Music schools’ future social missions and how these should be fulfilled were the most important issues pondered at the first European Music School Symposium, which took place at the mdw on 6 and 7 October and saw around 150 experts from 25 countries take part in the inauguration of a new academic field.

European Music School Symposium
©Elisabeth Deutsch

Researchers from 20 European countries presented findings and case studies relating to themes such as equal access, social impact, collaborations with schools, and a professional profile for teachers. Dialogue between research and practice, which was one major objective of this event, was successfully initiated in the context of various formats. This symposium was organised by the mdw’s Department of Cultural Management and Gender Studies in cooperation with the European Music School Union (EMU) and the Conference of Austrian Music School Associations (KOMU).

As part of this symposium, a German-language panel discussion entitled “Musikschulen in Österreich” [Music Schools in Austria] was held on 7 Oct. that saw discussion of current and future challenges by a group of distinguished experts. It was moderated by Michaela Hahn, who had joined forces with Sandra Stini to conceive and run the symposium.

In her statement, Rector Ulrike Sych emphasised the qualities and focuses of the various institutions: “In Austria, music schools have now become a means of complimenting the basic music education offered by public schools. And particularly for nurturing musical talent in small children, their teachers’ specialised expertise is essential.” She therefore appealed to representatives of the Austrian federal state to engage in topical discussion with non-school experts, as well, in order to develop a good framework for music education in Austria.

The panel and audience included further distinguished experts such as mdw vice rector Barbara Gisler-Haase and senate chair Johannes Meissl, Vienna Philharmonic member Wolfgang Strasser, educult general manager Michael Wimmer, Peter Röbke, and Austrian Music Council president Harald Huber, as well as numerous representatives of the provincial-level music school associations.

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