises and transformation all over the world, co.creating over 200 intercultural festivals (IDRIART movement). The privilege of performer artist is to go beyond all tabus, beyond politics and so they played a decisive role in desolving European East-West conflict in 80’s and building costructivly on global challenges through “Art of Meeting” from Mongolia to Amazonia, Tibet to Southern Africa, witnessing pain of Dubrovnik, from Mostar to Sarajevo in 90’s and always receiving the confirmation: if we, as individuals from different cultures, meet on the inspiring Art-permeated platform – this is the window of opportunity for co-creation and response to emerging future!

Privilege of masterpiece of music

It is a wonderful and meaningful experience to listen to a musical masterpiece, but – do we really hear all complex and brilliant organic reality of many layers evolving simultaniously? Do we hear the relevance and potential solutions of the masterpiece to out daily challenges as a leader, do we even know that there is such a (paralel) relationship? Are we not, each of us, “composers” of an unique “masterpiece” called human biography? Over decades I developed a special method to “invite” my mainly corporate audience into the process of the musical masterpiece, as if going on the journey of “detour” to discover musical solutions to diverse leadership challenges. This method of “transfer” activates the creative side of my clients to find unexpected own solutions to their problems by themselves.

Privilege of master violin

What is the treatment of elements of violin which elevate “her” to the magic rang of Stradivari, Guarneri? What is the secret of “gentle power” of resonance, generated by this peak of European craftmanship design? Imagine this type of resonance in our learning organisations and developing societies! Unfortunately the conferences and “offsites” are NOT placed IN the resonance-equvalent environment of Stradivari or Guarneri! That’s why I with friends went into decades of active search and research in order to create special environments of learning where the WHOLE human nature begins to resonate! The innovative approach of creation of such places is called “Playing on the Macro Violin” (more on the approach) and is being used for the first time in Europe on Slovenian regional development programme called “Terra Parzival” as a possibility to create the environment of magic, inspiration and resonance, and through this to give the opportunity for implementation of sustainable action and change within society as a whole. This regional model will on the macro-European level also explore the resonance principle in influencing the development towards the “Polyphonic European Identity” and co.creation of the New European Leadership Style. Interested? Wellcomed to join…


Next Step: A Better European Future

Miha Pogačnik is a man of many talents and ideas. Miha currently occupies himself with the idea of the cultural and spiritual awakening of Europe, endeavouring to bring it back to its core or more precisely to the land of the mythical king Parsifal and all he represents.

slovenia-timesPogačnik has always been involved in various art projects. First he was a successful violinist, then in the 1980’s he established Idriart, a non-profit organisation based on the idea that art is the bearer of social change. Idriart took him around the world to intervene in political, social and cultural situations in crisis areas and through it he has produced over 180 festivals in collaboration with local hosts. “There was enormous success. Thousands of people came with us to Prague, Estonia, Georgia, Tibet, the Amazon, but then in the 1990s the world changed,” says Pogačnik. “I noticed that if I kept doing the same thing, I would just be repeating myself.” He found himself in a “success trap” as he calls it – a situation when one gets stuck by being successful and restlessly starts asking questions about creativity and innovation, pushing them toward new projects to fulfil the need to create something fresh.

Music as an Answer to the Crisis

“I’ve always asked myself in what way can art contribute to changing the world and I’ve always tried to follow the call coming from the world,” explains Pogačnik who developed a special method, introducing a new concept for listening to music: “Of all the arts, music goes straight to the human heart and I’ve always felt that the experiences professional musicians get are not just pertinent to the life of artists but can be used generally.” As our extremely fragmented society, based on the economy, has found itself in a crisis, Pogačenik believes it is the time to start dealing with it: “Leaders are making decisions from their limited, specialised viewpoint and I, as an artist, feel I need to help them broaden their horizons, generate inner inspiration, motivation and energy.” He says that the basic reason he has been working with the economy and leadership is to make them aware that they can manage their companies in the way which composes society.
Pogačnik creates an environment in which questions are asked in a different way and casts new light on the immediate crisis and the general situation – through classical art created by geniuses who he sees as the greatest art substance Europeans have. And how does he trigger change? “I invite executives to enter the process of musical masterpieces in such way that I play and stop, comment and paint – I decompose the piece. They are seated among the orchestra and therefore get first-hand experience of the musical process,” explains Pogačnik who asserts no musical knowledge is necessary for this method to work, “just the willingness to permit the feelings to rise. I want to get people to the point where they let go of all the nervousness, distrust and animosity and open up to the possibility of a creative detour.” According to him, this happens because music moves at the archetypal level which is above everyday experiences, thus giving direction and solutions to problems which are then viewed from a new perspective and can later be dealt with by an out-of-the-box approach. “Art is full of meaning and if you go through the experience of meaning, you are transformed and find everything meaningful, also problems,” notes Pogačnik who points out that the lack of meaning is the heart of the current crisis, the financial aspect being its expression.
The method, which establishes a new relationship between art and business, has proven to be very effective – he has collaborated with scores of leading companies globally, business schools, research institutions, professional associations and also with UN agencies and the World Business Academy. In his opinion, his ideas work because they become ideals.

