Dr. Timothy Jackson’s controversial story related to Schenker: Isn’t it absurd, unfair, sad, and revolting?

Dr. Timothy Jackson (let) & Schenker (right)

First of all, who is Dr. Timothy Jackson? And who is Schenker?

Dr. Timothy L. Jackson is an American music theory professor of Canadian origins. Indeed, he was born in Ottawa, Ontario (1958). He received his B.A. (1979) from McGill University in Montreal, Québec, and his PhD (1998) from the City University of New York.

For those who do not know it, Dr. Jackson is the son of a most talented and famous painter, Ms. Sarah Jackson. Bambi is honoured to have had the opportunity to appreciate her world-renowned work (that even includes poetry). Bambi is referring to her overall work, but also particularly her very heart-touching Holocaust paintings featuring some of its anguish on children (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Jackson_(artist)).

To come back to Dr. Timothy Jackson, this highly productive and inspiring scholar of music devoted most of his brilliant career at the University of North Texas, where he specializes in the music of the eighteenth-twentieth centuries, including Schenkerian theory.

Among his most significant contributions, we owe Dr. Jackson the foundation of the Journal of Schenkerian Studies (first published in 2005), a peer reviewed academic journal that specializes in music theory/analysis with a focus on Schenkerian analysis. From 2005 to 2020, this journal ran smoothly and enriched the field of music theory. It is only in 2020, in our collectively insane times, that the Schenkerian controversy saga began.

Recently, Dr. Jackson, published a thoughtful article in Quillette about his saga (https://quillette.com/2021/12/20/the-schenker-controversy/). Bambi will try to describe it to you in this post, using this article as well as court documents. If, like Bambi, you are disturbed by injustice in life, you will be shocked by his case… you have been warned!

Bambi was already moved by the first sentence of this article, which reads as follows:

“Located in the Neue Israelitische Friedhof [the New Jewish Cemetery] just outside Vienna, the epitaph of one of the greats of music theory reads, “Here lies he who perceived the soul of music and proclaimed its laws in the spirit of the greats like no one before him, Heinrich Schenker.”

These are the words Dr. Jackson used to introduce Mr. Heinrich Schenker:

“While Schenker might still be unknown to the general public and even to many music theorists, his glowing self-assessment has been taken seriously by scholars since the 1960s. With a gigantic musical mind and vision, Schenker has assumed the status of an Albert Einstein or a Sigmund Freud in the arena of classical music theory, upon which he bestowed the gift of his analytical approach, and his superb ear and musicality.”

Dr. Timothy Jackson at Schenker’s tomb
There is a beautiful Jewish custom to lay a small stone as a token of respect, which he did. Dr. Jackson also said a few words of the Kaddish prayer over Schenker’s grave.

Imagine that a giant like Heinrich Schenker is now considered by almost the “entire profession of music theory in America” as a “virulent racista Jewish Nazi sympathizer, no less”, to use the words of Dr. Jackson himself. What kind of America (and Canada) are we now living in to come to such an absurd conclusion?

The most absurd and shocking accusation made against Schenker’s legacy is the following: His disciples, of whom MOST were German-born Jewish refugees who escaped the Nazis, have “deceptively colluded to hide the racist character and origins of Schenkerian music theory”.

It is in this wokeism spirit that in, July of 2020, the Journal of Schenkerian Studies and its Founder/Editor, Dr. Jackson himself, were subjected to a massive censorship (or cancellation) attempt over their reasonable efforts to counter an attack on Schenker as well Schenkerian music theorists, and even methodology (by Dr. Philip Ewell of Hunter College).

Imagine, that Dr. Jackson was branded as “racist” when we know what this highly negatively emotionally charged defamatory word means (this is the equivalent of “Israeli spy” in countries like Lebanon!). Why? Because of his critique of Ewell’s views. Can you imagine how dark our current collectively insane times are right now? We are unable to use reason, scholarly writing or critical thinking anymore. We seem to prefer the ideologies, stemming from the so-called Critical Race Theory, that are blinding our hearts, making us push agendas over science and facts, and preventing us from connecting, communicating, and debating (as we are supposed to be doing at universities!).

The most shocking part for Bambi was to read that the University of North Texas initiated an “ad hoc” investigation of its own Dr. Jackson and his journal… all in the name of “combatting racism”!!

Dr. Jackson lost almost his whole European family in the Holocaust, so that he and his parents understood real racism very well
The picture of all these family members was taken in Pabjanice, Poland, just before the Holocaust. The elderly man is Dr. Jackson’s great grandfather Littman Blumstein (German spelling). The men in the photo are his sons (his maternal grandmother’s older brothers) with their wives and children. Most of the children were younger than Dr. Jackson’s parents… All of these people were murdered by the Nazis (the REAL ones, not the empty words of our collectively insane times)! 

Bravo to you, Dr. Jackson, for fighting back by filing a lawsuit against your university and some of your colleagues, for violation of academic freedom and defamation. Good luck for the litigation in process while awaiting the Federal Judge Amos Mazzant III to issue a ruling as to whether the case can go to court. Bambi will be praying for you and your clever legal team, Dr. Jackson (she had the chance to listen to you and your lawyer online in the past).

This link: https://www.nas.org/storage/app/media/New%20Documents/Full%20COmplaint%20and%20exhibits.pdf, which is also provided in the Quillette article, makes available ALL of the documents of the original complaint, including the exhibits. Anyone who wishes to know the full truth about how the Symposium was proposed, assembled and edited, and who is looking for a full accounting of the roles played by all of the editors in conceiving and producing the Symposium, along with the detailed information made available to the “ad hoc” committee prior to the issuing of its report, will find the full documentation at this link. 

