Großaufnahme einer Hand an einer Geigenseite.

Bild: Juli Eberle/TUM.

Alumni creative
Eight Alumni tell us how music contributes to their lives
Music Connects
14. Oct 2021
Reading time Min.
A person’s education and professional skills are not the only ingredients that make her or him a successful researcher or innovative entrepreneur. Also the things we do in our free time shape our personality; we draw strength, recharge our batteries, and often come up with new ideas when we are not working – for example, when we are making music. TUM Alumni report on how music contributes to their everyday lives and their work.
Portrait picture of Boson Stefan Liu and Xing Ye.

Picture: Magdalena Jooß/TUM.

Music is Human

During the day, Boson Stefan Liu is conducting research at the Chair of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Real-Time Systems, focusing on human safety around robots; in the evening, he is making music with his wife Xing Ye, who works in the automotive industry. “Art is something profoundly human; that is what I love about music,” he says.

Xing Ye’s favorite instrument is the pipa, a Chinese four-stringed lute. Stefan Liu plays the piano, but also sings in an internationally renowned jazz a cappella choir. Because this has not been possible for a long time, he and his wife now practice and perform together, combining the pipa with the piano. They enjoy taking a break in the world of music, because nothing is automated there, nothing is perfect: “It’s the little mistakes that make us human.”

Boson Stefan Liu (Bachelor Mechatronics and Computer Engineering 2015, Master Robotics, Cognition, Intelligence 2017) and Xing Ye (Master Management and Technology 2021) met during the TUMexchange program at Zhejiang University in China and subsequently moved to Munich to study together at TUM. Xing Ye works in the automotive industry. Meanwhile, Stefan Liu is doing his Doctorate at the Chair of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Real-Time Systems and is developing algorithms to prevent robots from hurting people.

Xing Ye and Boson Stefan Liu with the instrument Pipa.

Image and Video: Magdalena Jooß/TUM.

Xing Ye

plays for you on the pipa

Professor Bungartz mit seiner Geige.

Bild: Magdalena Jooß/TUM.

Music is Doing

A life without music? Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Bungartz simply cannot imagine that. He is a Professor and Dean at the Faculty of Informatics at TUM and plays the violin in his spare time – in chamber and symphony orchestras. “Making music really is key here,” he emphasizes. And no matter what stage of life you find yourself in, no matter how busy your schedule is, you have to keep at it, “after all, we always make time for lunch”.

Music contributes to his everyday life in a number of ways, he says: Managing nervousness and learning to improvise, getting rid of shyness in front of a large audience and delivering a performance to the point. But also getting to know people from a different side, paying attention to others and at the same time giving others guidance: “If you’ve learned how to deal with solo divas, even the weirdest behavior from professors won’t knock you off your feet. In this respect, the dean in me is benefiting immensely from music.”

Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Bungartz (Diploma Mathematics 1988, Diploma Informatics 1989, Doctorate Informatics 1992, Habilitation 1998) received his entire academic education at TUM and returned to TUM in 2004 as Professor of Informatics with a focus on Scientific Computing after working in Augsburg and Stuttgart. Since 2013, he has been Dean of the Faculty of Informatics at TUM and Director of the TUM Graduate School.

Hans-Joachim Bungartz plays for you on the violin

Image and Video: Magdalena Jooß/TUM.

Hans-Joachim Bungartz

plays for you on the violin

Stefan Schwänzl plays the clarinet.

Image: Beate Mader/Vision3.

Music is an Overall Success

In an orchestra, it’s always about the big picture, not about the individual instrument or about putting one’s own person in the foreground in an unplanned way. Project teams and entire companies could learn a lot from this, says Stefan Schwänzl. The TUM alumnus works as a personnel consultant and coach, and his experience as a musician helps him a lot. Because in music, he says, he experiences how good teamwork works, how the individual gets involved with the others and does everything to ensure that the overall success is right. “A lot can be transferred from music to everyday work,” he says: “You have to get involved in a project just as much as in the piece you want to play. Only when you’ve mastered it well can you become creative, improvise, think further about what’s already there – it’s the same in science or processes.”

Stefan Schwänzl is part of the duo Entre Aguas and regularly plays on stage: bossa nova and rumba, jazz standards and klezmer. In doing so, he finds relaxation and the opportunity to recharge his batteries. And that’s what he particularly missed during his time at Corona: making music together on location. After all, “creativity arises above all in personal interaction, when you perceive every gesture, every bodily movement. So it’s good when concerts become possible again.

Dr.-Ing. Stefan Schwänzl (Diploma in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology 1992, Diploma in Industrial Engineering and Economics 1995) studied electrical engineering at the TUM and complemented his studies with postgraduate studies in business administration. He later completed a part-time doctorate at the Fraunhofer Institute in the fields of organizational development and project/process management and supplemented his range of competencies with a systemic coaching certification (dvct). He gained professional experience as an international project and change manager at Webasto, Deloitte and Siemens until he started his own business as an HR consultant in 2016. Since 2011, he has been active in TUM Mentoring by Alumni for Students and has already accompanied students as a mentor four times.

