Ruth Benschop

Ruth Benschop is reader at the Research Centre Autonomy and the Public Sphere in the Arts. She was originally trained as a theoretical psychologist at Leiden University and finished her PhD (with honours) at the University of Groningen in 2001. Her thesis Unassuming Instruments: How to Trace the Tachistoscope in Experimental Psychology belongs to the field of Science and Technology Studies. This interdisciplinary field researches concrete practices, art practices among them, to raise urgent questions about today’s society. At Maastricht University, among other projects, she conducted postdoctoral research into sound art and the democratisation of music making. Besides research, she has always taught on a variety of themes as well as being engaged with the development of education.

Two old fascinations brought her to her current workplace at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. . Her interest in the rich interspace between academic and artistic practices on the one hand. On the other, her affinity with the innovative methodological and exploratory opportunities of qualitative, participatory research. As senior researcher at the research centre, she was already involved in a variety of research and educational projects practicing with and reflecting on artistic research, community art, documentation, and ethnography. As reader, she aims to further develop so called research studios, modules combining making and research, inside as well as outside of art education. To do so, she maintains an estranging, anthropological stance that is foundational for the research centre as such, as well as for the engaged forms of artistic research developed within the centre.

Together with Stefan Rosu and Peter Peters, Ruth wrote the first successful application for the Smart Culture (NWO/SIA) project Artful Participation, that is part of the MCICM. Together with Peter Peters, she manages this project. She also participated in the realization of MCICM as a centre bridging the philharmonic, the university as well as arts education. Together with Conservatorium Maastricht (Joachim Junghanss), her research centre is MCICM’s home base at Zuyd. The practice based and artistic research that is conducted within the MCICM is embedded within this research centre, which also forms the relevant context from which art- and music-student participation in research studio’s at Zuyd are organized.

Eve Imogen

Imogen Eve Cooney is a creative director/designer and artistic researcher in the performing arts - specialising in the innovation of classical music through curatorial practices. As a director/designer, Imogen blends her formative training as a musician and an actor to create immersive and interactive storytelling experiences through live music performance.

Imogen trained as a classical violinist and went on to study at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music (2009-2013) and at the Australian National Academy of Music (2014) whilst simultaneously working within theatre as both an actor and a creative director. In 2012 she founded The Painted Feet Orchestra, an interdisciplinary performance collective, and directed their productions in the 2012 Anywhere Theatre Festival (AUS) and the 2013 Music by the Sea Festival (AUS). From 2013 - 2015, Imogen worked in collaboration as a creative director of the Deep Blue Orchestra (AUS) for their production of India Stories in the Woodford Folk Festival and at the Brisbane Powerhouse. As an independent music director, Imogen worked with Fractal Theatre Company (AUS) on Secret Love Life of Ophelia in 2012 and The Shakespeare Theatre Company (AUS) on Mary Stuart in 2013.

In 2018, Imogen obtained her master diploma at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague specialising in the innovation of classical music through curatorial practices. Imogen is now based in the Netherlands and engages in freelance curatorial projects. Most recently, she developed and designed an interactive music installation titled Resta di Darmi for the Holland Festival 2018 in collaboration with composer Siamak Anvari. Since September 2018, Imogen has been working in the Maastricht Centre for the Innovation of Classical Music (MCICM) as an artistic researcher and teacher for the Artful Participation Research Project. Together in collaboration with the project team, Imogen will develop research experiments in the form of music performance platforms that aim innovate symphonic music through audience participation. In particular her position is as a creative designer - engaging the tools from her background in classical music performance to craft the research trajectory of the project through artistic practice. Alongside this, Imogen gives workshop lectures (Participatory Practices in 21st Century Western Art Music) and artistic research guidance for Master students at the Conservatory of Music in Maastricht.

Karoly Molina

Karoly Galindo Molina has a background in literature and language teaching. After completing a Bachelors of Arts at Texas A&M University in College Station, she worked as an English language and literature teacher in Mexico City. In 2015, Karoly completed the Master’s program Art, Literature and Society at Maastricht University.

Karoly’s focus of research has been the influence of immigration in art and literature. Her final dissertation for the master’s program focused on the use of nostalgia in literature by second-generation immigrants. In this work, Karoly proposes that nostalgia can be constructive.
At the Maastricht Centre for the Innovation of Classical Music, Karoly’s role will be of research assistant for the centre. This will include research into existing innovation projects as well as networking and organizational tasks with the different partners including Maastricht University, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, and philharmonie zuidnederland.

Peter Peters

Peter Peters is endowed professor in the innovation of classical music at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University. His background is in sociology and philosophy. He holds a PhD for his dissertation on mobilities in technological cultures, in which he combines insights from social theory and science and technology studies (STS) to analyze practices of travel. Before coming to Maastricht University, he worked as a classical music journalist and critic. From 2008 to 2013 he was professor in the research centre ‘Autonomy and the Public Sphere in the Arts’ at Zuyd University, Maastricht. Here, he developed research on artistic research and its relation to science and technology studies, as well as site-specific art, and art in the public sphere. 