Dr. Jackson’s parents with Regine, one of his mother’s only two cousins who managed to survive
This picture was taken in England in the early 1950s. Regine was saved by a neighbour who lived across the street in Paris. The courageous neighbour had a farm. Regine spent three years hiding in the neighbour’s barn, near starvation – miraculously she lived. “Can you imagine spending ages 9-12 cooped up in a barn, never allowed to go out, and hungry most of the time, just in order to live?. Well said, Dear Dr. Timothy Jackson… YES LET’S JUST IMAGINE.

As Bambi was fascinated by the beautiful picture above, she inquired about Regine. She learned from Dr. Jackson the following that he generously accepted to share with you too, as her blog’s readers: While Regine was his mother’s first cousin, “she met and was friendly with his father much earlier in her life than his own mother (the two families were already related by another marriage between them). Then came the Nazi occupation of France“. While Dr. Timothy Jackson’s “father and his family were relatively safe in London (although his father almost died in the bombing), Regine and her parents were caught in Nazi-occupied Paris. A friendly Gentile woman from across the street hid and fed Regine and her parents in the barn of her cottage in the country for almost three years. They all almost went crazy in that dark barn with nothing to do and intense hunger. One day, her father could not stand it any more, so that he went out, and he was caught and murdered” (may his memory be eternal, Bambi is saying in her heart now…). ” After that, Regine and her mother never left the barn, and they miraculously survived. After the war, Regine’s mother remarried to a man who was also a survivor whose pre-war wife and children had perished in the Holocaust. This man became Regine’s step-father”.

A Jewish New Year’s card from Regine’s parents shortly before the war and the occupation
This is the first page of the immigration documents of Dr. Jackson’s grandmother Rose Blumstein
This amazing woman said goodbye to her mother, father, and six older brothers in Pabjanice, Poland, and left for America by herself. Unbelievable for a single Jewish girl at age 21 to go to America by herself. She had to wait until she turned 21 to go because her parents were opposed. Naturally, because she was their only daughter. Luckily for her, she emigrated in 1924, because after that the Eugenicists in America slammed the doors to Jewish immigrants from Central Europe, regarding them as human trash.

In reflecting about his grandmother, Dr. Jackson asked himself the following question: “Why did my grandma take that extraordinary step? She said that she wanted to be free – and she could not stand the anti-Semitism in Poland and Europe generally. She did not want to be forced to walk in the street as *a dirty Jew*. She never saw her parents again. Her mother died of natural causes in 1930, and her father, along with five of her six older brothers and all but two children (Regine being one), died in the Holocaust”.

Regarding the above, Bambi will pause her writing now for a few seconds to pray and honour the memory of Dr. Jackson’s family in her heart… may their memory be eternal. As a deer, a human being, a colleague, a fellow citizen (+ USA neighbour too), and, most importantly to her, as a friend/sibling in humanity: she is honoured to post the picture, the immigration document, and share with you the story of the inspiring Ms. Rose Blumstein, thanks to her beloved grandson for his generosity and trust. Once again, how could anyone, with an ounce of common sense, reason, and fairness left in his mind, accuse this man full of humanity of being a racist?!

A picture of the lady (on the right) who saved Regine (the little girl with her mother just before mother, father, and daughter went into hiding)

In relation to the beautiful picture above, Bambi will allow herself to borrow Dr. Timothy Jackson’s own moving words about the compassionate woman shown above: “This otherwise ordinary lady was unbelievably courageous. This lady is the kind of person who gives one hope, even in the darkest times.

Finally, and to conclude this post, Bambi would like to use Dr. Timothy Jackson’s own story and end with his own wise words filled with humanity and compassion.

First, perhaps contrary to others who pretend to hold the monopoly of truth, Dr. Jackson knows what he is talking about. Not just his scholarly analysis and writing, but also his own family story and roots. His Central European Jewish grandmother spoke German. Dr. Jackson chose to learn German in school to be able to communicate with his beloved grandma. He then learned German in both Austria (like Schenker) and Germany (if Bambi gets it right, Schenker identified as both German and Jew too), as a PhD student in München (or Munich). Furthermore, he later refined his German training, as a post-doctoral fellow in Vienna for two years. Following this, he taught Schenkerian analysis in Germany at the University of Erlangen as a Fulbright professor for another full year. This mastery of German is surely lacking in his woke colleagues. Bambi can only agree with Dr. Jackson that a thorough command of German is the sine qua non for any serious discussion of Schenker and his work.

Last but not least, if she may, Bambi will stop here and end this post with the following beautiful words by Dr. Jackson: “When I listen to Marian Anderson sing “Go Down, Moses,” I think, as the descendent of a generation that miraculously survived the Holocaust, that Blacks and Jews with their common history of oppression, should never forget that shared experience; nor should they ever falsify history per se.” (Dr. Timothy Jackson, 2021).

3 thoughts on “Dr. Timothy Jackson’s controversial story related to Schenker: Isn’t it absurd, unfair, sad, and revolting?”

  1. Thank you Bambi for this touching and informative article. I’ll have to read a bit more about Heinrich Schenker and about the controversy around Timothy Jackson before I come back with a substantive comment.

    1. Many thanks, Achim, for your kind and positive comment. Bambi is grateful for your time reading further on Herr Heinrich Schenker. She looks forward to hearing from you.

      1. Dear Timothy! Your relatives from Mother side on the unemagebly expressive photo(on the left upper extremely)man in some age and young girl espessially remind me my Dear Grandfather Avraam Bragilevsky (1889-1956) and my Dear Mother Ada Bragilevsky-Bruk(1916-1943).Sincerely Yours Fridrich Bruk 23.01.2022 Tampere Suomi-Finland

Leave a Reply to Bambi Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *