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Photo credit: Royal Conservatoire & Alex Schröder

Online Symposium Classical Music Futures

Th 18 Jan 2024 13:00 – 16:30, Symposium - Online

Where can classical music organisations turn for help in a time of uncertain funding, ageing audiences and precarious arts careers? The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Network on ‘Collaborative Ecologies in Creative Cities’ suggests that they turn to each other, to share ideas, build networks and increase resilience.

The Maastricht University would like to invite music practitioners; music educators and students; orchestral musicians, directors, and administrators; as well as academic and artistic researchers to share their thoughts and work on classical music ecologies at our online half day symposium on 18th January 2024.

Classical music has for some time been described as existing in a state of crisis. It faces challenges in balancing the need to address moral imperatives of diversity, decolonisation and inclusion, without alienating the established largely white, middle-class attenders who are the core audience for traditional concert programmes. Within the orchestral workforce, similarly, there are tensions between the training that players have received and the skills they are expected to acquire ‘on the job’, to deliver the learning and participation projects that aim to bring new audiences to classical music and address elitism in music education. The conservatoires that train these musicians are notoriously slow to change, and so the inequalities of class, race, gender, and other barriers to access that exist in the training institutions are perpetuated in the orchestral sector and are becoming increasingly misaligned with the values of funders, audiences and academic research.

It is our belief that these challenges are best tackled holistically, by bringing together conservatoires, universities, orchestras, and audiences. Cities across the UK and Europe typically contain a diverse range of classical music institutions: venues, orchestras, ensembles, festivals, conservatoires, universities, amateur groups, and individual practitioners in seven cities across the UK and Europe. How these creative ecologies function in shaping classical music futures, however, is little understood, with work often siloed and collaborative potential lost. Presenting some of the first results from the AHRC funded project "Networked Innovation in Classical Music: Collaborative Ecologies in Creative Cities", this symposium intends to explore how local partners can assess and encourage their cities as sites for innovation in the face of such challenges.

This symposium will be held online. Please register here. For queries, please contact mcicm-fasos@maastrichtuniversity.nl. For more information about the AHRC Classical Music Network, please visit the network website.

Symposium organisers:

  • Prof Peter Peters, Director Maastricht Centre for the Innovation of Classical Music (MCICM), Maastricht University
  • Prof Stephanie Pitts, Director Sheffield Performer & Audience Research Centre (SPARC), Sheffield University

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