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Faculty of Music


Piano Keyboard CloseupThe profession of the classical music performer has been evolving in different ways over the last few decades. In particular, the idea of a genre-specific performer is being gradually replaced by the notion of a “portfolio musician”. Not only are more and more classical performers engaging with other genres of music and collaborating with artists from other arts (such as dance and theatre), they are also undertaking scholarly research and becoming increasingly involved in the composition of music. The lines, then, that have traditionally existed between the genres that musicians engage with (such as classical, jazz, or popular) and the identities that they assume when doing so (scholar, performer, or composer) are now considerably blurred.

Including a keynote presentation by Professor Daniel Leech-Wilkinson (King’s College, London), musical performances and a round-table discussion (Mine Dogantan-Dack, Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, John Rink, and Jeremy Thurlow), this study day aims to bring together practitioners, scholars and artist-researchers to explore the diverse aspects of being a classical musician in the 21st century, including new career paths, current musical and cultural demands, multifaceted artistic identities, engagement with past musical practices and novel pedagogical approaches.

Registration should be completed by 10 May 2019 using our online store. Registration is free for Cambridge Staff and Students or £10 for others.



9.00  Registration 

Session 1
Chair:  Jeremy Thurlow TBC

9.30 Becoming a musical performer: Conceptions of the classical musician promoted at university
Maria Krivenski (Goldsmiths, University of London)

10.00 The conservatoire in the 21st century: Fit for purpose?
Adrian Horsewood (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire)

10.30 The composition PhD: Artistic apprenticeship or research training?
Martin Scheuregger & Christopher Leedham (University of Lincoln & Leeds College of Music )

11.00-11.15   Coffee/tea break

Session 2
Chair: Anthony Gritten

11.15 Composer, performer, composer-performer: The collective as a nurturing environment for developing artist identity
Caitlin Rowley & Josh Spear  (Bath Spa University & Norwegian Academy of Music)

11.45 Becoming Klangforum Wien: An inside perspective
Simone Heilgendorff  (Salzburg University)

12.15-1.15pm    LUNCH

Keynote Presentation
Chair: Mine Doğantan-Dack

1.15pm Alternative Performance
Daniel Leech-Wilkinson (King’s College, London)

Side-by-side performances

3pm Coffee/tea break

Session 3
Chair:  Adam Behan

3.15pm touchez des yeux: A reverse poetics of musical display
Heloisa Amaral (Orpheus Institute)

3.45pm BREKEKEKEX: A new collaborative work for classical guitar, live electronics & VR headset score
Jonathan Packham & David Cotter  (University of Oxford & University of Cambridge)

4.15  Coffee/tea break

Session 4
Chair:  John Rink

4.30pm  The soloist has many faces: Examining the expanding skillset of the modern freelance musician
Zubin Kanga (Royal Holloway)

5pm Developing musical skills in the 21st century: A Cagean perspective
Anthony Gritten (Royal Academy of Music)

5.30pm Empowering the portfolio musician in the 21st century: Case studies from the Chicago College of Performing Arts
Allegra Montanari & David Kjar (Roosevelt University, Chicago College of Performing Arts)


Mine Doğantan-Dack (University of Cambridge), Daniel Leech-Wilkinson (King’s College London), John Rink (University of Cambridge), Jeremy Thurlow (University of Cambridge)

Thursday, 23 May, 2019 - 09:00 to 18:40
Event location: 
Faculty of Music, West Road, Cambridge