Universiteit Leiden

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Dinko Fabris appointed professor: 'Music must live'

Musicologist Dinko Fabris has been appointed professor at the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA). He started on 1 September. 'I’m looking forward to making a connection with society.'

Fabris specialises in early modern music, particularly from Italy. ‘Following in the footsteps of my illustrious predecessor, Ton Koopman, the focus of my professorship will primarily be on music from the Western tradition that was written before the Romantic period,’ he says. He then immediately refines that comment: ‘The music from the rest of the nineteenth century also falls into the category of really old, of course. We might even consider performing music from the early twentieth century taking a historical approach. Actually, all historical music should be studied.'

At the same time, the perfect reconstruction of a historical piece is not Fabris' primary goal. ‘Music is different from visual arts: music can’t be displayed in a museum. Music has to be alive.’ That means: seeking contact with the present day. ‘We don’t live in the sixteenth or the nineteenth century; we live in the third millennium. We need to use all the historical information we have to perform the music of the past, but combine it with new technologies and new perspectives derived from current artistic research. That way, we can convince the audience of today that the music written in the past was in its time very modern, very contemporary and very interesting.’

Music as a bridge to the community

At ACPA, Fabris believes he has come to the right place for this. ACPA is the only university arts programme that has twenty years of experience behind it. ‘Only the best musicians are admitted to the doctoral programme. They acquire academic knowledge at the university, but at the same time they bring with them their own professional expertise as performers or composers. I am convinced that these two fields reinforce each other.’

According to Fabris, music can help to bring research to a wider audience. ‘We call this the third mission of universities: to bring the results of academic research to the communities around us. 'My conception of a university is that it should and make all its publications open access. We will definitely be doing that, but another good way to show our impact is through music.’

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