Martin Prchal (1967) was born in Prague and grew up in The Netherlands following the move of his family there in 1968.
After starting cello lessons with his father, he pursued professional music studies in the US (with cellists Frantisek Smetana and Orlando Cole), Czechoslovakia (with Milos Sadlo), the UK (with William Pleeth) and the Netherlands (with Elias Arizcuren), where he obtained his teaching and performance diplomas.
He also holds a MA degree in musicology from Utrecht University. Following a career as a performing musician touring extensively with various ensembles such as the EU Chamber Orchestra and the Salzburg Chamber Soloists, he fulfilled several assignments in the fields of international relations and pre-college training at the conservatoires of Utrecht, Groningen and The Hague. At the Utrecht Conservatory, he founded and coordinated the ERASMUS InterUniversity Co-operation Programme ‘Polyphonia’ in 1992, a network of conservatoires that implemented one of the first ERASMUS student and teacher exchanges in the field of music and various curriculum development programmes at European level.
In 2001, he was appointed as the first Chief Executive of the European Association of Conservatoires (AEC), a post he held until 2011. During his time with the AEC, several large European cooperation projects were realised (e.g. the ERASMUS Network for Music ‘Polifonia’, ‘Mundus Musicalis’, ‘DoReMiFaSOCRATES’ and ‘Accreditation in European Professional Music Training’) that developed various tools to support and promote European and international cooperation in the conservatoire sector. These tools include handbooks on curriculum development and international exchange, a subject-specific European Qualification Framework and a European-level subject-specific system to external quality assurance and accreditation in the field of music.
In the field of quality assurance in higher education, Martin has served on the boards of the Flemish and Swiss accreditation agencies, has participated as an expert in review and accreditation visits in various countries worldwide, and has until recently been the chair of the board of MusiQuE – Music Quality Enhancement, a European-level organisation for evaluation and accreditation in higher music education based in Brussels, which is executing reviews and accreditations all over the world.
Since 2011, Martin is vice-principal at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, where he oversees curriculum development, quality assurance, research, curricular innovation and international affairs.
He is a frequent author of articles on higher music education, internationalisation and quality assurance in various international journals and publications.
Since 2020, Martin is also vice-president of the European Chamber Music Academy (ECMA).