His current research combines a life long passion for music with an interest in how artistic practices can be a context for doing academic and practice-oriented research. In previous years, he worked on an ethnography of a project at the Orgelpark in Amsterdam aimed at building a baroque organ for the 21st century. It explores how this project draws on historical and contemporary practices of pipe organ building. More recently, his research focuses on innovating classical music practices, especially symphonic music. Together with Stefan Rosu, he developed the research lines in the MCICM: the role of classical music and its value for society; the ways in which the relationship between performers of classical music, such as symphony orchestras and their audience is mediated; and the ways in which classical music practices contribute to the preservation of our cultural and social sounding heritage. With Ruth Benschop and Stefan Rosu he wrote the application for the NWO/SIA funded Artful Participation project that combines strategic research into reasons for the declining interest in symphonic music with artistic research to innovate this practice in an artistically relevant way.

At the MCICM, Peter will play a leading role in developing interdisciplinary academic and practice oriented research that combines reflection with making and performing, hence its focus on artistic research. Together with the staff of the MCICM and of the partner institutes, Peter hopes to design experiments in practice that will lead to new models for the symphonic practice and build (Eu)regional and international research consortia and partnerships.

Denise Petzold

Denise Petzold is an interdisciplinary researcher and PhD candidate within the MCICM.

In the past, she has worked as an assistant curator at the contemporary art museum Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst in Aachen, Germany, where she co-organised two large-scale exhibitions and assisted with editing the accompanying publications.

She obtained both her bachelor’s degree (BA Arts & Culture) and her master’s degree (MSc Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology) from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University, and graduated cum laude in both programmes. After completing a research internship at Tate Gallery, London, during her studies, Denise’s master thesis focused on the role of documentation in shaping the ‘lives’ of performative artworks in museums. For this work, she has been awarded the student prize for best master theses of 2016 by Maastricht University.

In her PhD project at the MCICM, Denise aims to bring together her background in the arts with classical music. In her research, she critically examines what is considered the cultural heritage of classical music today, how this heritage is maintained through the canon and thus also through actual musical practices, and, ultimately, how innovation of this heritage can be initiated from ‘within’ the community of classical music itself by considering novel contexts and strategies inspired by contemporary and/or performing arts as well as museum studies.

Stefan Rosu

Stefan Rosu serves since 2013 as the philharmonie zuidnederland first director general and artistic director. He holds a PhD in philosophy and teaches orchestral management in Frankfurt/ Main. He is the initiator of the Maastricht Center for the Innovation of Classical Music (MCICM).


Neil Smith

Neil Smith trained as a musicologist and a composer.  After two degrees at the University of York, he studied composition at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Stuttgart, before completing his doctorate at the University of Nottingham, supervised by Prof. Robert Adlington.  Neil worked as a Teaching Associate at the University of Nottingham, as well as a freelance musician and composer.

Neil’s doctoral thesis focused on German composer, Mathias Spahlinger, investigating both his music and his aesthetic thought.  This is part of a wider interest in contemporary music analysis and critical theory.  After completing his doctorate, Neil instigated a project looking at the role of competitive opportunities in the lives of 'emerging composers', which connects with debates around work, neoliberalism and artistic institutions. 

At MCICM, Neil is commencing a new project looking at the development of performance spaces over the last decades.  This includes an examination of how modern concert halls reflect the changing role of the orchestra, as well as how ensembles are seeking to break free from traditional performance spaces.

Veerle Spronck

Veerle Spronck holds a BA in Art History (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and graduated cum laude from the Research MSc Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology (Maastricht University) on an ethnographic study of artistic research practices in the Netherlands and Flanders. This thesis was awarded the 2017 Max van der Kamp Scriptieprijs, a biannual Dutch prize for the best thesis on cultural education and participation.

At the MCICM, Veerle works as PhD candidate within the research line on cultural participation. Specifically, she is part of the NWO/SIA project ‘Artful Participation: Doing Artistic Research with Symphonic Music Audiences’. In her PhD research, she empirically investigates the everyday practices of four symphonic practices to examine how and why orchestras try to innovate participation. The aim is not to take the problems of symphonic orchestras for granted and join them in the search for solutions. Rather, Veerle examines how orchestras define their problems, how these problem definitions inform the design and performance of experimental concerts, and how these experiments then may lead to new criteria for the quality and relevance of symphonic music.

Ties van de Werff

Ties van de Werff works as postdoctoral researcher in the project Artful Participation. Ties has a background in science & technology studies, empirical philosophy, and social design. His research interests lie in the ethics of societal engagement practices, both in the sciences and in the arts. Specifically, Ties explores how artists, scientists, and societal intermediaries engage with different valuations of the good, when making their work valuable for others. Moving between the loci of academia and the art world, Ties’ works at the department of Philosophy at FASoS (Maastricht University), and at the Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy and the Public Sphere at the Arts Faculty Maastricht (Zuyd University of Applied Sciences). At MCICM, Ties is involved in designing and intervening in three innovative experiments with the philharmonie zuidnederland orchestra and the Maastricht Conservatory. Ties lives in Eindhoven with his daughter, and plays bass in a ska-jazz collective.