The Legend of (Slovenian) Parsifal

However, as he notes, ideas go through a process of hatching which requires time and patience. “Slovenia can be metaphorically viewed as a hen which hatches new ideas, useful for all of Europe,” says Pogačnik who goes on to explain the most intriguing story of the mythical figure Parsifal from the 9th century, “one of the most important European cultural legends comes from Slovenia.” The roots of the Eastern counterpart of the more famous King Arthur from the West are in Ptuj, as described in the magnificent epic poem created by Wolfram von Eschenbach around 1212. “Parsifal is everywhere, he is a European but originates from Slovenia. He is not historical fact but he is a mythical figure. Both kings existed at the same time, Arthur and Parsifal dealt with bringing order to society, however from the West came capitalism and globalisation, while from the East came philosophy, art and beauty. The two need to be balanced in a productive way,” says Pogačnik.
According to him, balancing would help the currently wrong relationship between humans and the economy in a way that the latter would start serving the former and also aid the European identity which has found itself in deep crisis. “European identity is based on the heritage of artistic geniuses like Beethoven, van Gogh, Shakespeare and Mozart who brought culture to the highest level and has many varieties. However, because of globalisation these varieties have lost power. Yet Europe is special because of its diversity. Every country is important in the creation of this polyphonic identity – it functions vitally like an organ in the human body,” notes Pogačnik who recognises the point of Parsifal, Slovenia and the Terra Parzival foundation he is part of: “Our country, with its trinity of landscapes, symbolising the trinity of body-soul-spirit, is perfect to become an instrument of the European identity as the time is right. Parsifal’s territory in Slovenia symbolises the rise of the spirit. Europe has also entered its third phase of development which is that of spirit. We are trying to inspire imagination in a creative way which would result in long-term, sustainable, meaningful development where the human being is in the centre.”

Terra Parzival Foundation of the Future

June saw the first of the three-day Terra Parzival Festival, organised in significant places linked to the mythical king. Attendees underwent the musical masterpiece decomposition method of opening up to new ideas and learnt about the story of Parsifal and its significance in numerous creative ways – they created a grail, attended a tournament of knights, experienced live music in a cave and also many other activities. “Slovenians are like Parisfal – we are just waiting for something to happen, but this must change to action – just like he took action,” affirms Pogačnik.
Slovenia may be small, but Pogačnik believes that with a powerful idea, size does not matter: “We would like to connect Terra Parsifal to the platform of the European Cultural Parliament through its Cultural Secretary General who came to the festival.” The potential is enormous and according to Pogačnik, there is space for change in human beings and the terra incognita which lies inside of everyone: “We’ve created the illusion that we are fixed from cradle to tomb, but functioning this way is just more or less going through life where nothing really happens. This bare survival and dreams with no action have created the crisis. But crisis, as I said before, is meaningful and it’s a good thing to have as it forces you to delve deeper and discover the unexploited realms we possess.”
The legend of Parsifal is very much linked to the present day situation and teaches individuals to start fighting old patterns and accepting the change in life. “Einstein once said that you can’t solve new problems with old ideas and this is where Parsifal comes in. He had to learn to ask the right questions, do the right thing at the right time – and this is also the challenge of the modern human being,” asserts Pogačnik who sees Terra Parzival as the new herald of changes that need to take place. “Everything is already here and we’ve started to realise how to create an environment to act and move. And this is what we’re trying to do with Terra Parzival – this element is an instrument on which you play Europe.”

