The Faces of the Foundation

Lots of Little Concerts

Who actually does what at Humboldt headquarters? Who are the people behind the scenes making sure that everything runs smoothly? This page is devoted to the colleagues at the Humboldt Foundation, their lives at work and beyond. Today: Sylvia Sprötge.

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  • By Sylvia Sprötge (recorded by Georg Scholl)

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Sylvia Sprötge

My very favourite job is the Wardwell Fellowship. It’s one of our smallest programmes and thus not very well known. But it means a great deal to me. It is devoted to promoting young musicians from Spain. Once a year, I go to Madrid for the applicants’ auditions. Every candidate plays two pieces followed by an interview with the selection committee. The musicians are still very young, usually in their early twenties. Despite the odd attack of nerves, they are all very professional and their music is often wonderful. It’s like spending a whole day listening to a series of little concerts.

As I myself am a musician with Spanish roots, it’s the ideal programme for me. I started playing the saxophone when I was eleven and music was one of the ways I financed my studies. Originally, I wanted to be an architect but during university I realised that the daily round is often much less creative than I had imagined. So, I concentrated on music and looked for a “solid” job – which brought me to the Humboldt Foundation. What I enjoy so much about it is that I can be creative and make things happen, to a much greater extent than you might expect in science administration. And that’s true of the other areas I am involved in, too: our big IT projects related to selection procedures and my work as chair of our works council.

I still do as much music as possible, playing the saxophone or singing in a cappella ensembles. Incidentally, I also lead our inhouse choir “Chora et labora”. We regularly sing in our breaks and I am thrilled that so many colleagues are as enthusiastic about music as I am.


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