Flow, interruption and reflectivity in musical artistic research (2022)

Knowledge in the Arts. #6. Aarhus, 2022

Balancing proximity and distance in musical artistic research (2022)

EPARM conference 2022, London

Reaching out from music (2021)

Keynote for the seminar ‘Extended Composition: what can be music?’

Ultima Festival 2021, Oslo

Curating the Connections: Recent Curriculum Approaches at Higher Music Institutions (2021)

Education at European music conservatories has long been founded on disciplines and traditions whose cultural relevance and authority were not in question. The transfer of skills and expertise within these disciplines was mainly based on master-apprentice learning models. Recent social and cultural developments, a rapidly changing professional landscape, and the increasing importance of cross-disciplinary values have put pressure on this traditional one-to-one learning model. As a result, curricula in higher music education are evolving towards more modular and flexible programmes in which the student is given the responsibility for creating coherence within the learning trajectory. This shift raises new questions about expertise, professionalism and assessment in higher music education. Using the example of recent master curriculum reforms at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, I will address some of the challenges of a radically student-centred curriculum. I propose a role for music conservatories to foster new connections, but also to curate exchanges between traditional and emerging areas of expertise in a critical way.

keynote at the PGVIS 2021 online conference, Bangkok

Searching for a new home: connecting conservatory curriculum to the New World (2021)

Whereas innovation in twentieth-century art music was primarily driven by an expansion of the musical material, promising composition techniques, and alternative listening perspectives, today music makers seem to be primarily looking for new ways and contexts to give musical practice meaning and relevance. While the last century was characterized by specialization and the creative autonomy of the artist, today the importance of sharing and connection seems to be paramount.

Successful music makers often move in different musical, artistic and also social domains. An analysis of what Master’s students at the Royal Conservatoire formulate as themes and ambitions in the free development space offered to them by their Master’s research reveals not only their interest in musical and artistic crossovers, but also their wish to engage in the world in a more multifaceted way, based on their artistic identity. In this presentation, I will discuss some possible consequences for music curricula and the knowledge infrastructure in higher music education.

lecture at the MCICM conference 2021, Maastricht

Values in Music: Lecture series (2020)

Values in Music is a lecture series I developed for the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (Leiden University). It offers an introduction to social, ethical and aesthetic values in classical and contemporary art music. The course takes as a premise that art music not only acts as a mirror of culture, but also as a field of exercise, exploration and negotiation of values which are potentially constitutive for society. The series forms a more or less coherent whole of three blocks of lectures and is aimed at bachelor university students. Singular lectures for a general audience are available on request.

–> overview of all course lectures

The Promise of Music (2020)

What makes music promising? What unrealized potential can be found in contemporary music creation? What can be expected from trends in collaborative music creation, transdisciplinarity, machine learning and personalized music? Starting from a comparison between E.T.A. Hoffman’s discussion of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (1810) and Luigi Russolo’s futurist manifesto ‘The Art of Noise’ (1913), this lecture examines historical moments of strong musical hope and expectations, to reflect on current sources and conditions for musical change and development.

No prior knowledge required, although familiarity with the field of classical or contemporary music is recommended.

Duration: 60 minutes + discussion

From questions to research (2020)

The artistic practice is a place for creativity, expression, aesthetic experience and cultural transfer. Since the past decade, research is often named as an addition to this list, especially in the context of higher arts education. What is the meaning of this? How can the artistic (teaching) practice be a source for research?
In this lecture, I discuss motivations that typically precede research, and compare them with questions and needs emerging from the artistic practice. Are all questions in music practice potential research questions? What legitimates a research response, or when is it more relevant to resort to the skills, assumptions and implicit norms and values of tradition and discipline?

Introduction to artistic research for teachers or master students at Conservatories. Presented in the context of the course ‘Artist as Teacher’ at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague and at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln.

Isolator or connector? On the role of research as an integrative force between practice, theory and experience (2019)

Lecture at the EPARM conference 2019.

On Sound Art and Listening Time (2016)

Sound art works deal with the experience of time in a different way than musical works do. The focus on space, instead of duration has been a main argument in the positioning of sound art as an autonomous art form with specific characteristics and its own playing field.

More then 10 years of experience with Klankenbos, a permanent outdoor collection of sound art works, invites us to reconsider the importance of dealing with listening time on several levels: the invitation to take time, the creation of an environment with proper time-spaces for listening, the variability of sound output and ultimately the lifespan of sounding art works.

Presented at the conference on “The Role and Position of Sounds and Sounding Art in Public Urban Environments” ,  November 30, 2016, Leiden University.

On the Musical Body (2016)

A series of lectures on the status of the performing body in composed contemporary music. Based on my publication Composing under the Skin, presented during the PARTS Research Studios 2016.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor man ray photography
Violon d’Ingres (Man Ray, 1924)

duration: approx. 10h in total

Written Music (2015). From sonography to choreography.

