The Lectorate 'Music, Education & Society' is led by lector Paul Craenen. The Lectorate in Music, Education & Society rests on a dynamic vision for music in society. Recognizing that in many contexts music has been drifting to something of a peripheral place in society, the vision works towards a revitalised and essential place for music in diverse communities. This leads to an essential question: in what ways can music play a leading role in the fabric of society: how do the unique dimensions of music unlock creative, collaborative, communicative and ethical aspects of life in contemporary societies; how may music contribute to meeting the challenges of unprecedented complexity and change in the world; what role can the conservatoire play in these issues? 

While the vision is uncompromisingly passionate, the Lectorate itself is pragmatic. It focuses in on the particular role that conservatoires and conservatoire education play in nurturing the next generations of professional musicians, supporting their professional integration, and enabling them to take on the challenge of embedding music in society. It therefore addresses three particular sets of issues:

  1. How musicians develop thoughts on their role in society and their artistic and professional identities; processes of personal and professional development;
  2. The opportunities and challenges for students in going into the profession; making things happen and creative entrepreneurship;
  3. The artistic skills, imagination, socio-cultural awareness and artistic ownership, involved in musical practice, and how these develop in contemporary contexts.

Dr. Paul Craenen
Paul Craenen (1972) has been appointed as the new lector in ‘Music, Education & Society’ at the Royal Conservatoire with effect from February 2018. Craenen earned his PhD at the University of Leiden in 2011, having formerly been a researcher at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent and the artistic director of the Flemish organisation Musica, Impulse Centre for Music. As head of the lectorate, Craenen plans to explore the role and relevance of music practice in contemporary society in greater depth and link the research to music education.

Paul Craenen is a composer, lecturer and researcher, and is currently the director of Musica, Impulse Centre for Music. After earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music, he taught piano and experimental music for a good fifteen years. He has been the driving force behind a number of pioneering educational projects in new music and the use of new media in part-time arts education. Since the end of the 1990s, he has also worked as a composer and sound artist. He has participated in several international composition seminars and his compositions have been premiered at various international festivals of new music. Conceptuality, the use of electronics and choreographic and audio-visual elements are characteristic features of his compositions. Another recurring element in his work is attention to physical presence in the performance of music. He embarked upon post-graduate research into that subject at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent, continuing it later through docARTES, a doctoral programme for practice-based research in the arts. 

Paul Craenen has been a member of the ARTI research group at Amsterdam University of the Arts and was a guest lecturer in intermedia at Amsterdam Conservatory for several years. He earned his doctorate from Leiden University on 29 March 2011 with a musical portfolio and a thesis entitled Gecomponeerde Uitvoerders – Het musicerende lichaam vanuit compositorisch perspectief. An edited version of the thesis was translated into English and published by Leuven University Press under the title ‘Composing under the Skin. The music-making body at the composer’s desk’ in 2014. As the director of Musica, Impulse Centre for Music, he has been responsible for the general and artistic policy of a major organisation accredited under the Flemish Arts Decree to promote music participation and arts education in Flanders. Under his leadership, the organisation won a YEAH award for the Most Innovative European Youth Production in the category ‘Performance’ (2015) and an EFFE Quality Label for the AlbaNova Festival (2017), and was nominated for the Limburg Prize for Culture (2017). Thanks to his expertise at the intersection of research, artistic practice and education, Paul Craenen is in frequent demand as an expert, opinion leader and curator. He gives lectures, writes articles for specialist publications and festivals and is a member of several working groups concerned with arts education and musical education.

Various teachers are also involved with the lectorate. They also do research within the field of 'Music, Education & Society'.



Questions about the lectorate? Reach out to Matthea de Muynck, assistant Research Group.