Towards a virtuous circle - Third Cycle artistic research in the conservatoire as creative dialogue, critical reflection and discipline development

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This presentation addresses questions concerning the relationship between 1st, 2nd and 3rd cycles in higher music education (HME), and the transformative possibility of artistic research in conservatoire contexts. In the conservatoire tradition, knowledge and experience of music as both a craft and an art is held, transmitted and developed. Previous research shows that young students of classical music entering this system often encounter tensions between, on the one hand, the task to reproduce and continue the tradition, and, on the other hand, the demand to create new and original artistic expressions. Such tensions may be balanced and articulated by means of productive and visible 3rd cycle artistic research projects; as suggested in the AEC Handbook to Third Cycle Studies in HME, the introduction of doctoral programmes in conservatoires may have a positive effect on the other two cycles. Experiences from a decade with a Third Cycle artistic research programme at our conservatoire point to how it certainly builds upon and feeds back into the previous two cycles, but also that it has the role of posing challenging questions that may slightly push the system out of its comfort zone.
After an introduction to how artistic research programmes may be a possible instigator of creative dialogue, critical reflection and discipline development, this session comprises three case descriptions of PhD projects which are all influential in the shaping of tomorrow’s 1st and 2nd cycle conservatoire training. The PhD candidates are all former students at our academy who combine high-ranking artistic careers with doctoral studies and teaching in HME. Their projects investigate and develop fundamental issues in Western European art music as a cultural practice; relationships to (i) written scores, improvisation and instruments, (ii) performance practices and (iii) audiences. In simultaneous contact with students, professional musical practice and contemporary artistic research, they all relate to questions such as: What roles can be played by professional musicians of tomorrow? How will they relate to life long learning and entrepreneurship on the open media market?
As living examples of how the interrelationship between cycles can be enacted, the three presentations picture inspirational as well as disturbing consequences of 3rd cycle artistic research and point to how these may be used for the development of a coherent structure of acquisition (1st cycle) – application (2nd cycle) – generation of new knowledge (3rd cycle) in HME.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Feb 27
Eventhe Reflective Conservatoire: Creativity and Changing Cultures - Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 2015 Feb 262015 Mar 1


Conferencehe Reflective Conservatoire
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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