Universiteit Leiden

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Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA)


(Re)positioning Modern Concert Music In Contemporary Society

Humanities Research Traineeship Programme

In 2016, Marcel Cobussen successfully applied for two trainee positions at ACPA, funded by the Humanities Research Traineeship Programme at Leiden University. The research topic and question guiding these two ACPA traineeships was formulated as follows: How can contemporary performance practices be restructured, first to engage a broader audience and second to increase societal importance? Point of departure was that contemporary composed music has often been critiqued – among others by funds, sponsors, and festival organizers –  for having lost contact with their audiences. This music seems to have become increasingly a pursuit of a privileged, well-situated, and higher educated public, and is most often confined to the elitist space of concert halls.

Friederike Pank

From December 2016 till December 2017, Cobussen worked with Friederike Pank, pianist and BA student International Studies, and musicologist, music journalist, and music programmer Jan Nieuwenhuis on mapping, analyzing, and evaluating various initiatives in The Netherlands in which musicians have tried to present classical music differently. During these 12 months the trainees studied (recent) literature on changing performance practices (e.g. Hamel 2016 and Gumbrecht 2003), analyzed concerts on the basis of observation and questionnaires, had interviews with several Dutch musicians, and, in the case of Friederike, also performed classical music at unexpected locations.

One of the results, Friederike’s multi-media essay In Search of the Public. Exploring Contemporary Performance Practices of Classical Music in The Netherlands is now publicly available on the Research Catalogue.

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