Article from Slovenia Times


DDI: Coffe on the GO with Miha Pogacnik


The renowned classical violinist shows business leaders how art and leadership are intertwined.

Leadership is often described as an art because it lacks the rigor and replicability of a science. But leadership and art actually have a lot in common. That’s the message of Miha Pogačnik, a classical musician and entrepreneur who traded concert hall performances for intense sessions he conducts around the world in which he guides business leaders through the deconstruction and evaluation of great works of classical music. As he takes the leaders inside the piece of music, examining how it is constructed and why it works, he encourages them to draw comparisons to the challenges they face in their everyday roles and their approaches to viewing and solving their business challenges.

Pogačnik, who will be among the featured presenters at the upcoming conference Leadership & Management Forum Europe 2012, spoke with GO about his one-of-a-kind sessions, the universal language of music, and how the terminology of art is prevalent in business.

GO: How did you come to move from your profession as a classical violinist to the work you’re now doing with leaders?

Pogačnik: I realized that the world had changed so much in the late 20th century from the times of the great masters. It was like the world had become like a big factory of musicians, so I stepped out of it. I created a movement where I invited my audiences to travel with me to different areas of the world, as far away as Tibet and across Siberia and Mongolia and Russia.

Through my experimenting, I began to understand that there’s so much art can offer in terms of inspiring human beings when it comes to being a leader. And I saw that the leaders on the top floors of corporations and the leading entrepreneurs needed to discover or rediscover artistic principles in order to see their businesses, their leadership abilities, and their challenges in a different way.

GO: Describe what happens in your sessions.

Pogačnik: I have the participants sit among the players of the symphony orchestra and then I take a great violin concerto, Beethoven or Brahms for instance, and I direct the participants through the development of the masterpiece and the problems the composer had to solve. I engage them in conversation and put them in small groups after they’ve gone through this experience. I seek out their observations and uncover their new ideas.

Because I take people completely into a field they are unfamiliar with, they feel very insecure at first, but when we go deep into the music, suddenly they discover that the challenges and solutions that contributed to the creation of the masterpiece, and the way to interpret those processes, have a lot to do with the challenges they are encountering every day, such as how to work together, how to execute strategy, and so forth.

That’s the fun part of what I do. You introduce people to the issues and potential solutions that are present in a piece of music, then you leave it up to them to be inspired and determine what they should take away and use. As a performer, it’s always surprising to see the connections they make when you’re leaving it up to them and not telling them what to do.

GO: What is the connection between music and leadership?

Pogačnik: An organization is like a great symphony in many ways. When you look at the orchestra it’s so obvious that you have a body of 60, 70, 80 people and they each must be very good in their own right.

But when they play together they share something quite different. In an organization, egos play a big role, but in classical music as soon as the musicians in the orchestra start playing a great masterpiece, egos drop away and don’t disturb the whole process anymore.

GO: Do audiences in different parts of the world react differently to what you are doing?

Pogačnik: I think great classical European music has the potential to touch the human within the human. I was doing a session with a group of students from Africa who did not have many opportunities to come into contact with European classical music. So I did it my way and after five minutes they were saying, “How is it possible we don’t know this music? If we heard it on the radio we would immediately shut it off, but the way you present it, it makes so much sense. We want to know more.” In other words, the framework in which you do something matters. If you can reach across the barriers that are erected between cultures, locations, and all that, and immerse people in experiencing a masterpiece, it doesn’t matter where they’re from. The reaction will be the same.

GO: Is a leader a performer or does a leader need to be more of an engaged and attuned listener?

Pogačnik: Both, of course. But performance is only the finer touch. You see, a leader has to have the capacity to slip into and understand another person’s role.

It’s very difficult to lead from the periphery. Teamwork comes up so often in my sessions because teamwork is on everybody’s mind and you cannot really be a team unless you work together. When a leader pushes the rest of the group and brainwashes them into action and gets them smiling and saying yes, that’s not the same as having a team. A team is about people wanting to work together and that’s something you can really learn by listening to a string quartet. You have four individuals who must work together in a tight and sometimes turbulent relationship, but the music they make together is so glorious because everybody is also an individual.

