An authentic laboratory for musical citizenship

Maastricht Centre for the Innovation of Classical Music

The Maastricht Centre for the Innovation of Classical Music (MCICM) was festively presented today by Stefan Rosu, intendant and director of the South Netherlands Philharmonic; Ger Koopmans, member of the Limburg Provincial Executive; Martin Paul, president of the Executive Board of Maastricht University; Mieke Damsma, alderwoman for the city of Maastricht and Leo Swinkels, director of the Faculty of Arts at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences.


MCICM is an initiative of Stefan Rosu, intendant and director of the South Netherlands Philharmonic. He sought the cooperation of Maastricht University and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences with the aim of establishing a centre for academic and applied artistic research, to be incorporated into the three participating organisations. MCICM is a unique centre in Maastricht that offers exceptional opportunities for innovation with respect to applied classical music and classical music education. To Stefan Rosu, it was important to create a European centre that collects relevant existing research and that encourages academics and musicians to join forces and pass on musical heritage in the twenty-first century. 'With MCICM, Maastricht has been given a unique centre that offers new opportunities for reinvigorating classical music practice,' says Rosu.

Martin Paul, president of the Maastricht University Executive Board, is also pleased that the joint efforts of the initiators are now paying off in the effective establishment of the centre. 'MCICM is an example of Limburg's collaborative strength and the development of critical mass through co-creation at the interface of knowledge, art and social involvement. This initiative is also an excellent example of the implementation of our university strategy: Community at the Core,' explains Paul.

'A nice interweaving of culture, research, participation and social innovation,' says Karel van Rosmalen, president of the Zuyd University Executive Board. 'The orchestra as an authentic laboratory where professionals, researchers, citizens and art students work together on applied research that is of social relevance is perfectly in line with our own attitude at Zuyd. It's great to see the parties join forces in this beautiful province, with its strong musical culture and history.'

Sophie Vanhoonacker, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UM, is confident about the collaboration. 'The establishment of MCICM will offer the faculty new opportunities to conduct interdisciplinary academic research on innovative ways to make classical music accessible to a contemporary audience, and to introduce our students to the fruitful interaction between scientific and applied artistic research.'

The director of the Zuyd Faculty of Arts Leo Swinkels agrees. 'It's wonderful that young, talented musicians and lecturers can work together with the orchestra, the research center AOK and the university to promote musical citizenship for everyone, also those who maybe aren't as inclined to go to a symphony. The establishment of MCICM is also important for the Faculty of Arts, for its enhancement of artistic research.'


The start date is currently scheduled for 1 January 2018. MCICM is financed by the three organizations. The Province of Limburg agreed to provide a 400,000 euro subsidy for the first four years (2018-2021). The Municipality of Maastricht has also pledged its financial support, as the programme perfectly encapsulates the objectives of the Cultural Innovation Agenda. In addition, the centre's funding proposal – 'Artful Participation: Doing Artistic Research with Symphonic Music Audiences', written by Peter Peters (UM), Ruth Benschop (Zuyd) and Stefan Rosu (South Netherlands Philharmonic) – was recently accepted. The initiators hope to establish a long-lasting and durable centre.

The South Netherlands Philharmonic as a laboratory

The South Netherlands Philharmonic serves as a symphonic laboratory for MCICM. The orchestra will appoint a working group consisting of musicians and staff members to support MCICM. The orchestra will also produce and implement the projects that arise from the MCICM collaboration. All of the orchestra’s talents and resources are available for use. The goal, according to Stefan Rosu, is 'to make open innovation possible and develop new business models for the symphony in collaboration with researchers.'

Innovative research workshops for art education

The practical experiments in this symphonic laboratory will be carried out by researchers, lecturers, students, musicians and citizens. Bachelor's and master's students, particularly those from the classical music department at the Maastricht Conservatory, will participate in innovative experiments that focus on the exploration of different forms of audience participation and experience. The Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy and Public Sphere (AOK) has been using this educational approach since 2012 and refers to it as 'researchstudios'. With the help of MCICM, the Faculty of Arts is thus reinforcing the close connection between practical research and education centred on two core themes of the Research Centre AOK: the relationship between art and society and the development of the practice of artistic research.

Interdisciplinary research at the interface of art, knowledge, and society

MCICM will conduct interdisciplinary research on such themes as cultural participation, the influence of digital technologies on symphonies and the co-occurrence of preservation and application of sounding heritage. In this way, the centre will contribute to two research programmes within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences that focus on the role of science and technology in social innovations and on the significance of art, literature and media in cultural reproduction processes. In addition, the new centre will also contribute to research on art and heritage conducted at the interfaculty Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH).

Regional relevance

Ger Koopmans believes MCICM is hugely significant for the future of the southern Netherlands. The Euregional collaboration and opportunities for language development and creativity will help to attract students, creative entrepreneurs and knowledge workers to the region. MCICM will play a facilitating role in this by innovating cultural participation and experimenting with new forms of inclusivity. Makers will have the opportunity to develop their skills and try out new forms of entrepreneurship. 'Over the next ten years, the institute will develop into a knowledge centre for innovative symphonic music at the European level,' says Koopmans. 'And Maastricht will become the city in which the orchestra of tomorrow was born. MCICMs innovative ideas will enrich cultural life and become indispensable to the quality of life in the thriving province of Limburg.'

MCICM design

MCICM will appoint a combined professor/lector for a period of four years, who also serves as the director of the centre. The director is supported by a research staff. The centre connects the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (UM), which serves as its home base, with the Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy and Public Sphere (Zuyd). This structural collaboration between academics, artistic researchers, art students and professional and amateur orchestra musicians on the same issues is entirely unique. The centre is also hosts an international advisory board and a sounding board group that brings together academic and applied researchers, musicians and interested regional stakeholders. The advisory board consists of the following members: Paulo de Assis (P), Professor Karin Bijsterveld (NL), Micha Hamel (NL), Kai Hartig (D), Johan Luijmes (NL), Professor Joanna MacGregor OBE (UK), Professor Thomas Schmidt (D) and Professor Hans Waege (B).

In conclusion, Stefan Rosu adds: 'My intention for the South Netherlands Philharmonic is to develop a kind of cultural lighthouse that creates a clear link to symphonic traditions and contributes actively to progressive and future-focused innovations in the southern Netherlands; an orchestra that takes new and innovative pathways and strives to become one of the leading orchestras in the Netherlands. The best part is that this vision has the full support of our orchestra.'

This press release has been cooperatively issued by Maastricht University, Philharmonie Zuidnederland and Zuyd Hogeschool.


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