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New AEC Website

Welcome to the new AEC Website!


At its inception in 1953, the Association's goal was to develop relations between schools of higher education in music throughout Europe and, more specifically, to develop relations with countries behind the Iron Curtain, from the Atlantic to the Ural. Its permanent seat was at the time situated in Switzerland; two presidents, one from Eastern Europe, the other from the West, led the organisation.
Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the November 1990 Glasgow Congress dismantled the two-headed organisational system. Sir John Manduell, a Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, became sole president of the organisation until November 1996. During this period, the seat of the Association moved to Angers, with the election of John-Richard Lowry, Director of the Conservatoire National de Région d'Angers, as Secretary General. In the period 1996-2000, the AEC was based in the Conservatoire de Paris, with Marc-Olivier Dupin (director Conservatoire de Paris) as Secretary General and Ian Horsbrugh (director Guildhall School of Music and Drama) as President. In 2001, following a decision at the General Assembly during the annual Congress in November 2000 in Vicenza, the AEC Office moved to join other national and international organisations in the field of culture in a cultural centre in Utrecht, The Netherlands. In the new AEC Office a new organisational infrastructure was developed, adding the post of AEC Chief Executive to the already existing post of the AEC administrator. With this new team, the AEC is hoping to respond better to the needs of its members and the sector it represents.
A detailed description of the AEC History from 1953-1988 can be found in a publication written by Claude Viala, which can be ordered from the AEC Office.

The AEC objectives and activities are based on the aims outlined in the AEC Credo, which was endorsed by the AEC members during the AEC General Assembly in Vicenza in November 2000. The AEC Credo contains the following text (in PDF):

  1. Although the primary focus of the Association is on professional music training, the AEC supports the importance of music in all levels of education in our society, ranging from early childhood to higher education and lifelong learning.

  2. The AEC promotes the role of music and therefore music education as an outstanding example of non-verbal communication in the integration of Europe and as a tool for cooperation in an increasingly multi-cultural modern society.

  3. Representing institutions throughout Europe, the AEC acknowledges the national and regional cultural traditions within Europe.

  4. The AEC stands for the strongly individual character of music education, the one-to-one teaching of instrumental and vocal studies being at the core of this education. By stating this, the AEC would like to urge the relevant authorities to acknowledge the financial implications of this particular quality.

  5. The AEC encourages critical thinking about all approaches to learning, teaching and management in institutions for professional music training.

  6. Representing the main body of professional music education on a European level, the AEC stresses the value of the knowledge and expertise of its membership.

  7. The AEC reflects on changes in society and musical professions and provides members with relevant insights and information; the AEC is therefore a constantly forward-looking organisation.

  8. The AEC serves as a platform for the exchange of opinions, experiences, and examples of good practice and for the development of joint projects and initiatives, thus contributing to the enhancement of quality in its member institutions.

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The AEC Council consists of twelve representatives from member institutions in twelve different countries: the Executive Committee (President, Secretary General and two Vice-Presidents) and eight regular Council members.

President:                Johannes Johansson, Director Malmo Academy of MusicVice-Presidents:           Marie-Claude Ségard, Director Conservatoire National de Region de Strasbourg
Rineke Smilde, North Netherlands Conservatoire Groningen

Secretary General:          George Caird, Principal Birmingham Conservatoire

Members:      Erling Aksdal, Director Department of Music, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim Norway
Thüring Bräm, Rektor Musikhochschule Luzern
Dan Buciu, Rector National Academy of Music Bucarest
Peep Lassmann, Rektor Estonian Academy of Music Tallinn
Krystyna Makowska-Lawrynowicz, Vice-Rektor Chopin Academy Warsawa
Wolfgang Meyer, Rektor Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik Karlsruhe
Haris Xanthoudakis, Dean Music Department, Ionian University Corfu
Cristobal Zamora, Director of Studies, Conservatorio Superior de Musica "E. Martinez Torner"

Honorary President:           Ian Horsbrugh, Former Principal Guildhall School of Music and Drama London

The AEC Council meets 3-4 times a year. Particularly important documents are the AEC Annual Report, the AEC 4-year strategic plan and the AEC Statutes. Members can order any of these documents from the AEC Office.

The AEC Office is situated in an office centre specially designed for national and international cultural organisations in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The AEC team currently consists of Martin Prchal, the AEC Chief Executive, Janneke Vrijland, the AEC Project Manager and Christine Masure, the AEC Project Administrator.