GO: It seems that centuries ago we used to be better at integrating art with our everyday lives and our business. Does it feel as if we’re starting to move back in that direction?

Pogačnik: You know, so much of the language used in business comes from art. In business they talk about performance all the time; they talk about creativity, orchestration, conducting, and so forth.

It’s like the business world desperately wants to have some association with the world of art. Everybody talks about performance, but they never talk to professional performers, like me, to learn what it’s really about. For example, it’s very interesting that excellence is a word that comes up so often in business. But for us musicians, excellence is nothing. Genius is what matters in art, not excellence. Excellence is just a starting point.


berlin school of creative leadership presents miha pogacnik at Adfest


What does a virtuoso violin player know about creativity? A lot, according to the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, which is presenting an inspirational speaker at ADFEST 2009 that promises to be one of the highlights of the festival line-up.

Miha Pogačnik is a virtuoso violinist and cultural ambassador with an exceptional capacity to use classical music to inspire creative leaders to think beyond traditional boundaries. His presentation will be titled “Passage Through The Fire: A Harmonious Strategy For Uncertain Times”, and is likely to be one of the most unforgettable presentations of the year.

Through his music, Pogacnik brings the concept of ‘Creative Leadership’ to life by exploring the relationships between harmony and tension, success and failure, flow and crisis. In an economic climate of great turbulence, there’s no better time to seek creative inspiration from ‘outside the box’.

Part impassioned classical musical performance, part live improvisational drawing and 100% unbridled energy, Miha is an inspirational master of communication. His presentation is made possible by the Berlin School of Creative Leadership.

Miha Pogačnik boasts an unusual mix of musical and corporate skills. He is the President and Founder of the Institute for Development of Intercultural Relations through the Arts (IDRIART) and a Board Member of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership.

Since 1998, he has directed the annual Business and Art Conference at Castle Borl, Slovenia and has also addressed the World Business Academy, the World Economic Forum in Davos, and groups at the United Nations.

Miha´s clients also include Ericsson, Royal Dutch Shell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Saatchi & Saatchi, Whirlpool, Skandia Insurance, ABN Amro Bank, Nike and The Body Shop.


University of Luxembourg: Research Across Boundaries


Miha is Cultural Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia, President and Founder of the Institute for Development of Intercultural Relations through the Arts (IDRIART) and Managing Director of Ecoculture SECS. After completing a Fulbright Scholarship, Miha’s intellectual curiosity, joie de vivre and vision to position the arts as a driver for social change, led him to step outside the parameters of a classical concert violinist. Why? Because … “the linear and rational must fuse with inspiration, beauty and passion for change to be implemented.”

On our journey to “discover common concerns and stimulating differences regarding advanced boundary-crossing research approaches,” we will after two days of parallel sessions, wish to make a transition to making sense of our conversations as a whole. To do this we will take a detour in order to cross yet another boundary and give ourselves time for both perspective and process. The boundary we will cross is one from the theoretical and academic orientations of our focus to the world of great music.

Miha tells us that:

“My teaching tool is the violin performance. I “decompose” masterpieces (taking apart, directing attention, commenting and putting together again) to help participants to hear and experience exactly the musical evolution. I support this with symbolic painting of the emerging process, conversations with participants and performance. Therefore my presentation can be seen as “creative detour,” exploring hidden potentials through the “parallel process” of great masterpieces of music. Once musical patterns are explored then I help participants discover in creative ways the relevance of these experiences as potential solutions to their own dilemmas.”

This detour will take us outside the boundaries of our prior conversations, where we will find archetypical themes that can seed our knowledge café, open space and plenary meaning making to come. Miha’s breadth of knowledge spans many boundaries, and his passion and enthusiasm for creating transformative experiences will help us transform and internalize the content of the previous sessions in truly intimate and personal way.


Focus: Was Manager von Künstlern lernen können


In der Reihe „Führungskunst“ zeigt der Solist und Querdenker Miha Pogacnik, dass Führungskräfte nur mit Inspiration, Kreativität und Leidenschaft das volle Potenzial ihrer Unternehmen ausschöpfen können.

