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