AEC President               Johannes JohanssonAEC Chief Executive           Martin PrchalAEC Office Manager          Janneke VrijlandAEC Project Administrator      Christine Masure

The AEC Policy Papers
One of the tasks of the AEC is to draft policy papers in response to important European developments or consultations issued by the European Union, in which the needs and characteristics of the professional music-training sector are explained. Full texts of such policy papers can be downloaded here. The following policy papers have been produced:
Various publications have been made covering the many projects done by the AEC. The AEC Newsletters serves as a yearly overview of the AEC activities and is available for mail order via the AEC Office and/or downloaded in PDF version.
  • 2005

  • 2004

  • 2003

  • 2002

  • 2001

Every year heads of AEC member institutions meet up at an AEC Annual Congress. Aside the congress, another event that also takes on a yearly basis is the Annual Meeting for International Relations Coordinators.

The AEC Annual Congress
On every November, the AEC holds a congress meeting for its members to meet and attend workshops for a couple of days. Taking place in different locations every year enables congress participants to embrace different local cultural values while having the opportunity for discussion of specific themes, the exchange of important amount of information and the elaboration of multiple partnerships (exchanges within the framework of networks, co-productions of concerts and a variety of events, etc.). In addition, the congress is seen as an occasion for informal and convivial encounters within members of the AEC.

The AEC Annual Meeting for International Relations Coordinators
During this meeting, officials from European conservatoires responsible for the international contacts and the participation in European exchange programmes meet to exchange information and discuss future initiatives every year in September.

In congruence with the organization’s activities, specific meetings related to the AEC project framework are also being held regularly, these kinds of meetings can be found underneath the Upcoming events section.

Upcoming events

Annual Congress 2005
The 2005 AEC Annual Congress will take place in the city of Birmingham on 3 – 6 November. Birmingham is a lively and culturally diverse city in the Heart of England, and the AEC is very grateful to the Birmingham Conservatoire for hosting this event. Next to the annual General Assembly for AEC member institutions, this year’s Congress will mainly address topics that will be studied in the framework of a new AEC project called ‘Polifonia’. These will include presentations and discussions on current and future European developments in music education and professional music training. A session on the role of the conservatoire director with speakers from various parts of Europe will also take place. For detailed discussions with all Congress delegates, breakout groups will be included into the program. Printed versions of the registration brochures and additional information will be distributed to all AEC members during the month of June.

Congress brochures and registration forms for the 2005 Congress can be downloaded in PDF and Word-format here (English, French and German versions):

2005 AEC Congress brochure (EN, DE, FR)

2005 AEC Congress registration form (EN, DE, FR)

Previous Annual Congresses
The AEC Annual Congress 2004
Attended by yet another record number of participants (exceeding 250), this year’s AEC Annual Congress took venue at Oviedo in the Spanish region of Asturias, wherein the Conservatorio Superior de Musica ‘E. Martinez Torner’ as the host had done everything with such efficiency and hospitality whom the AEC is very grateful of.
Subjects addressed during the Congress include a project entitled ‘European Forum for Music Education and Training – EFMET’. In relation to the theme of this project, two eminent speakers, Mr Peter Renshaw (arts and music consultant, London) and Mrs Karen Wolff (dean University of Michigan, School of Music and NASM President) were invited to give keynote speeches on the topic ‘Leadership in Music Education’. It was followed by a plenary discussion facilitated by Ian Horsbrugh and continued with a presentation of the EFMET project in general and of the EFMET research on training programmes for music teachers in Europe.

Various parallel workshops were organised with subjects closely connected to the EFMET theme:
  • A workshop on the role of pedagogical courses in the conservatoire curriculum with presentations by representatives of the European Association of Music in Schools (EAS) and the European Music School Union (EMU)

  • The use of new technologies in music teaching was addressed in a workshop on the HARMOS Project of the Fundación Albéniz and a presentation by a professor of the Conservatorio in Oviedo on Organology.

  • The cooperation between conservatoires and youth and community music organisations was discussed in a workshop with presentations of the ExTEND project coordinated by Jeunesses Musicales International with the outcomes of an extensive European research project on music activities of young people up to age 22, and a presentation about the CONNECT project coordinated by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London

  • Representatives from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and the Royal Conservatory The Hague addressed modes of teaching in professional music training in a workshop on current research on 1-to-1 teaching.
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