Western classical music is one of the few musical cultures relying partly on a transmission by notation. However, in a music performance the score remains mostly hidden for the public. Can we hear the traces of a writing process in the sounding music? What is the impact of the use of a notation system in musical creation processes? This lecture undertakes a journey into the history of music notation in composition practice. From medieval neumes to 20th century graphical scores, from sound result notation to action and process notation.

Graphical scores from 14th century

90 min, powerpoint presentation with music examples
first presented on February 24th 2015 at Volksbühne Berlin 

Geschreven Muziek (2015). Van sonografie naar choreografie

De Westerse klassieke muziek is één van de weinige muzikale culturen die gedeeltelijk berust op een overdracht via notatie. Nochtans blijft de partituur meestal verborgen voor het publiek tijdens een muziekuitvoering. Kunnen we de aanwezigheid van schrijfprocessen horen in de klinkende muziek? Wat is de impact van het gebruik van muzieknotatie op muzikale creatieprocessen? In deze lezing wordt op zoek gegaan naar de geschiedenis van muzieknotatie in compositieprocessen. Van middeleeuwse neumen tot 20e eeuwse grafische partituren, van de notatie van klank tot actie- en processnotatie.

lezing 90 min, powerpoint presentatie met muziekvoorbeelden

Zooming out on artistic research results (2014)

Artistic research is rooted in artistic practice. There is a direct relationship between the relevance of AR questions for the larger community of artists, researchers and teachers and the possibilities of a future integration of the research output in artistic practice. It would be a serious limitation, though, to evaluate the admissibility of an AR proposal only according to its possibilities of immediate integration into training or education curricula. For a genuine AR to be successful, a delineation of its research area, and even a temporary disconnection from common art practice can be necessary to come to original and articulated results. The output of AR may need time to reveal its impact potential, just as in any other kind of basic research or experimental development.

Therefore, additional efforts are needed to transfer newly acquired knowledge to the needs and interests of art practice beyond the biotope of conservatories and universities. Recent research results in sound art and historical performance practice can serve as case studies here. Current projects involving conservatories, part-time and non-formal music education illustrate how joint efforts in zooming out on AR results may offer unexpected areas of valorization. These projects demonstrate how a combination of a pragmatic attitude, awareness of the dynamics of art practice and partnerships outside academia can help to disseminate AR output and to embed AR firmly in society.

lecture 25 minutes
presented at ORCiM Research Seminar, Ghent, on November 24th 2014

Klankkunst, een hybride kunstvorm (2013 – dutch only)

Je ziet ze steeds vaker opduiken op muziekfestivals, in het bijzonder in de marge van festivals voor nieuwe en hedendaagse muziek: tijdelijke of semi-permanente klankinstallaties. Ze zijn soms luidruchtig, maar evengoed ook nauwelijks hoorbaar. Soms vragen ze om intens en stilstaand luisteren, soms moet je als bezoeker zelf bewegen en rondlopen om iets te kunnen horen. Vaak springen ze in het oog door hun vormgeving, soms blijven ze onzichtbaar. Dikwijls zijn er luidsprekers en elektronica in het spel, maar evengoed kan het gaan om erg ambachtelijke of sculpturale ingrepen. Klankkunst, geluidskunst, sound art: het zijn evenveel namen om een kunstvorm te benoemen die moeilijk in één hok gevangen kan worden. Waar liggen de wortels van deze relatief nieuwe discipline en hoe verhoudt klankkunst zich tot de muziek, de beeldende kunst en de architectuur?

lezing 90 min, powerpoint presentatie met klankvoorbeelden

Het oor van Noach, Klankenbos Neerpelt

Het Nieuwe Luisteren (2013 – dutch only)

Wat is muzikaal luisteren? Berust het op techniek, aandacht, voorkennis, talent? Is muziek slechts een kwestie van smaak, of kunnen luisterhoudingen aangeleerd worden? Hoe luisteren de kunstenaars uit de nieuwe muziek, de populaire muziek of de geluidskunst van vandaag, en wat kunnen we van hen leren?

In deze nascholing worden eigenschappen van het menselijke luisteren verbonden met muzikale expressie, klankbeleving en luisterervaring. Via een veelheid aan invalshoeken en luistervoorbeelden – van gregoriaans tot dubstep – gaan de cursisten op zoek naar universele eigenschappen van het menselijke luisteren. Specifieke aandacht gaat naar het leren hanteren van luistertechnieken en het verbinden van luistervoorbeelden met gepaste luisterattitudes.

nascholing leerkrachten esthetica
3 uur, met pauze 

Instrumenten voor Nieuwe Oren (2012/14 – dutch only)

Lezing over het gebruik van nieuwe instrumenten en technologieën in het deeltijdse kunstonderwijs. Met tal van voorbeelden uit de klas experimentele muziek die ik in Oud-Heverlee leidde van 2002 tot 2012. Een artikel met hetzelfde onderwerp verscheen in Muziekpedagogiek in beweging. Technologie als Medium (Nijs & De Baets, 2015)


30 – 60 min.
gepresenteerd op studiedag Nieuwe Oren, Leuven, op 25/10/2012