MCICM Research

MCICM Research lines

Research line 1:
Orchestrating social relevance
Research line 2:

Modernising cultural participation

Whereas classical music has always renewed itself as an art form, the presentation or staging of this art form in concert halls before attentive listeners has more or less remained unchanged since the nineteenth century.  More than in any other art form, the listener to live classical music seems to be passive: silent and immobile. Many have identified this style of listening as an important reason for the declining interest in classical music concerts. How can we rethink and innovate the ways in which audiences participate in classical music concerts? Recent studies and experiments in audience development and participation have focused on digital technologies to enhance the quality of the concert experience.

People are guided through a performance, audiences can get an impression of a piece before a concert, and revisit it after the concert was played. This raises questions: how do digital technologies give rise to new aesthetic forms, and how can digital aesthetics provide a structure for the social and cultural participation of concert audiences?  Recent research on cultural participation suggests that new technological mediations of classical music concerts do not automatically lead to developing the cultural competences that allow audiences to give meaning to classical music and relate it to their own situations. This research line connects to a broader body of critical Science & Technology Studies (STS) research that aims at unpacking the notion of ‘participation’, and the role that digital technologies play in enabling it, while at the same time using insights from this research to develop creative futures for classical symphonic music.

Research projects
Research line 3:

Adapting sounding heritage

Symphonic ochestras are institutions of cultural reproduction. They take care of our sounding heritage. But the decline of the classical music practice indicates that the meaning and importance of this heritage is no longer beyond dispute. How to find new ways of making classical music artistically relevant in 21st century societies? This assumes that heritage is given new uses, and is related to new contexts. This research line will build a database of initiatives taken by musical institutions to stage their products in innovative ways.

Theoretically, it relates to research on heritage conservation and creating new strategies of access to heritage. Innovative cultural dynamics often evolve around new presentations and re-enactments of the past. How can the innovation of symphonic classical music be related to the rediscovery or musical cultures of the past? Central to this research line is the notion of adaptation as a core strategy in cultural reproduction.

Research projects