Professor Lampe am Klavier.

Bild: Magdalena Jooß/TUM.

Music is Development

As a physician and avid piano player, Prof. Dr. Renée Lampe has combined her two passions: The professor of Pediatric Orthopedics is doing research on the positive influences of music in the therapy of people with motor impairments and shows how playing the piano improves hand motor skills, changes brain activity and creates new neuroplastic connections. Renée Lampe herself started playing the piano at the age of six.

Since then, music has had a profound meaning in her life. In collaboration with a research group, she has developed a sensomotoric piano system; a corresponding score recognition system that translates musical notes into letters helps people to learn pieces of music without any knowledge of musical notation. With this method, she wants to enable people with cerebral palsy to learn how to play the piano. “I want to make accessible to other people what I myself have been able to experience in music.”

Prof. Dr. Renée Lampe (Habilitation Medicine 2004) studied Medicine in Heidelberg and Mannheim, completed her residency in Orthopedics at LMU Munich and did her habilitation at TUM. As a Pediatric Orthopedist specializing in cerebral palsy, she concurrently supervised a center for people with physical disabilities for many years. Preventing cerebral hemorrhages in early childhood through research or providing complex support for people through music-assisted therapy – these goals have brought her back to research at TUM’s Klinikum rechts der Isar, where she is heading the research unit for cerebral palsy and pediatric neurology of the Buhl-Strohmaier-Stiftung and holds the Markus Würth Endowed Chair.

Susanne Großkurth mit ihrer Viola.

Bild: Juli Eberle/TUM.

Music is Teamwork

When Dr. Susanne Großkurth picks up the viola, she is stepping into a parallel world far away from her job and everyday family life. But the world of music is not just relaxation, it also enriches her life. “You discover the world once again through different eyes,” she says, “in an orchestra you play with people from very different professions and age groups and create something special together.” It is not work or family that connects them, but rather creating something together in music.

Susanne Großkurth herself comes from a family of musicians. In addition to the viola, she also learned the piano and saxophone and has been a member of the Symphonic Ensemble Munich for many years, which, among other events, performs annually at the TUM Advent Concerts. For her, an orchestra is like a large, well-functioning team in which the various members do not operate in opposition to each other, but with each other. And then many individual voices become one. That’s what drives her: “making music, developing something, creating together.”

Dr. Susanne Großkurth (Diploma Mechanical Engineering 2008) only decided by a hair to study at TUM and not at a conservatory. Today, the Engineer works as an assistant to the Executive Board at MTU Aero Engines and benefits from her experience as a musician, because she believes that, no matter where, good teamwork is the key to success.

Susanne Großkurth plays on her viola

Image and Video: Magdalena Jooß/TUM.

Susanne Großkurth

plays for you on the viola

Maximilian Langheinrich und Christoph Dittus in ihrem Studio.

Bild: Magdalena Jooß/TUM.

Music is Freedom

Music is also an outlet for Maximilian Langheinrich and Christoph Dittus: “Getting out of everyday life, consciously decoupling and clearing your head” is important for the researcher and the industrial designer, who play together in the old-school hardcore band The Raw Deals. But music is even more than that, they say: “If I just want to let off steam, I could also play tennis or go running,” Christoph Dittus explains: “With music, I can go further.” When the two write new songs, they put their thoughts in order, they don’t play anything predetermined, but create something new and transfer what moves them into an artistic work – regardless of whether that’s self-reflective thought processes or social debates.

Maximilian Langheinrich has always made music and learned to play the recorder, clarinet, saxophone and guitar; Christoph Dittus is self-taught and only began to teach himself guitar and bass in the band. As different as the musical paths of the two are, as strong is the community through the band and the shared experience. That’s probably the most important thing for the two of them: because it’s on stage that their music is created anew every time – in contact with the audience, in communication: “Music is something very social.”

Maximilian Langheinrich and Christoph Dittus know each other from their shared school days at a Dachau high school, and the music they share helps them to stay in touch despite their different paths in life. Maximilian Langheinrich (Master Geodesy and Geoinformation 2016) studied in Munich, but only came to TUM for his master’s degree. He wrote his master’s thesis at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), where he has been employed ever since and is doing his doctorate on atmospheric correction on the side. Christoph Dittus (Master Industrial Design 2010) did his Bachelor’s degree in Schwäbisch Gmünd and returned to the Munich area for his Master’s degree at TUM. After graduating, he started his own business as an industrial designer and develops designs for both capital and consumer goods, e.g. construction vehicles, blood pressure monitors or bicycles.

One hand plays on an instrument.

Image and Video: Magdalena Jooß/TUM.

Maximilian Langheinrich and Christoph Dittus

play for you with their old school hardcore band.

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