Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Research project

(Re)positioning Modern Concert Music in Contemporary Society

For several years, contemporary composed music has been critiqued among others by funds, sponsors, and festival organizers for having lost contact with their audiences. This music has increasingly become a pursuit of a privileged, well-situated, and higher educated public, and is most often confined to the elitist space of concert halls (Small 1998; Kramer 2007; Johnson 2011). The research question resulting from this briefly sketched context is one that is both theoretical and practical: how can contemporary performance practices be restructured, first to engage a broader audience and second to increase societal importance?

2016 - 2017
Marcel Cobussen

The question as defined above will be investigated in two different, though connected projects, both specifically dealing with the Dutch situation. The first project has as its main focus the role of the audience: from passive consumer to active participant. How would the audience experience listening to contemporary music performances if these were transformed into interactive projects? Could such an approach inspire people to engage more with the music, but also with each other, thus also addressing current societal issues such as stratification and integration?

The second project concentrates on two Dutch ensembles, Maze and 7090, and deals with the question what musicians themselves can do to restructure their performance practices. Whereas Maze challenges in their concerts the idea of fixed musical form and a fixed listening perspective, 7090 integrates theatrical elements, changes performance spaces, and collaborates with artists from other disciplines (writers, actors, painters). The project analyzes how and if such changes in performance practices can attract people from different cultural backgrounds, but also from various social classes.

More information

This website uses cookies.  More information.