musicologist, PhD, Research Associate at the European Centre for Jewish Music, Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media. Academic background: Music Academy Rheinland/Aachen, Piano Teaching Diploma; MA and PhD in Musicology, University of Cologne. Additional studies: German Studies, Italian Studies, Classical Arabic, Sanskrit. Professional experience: Teaching position for piano at the University of Technology (RWTH) Aachen and the College of Church Music St. Gregorius in Aachen (1981–1991); The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1994–1998); Musicology Department of Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (1999–2007); Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music – State University, Budapest (Winter term 2004/2005); Academy Project “European Traditions – Encyclopedia of Jewish Cultures”, Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History Leipzig (2007–2015). Randhofer is the author of various articles and a monograph Psalmen in einstimmigen vokalen Überlieferungen. Eine vergleichende Untersuchung jüdischer und christlicher Traditionen.


Komitas’s period of studies in Berlin 1896–1899 is regarded as crucial for his later achievements. There he obtained the higher education in European music his seminary in Etchmiadzin could not offer. However, Berlin’s significance for Komitas went far beyond mere transfer of artistic and scholarly knowledge. In my paper I argue that Berlin was rather a katalyst for Komitas to exploit Armenian music for the national cause. For in Germany, in the 19th century pivotal discourses and strategies emerged, aiming at cultural nation building, demonstration of national unity, and construction of identity. Thus, Germany offered a high potential of identification to the stateless Armenian community in the Ottoman and Russian Empire at the time of “national awakening”.
In my paper I will first introduce the specific situation of Germany being in 1871 for the first time in history a unified nation state. I then wish to briefly outline the national project resulting from the unification, and the role that music, in particular folk songs, played in it. Furthermore, I wish to examine the part Berlin University had in this regard. The central point of my paper is to determine the positions adopted by Komitas’s university teachers, the ideas they imparted to him, and how he applied them to his own project of Armenian national music.
Fathoming the shared national interests of Komitas and his teachers is beneficial in enlightening the approaches and insights characterizing Komitas contributions beyond the impact of his Berlin teachers. Thus, I wish to conclude with some considerations on the unprecedented, pioneering aspects of Komitas’s work which in turn, cutting across traditional disciplinary boundaries, found an echo in Berlin musicology and the newly established International Music Society, until World War I put an end to this early creative period in musicology.