ECMA Pro: Inputs for a Europe-Wide Chamber Music Network

8 June 2021

“ECMA Pro” is an international cooperation project which is funded by Creative Europe and aims to give chamber music an innovative boost – particularly in times made difficult by the coronavirus – and to create a network of international institutions.

In an academic year that has been very challenging for universities throughout the world, there is now new momentum for chamber music: with ECMA Pro - International Career Development and Socially Engaged Outreach in Chamber Music, which is co-financed by the Creative Europe Programme of the EU.

With this programme, we are able to realise a new, top-class training programme for European chamber music ensembles in almost unhindered conditions; despite the coronavirus crisis.

ECMA – the European Chamber Music Academy, founded in 2004, has long been established as a leading further training programme for young ensembles, and offers the first inter-institutional European Master chamber music programme: the ECMAster. ECMA Pro was launched last winter as a cooperation project involving several music colleges and festivals, and is an extension of this programme, co-financed by the EU’s Creative Europe Programme.

The quality of chamber music ensembles has improved enormously over the past few years, thanks to increased training opportunities. For many young musicians, founding a chamber music ensemble has become an important part of their portfolio career and also helps to ensure their economic stability.

In addition to the artistic work, ECMA Pro also focuses specifically on the career development of young ensembles, as well as questions concerning the social relevance of their artistic activities. Alternative concert formats are tried out and developed, and building and expanding the audience also play a major role. Another key objective of ECMA Pro is the promotion of transnational mobility and further digital development in the area of chamber music: students and teaching staff are given support in using new technologies and will benefit from digital platforms in their career development. Besides video tutorials, these include for example a switchboard that puts young ensembles directly in touch with international concert organisers. Here, “showcases” organised by ECMA Pro in the form of concerts presented to “professional” audiences, such as concert organisers and representatives of festivals and agencies, help the ensembles to become recognised in the international concert world.

Johannes Meissl, the Vice Rector for International Affairs and Art at the mdw, as well as Professor of Chamber Music and the Artistic Director of ECMA, emphasises the huge innovative boost that chamber music has received through the creation of this Europe-wide network and efficient crisis management: “The cooperating partners are all institutions that are characterised by both a strong sense of tradition and a powerful innovative drive. Particularly in times of crisis, this organised cooperation offers a wonderful opportunity to share knowledge and find common solutions.” Despite the fast-changing coronavirus measures, which differ from country to country, ECMA can look back on a successful first semester, having held “hybrid” and “digital” sessions in i.a. Bern, The Hague and Paris.

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