Kommunikation: Das Titanic-Syndrom

Miha Pogacnik vergleicht das strenge Thema einer Bachfuge mit einem autoritären Führungsstil, der Panik hervorruft und jede Kreativität im Keim erstickt. Aus dieser Situation gibt es nur einen Ausweg für Manager: „Loslassen“.

Kreativität: Mut zu neuen Ideen

Künstler coachen Manager: Miha Pogacnik veranschaulicht an einem Kanon, wie Mitarbeiter im Laufe von Veränderungsprozessen Freude an kreativer Zusammenarbeit entwickeln.

Innovation: Auf zu neuen Ufern

In der Reihe „Musik und Inspiration“ veranschaulicht Miha Pogacnik mit musikalischen Mitteln, warum das Aufbrechen gewohnter Denkmuster Voraussetzung für gute Mitarbeiterführung ist.

Durchbruch: Der klassische Weg aus der Krise

Miha Pogacnik erklärt in der Reihe „Führungskunst und Inspiration“, was die Überwindung einer kritischen Phase mit Goethes „produktiver Resignationskraft“ zu tun hat.

Motivation: Führungskräfte im Paradies

Der Geiger und Querdenker Miha Pogacnik erklärt mit musikalischen Mitteln, was es mit dem „peripheren Führungsstil“ auf sich hat und was passiert, wenn der berühmte Funke auf die Mitarbeiter übergesprungen ist.

Integration: Das Unternehmen als Gesamtkunstwerk

In der letzten Folge der Reihe „Führungskunst und Inspiration“ demonstriert Miha Pogacnik die Integration aller Einzelteile zu einem musikalischen beziehungsweise unternehmerischen Gesamtkunstwerk.

European Forum Alpbach

Forum Alpach: This was mentally dangerous

European Forum Alpbach

Miha Pogačnik moves his arms in a quick, striking gesture and suddenly the hall resounds of a collective hum from the assembled audience. The tips of the conductor’s shoes are nearly two centimetres over the edge of the stage, as if he’s attempting to come as close as possible to even the remotest spectator.

The people seated in the Erwin-Schrödinger-Hall are not a coir, even though they could easily seem as one, if you walked into the room this exact second. In the hall are seated men in suits and women in formal dresses, attending European Forum Alpbach in order to take part in the Economics Symposium. But Miha Pogačnik is not an economist. He is a violinist, a businessman and an entrepreneur. He has travelled to Alpbach to do the presentation “What Business Can Learn From Music”, followed by a discussion with Williband Cernko, member of the board of UniCredit Bank Austria AG.

But before the discussion begins, Pogačnik has the stage to himself. An opportunity he grasps completely, performing not only as a violinist but also as an actor, speaker and artist all at the same time. Making the suits laugh and clap spontaneously as he plays, he draws on the story and tells the development of the financial and economical crisis from the stage.

“Did you hear it?!” he almost screams to the audience after playing a passage of high notes. “It’s all questions,” he answers, when no one replies. The questions are essential to Miha Pogačnik because he believes that we have been looking for the answers in the wrong places.

“I began working with business and economy in the 1990s after the Berlin Wall fell. A new world was created, and this world was only about business,” the violinist says when we meet him for an interview after his performance. “There was nothing else left, no ideologies, just business. You had to be a good business man, a good greedy guy, who gets as much money as you can by stepping on other people.” But when the Berlin Wall fell, Pogačnik had already gained experience in using music in very different ways than artists normally do.

Read the full article on alpbach.org



Turning managers into business maestros


“What CEO doesn’t wish his team could function like a well-rehearsed orchestra? To learn how managers can make such music, companies hire Slovenia-born concert violinist Miha Pogačnik. For a song (O.K., for $16,000 a day), Pogačnik, based in Hamburg, teaches executives at companies such as Oracle how musical compositions are organized and ways to apply those principles to business.

Last year he spoke, and played, at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Recently he had European Union environment ministers sit with members of an orchestra in Ljubljana (Slovenia’s capital) as they played to experience how leaders relate to teams. Such exposure “builds up almost new organs of perception” in executives, claims Pogačnik, who will also arrange for a CEO to wield the baton.”

Article by Jack Ewing