Zur richtigen Zeit am richtigen Ort (‘In the right place at the right time’). On the retirement of Dr Gerda Lechleitner.

On 30 June 2020, the Phonogrammarchiv bid farewell to its long-standing member of staff, Dr Gerda Lechleitner, hosting a reception for current and former colleagues and guests.

For more than a quarter of a century, Gerda Lechleitner played a decisive and successful role in the Phonogrammarchiv’s orientation and outreach. As (co-)editor of the archive’s CD edition (The Complete Historical Collections 1899–1950) and its Yearbook, she did pioneering work and shaped the public image of the Phonogrammarchiv. Thanks to her extensive lecturing activities, she made the archive’s work internationally known and repeatedly put it up for discussion. Over the decades, Gerda Lechleitner also built up and cultivated impressive networks.


In her manifold activities, Gerda Lechleitner was however never committed only to representing the concerns of the archive as such, but also to contributing to general disciplinary discourse – witness her long-time involvement in learned societies such as ICTM and ESEM, or in institutions like the Volksliedwerk. In these years – and in the numerous projects in which she was likewise engaged – she did something that has become rare in today’s age of disciplinary diversification: she represented the entire breadth of the subject of musicology. Not many can do that. Her unbroken curiosity about the latest (inter)disciplinary developments and the exchange with young colleagues is equally impressive.


Yet Gerda Lechleitner’s activities at the Austrian Academy of Sciences were not limited to the Phonogrammarchiv. She began her career at what is now the Academy’s Acoustics Research Institute, and her commitment went far beyond the professional sphere: as a long-standing member of the works council, she reminded the Academy of its duty as an employer.


Hers is an extremely comprehensive and diverse commitment. We would like to thank Gerda Lechleitner not only for being zur richtigen Zeit am richtigen Ort (‘in the right place at the right time’) – to paraphrase the title of her 2015 article – but also for her decisive and lasting contribution to shaping this place, the Phonogrammarchiv. We wish her all the best – may she also find the right places, and the right times for these places, in her retirement!


(Kerstin Klenke & Christian Liebl)