Research Cluster ‘Curating Music’

The research group ‘Curating Music’ investigates how musicians can interact with today’s audiences and how they can engage with the world from their own artistic identity. The concert hall is by far not the only place where educated musicians can share their music with an audience anymore. Musicians work in neighbourhood projects, schools, hospitals; in the public and virtual space. This calls for a reconsideration of the skills that contemporary musicians need and a critical examination of the discourse that grounds our musical and artistic values. Even in traditional music venues, the public is becoming increasingly diverse and often no longer shares a common cultural repertoire. This poses a challenge to the way early, classical and contemporary repertoire is contextualised, presented and performed.


Ilona Sie Dhian Ho is professor of Violin at the Royal Conservatoire and chamber music player. She is a jury member of several violin competitions and since 2018 member of the artistic board of Dutch Violin Competitions. In 2013 she started an outreach project, Music Around the Corner, in which she developed ways to perform classical music in the Morgenstond district, The Hague. With students she formed a ‘district orchestra’, Orkest Morgenstond, which works together with local partners to create tailored performances. She has recently extended these practice-based studies to a scientific research project by starting the Classic Expression Research group, in which musicians and scientists collaborate. By designing controlled experiments in the Classic Express, a mobile concert truck, she will analyze the impact of presentation techniques that were developed in Morgenstond. The aim is to provide insights in how to reach specific groups within the population, as well as to reflect on the artistic consequences of such presentation techniques. The first study on story telling in musical performances for children will take place in 2021.

Felix Schlarmann teaches jazz drums at the Royal Conservatoire. The originally German drummer studied in Amsterdam and New York and is active as a performer at home and abroad in many bands and ensembles. His musical interests range from playing in big bands to artistic improvisation projects. Besides a busy concert schedule and teaching at the Conservatory, he is director and artistic director of Jazzfest Amsterdam, curates a monthly jazz series and is part of Splendor, a collective of musicians, composers and artists. His research focuses on the collective as a multifunctional process, format and artistic tool. Can the collective idea as it works in a musical context be translated into an entrepreneurial situation? And what conditions are necessary if this idea is to be taught within a conservatoire training?