Shifting Boundaries: Music and Landscape

11 November 2022 | 13:00 - 14:00Kleine Zaal

Situating Contemporary Music Practices

Panel text in Dutch

Contemporary music practice is in a state of flux and is increasingly becoming a hybrid praxis in which music becomes connected to other domains. Not only do musicians, composers and sound artists work beyond the boundaries of their own discipline, their work and research also explicitly relate to social themes such as care, the ecological crisis, inclusivity, or the functioning of modern technology and media. Moreover, contemporary makers are not only active in the concert or music theatre hall, but also enter the public space with performances: from music-borne initiatives in care and educational institutions, to site-specific installations and community-art projects. Artistic research is increasingly the rationale of these hybrid making practices.

The examples mentioned above show a common dynamic in which the boundaries between music, other art disciplines and societal matters become fluid / permeable. Instead of focusing activities exclusively on the musical domain, today’s creators increasingly connect with other locales. This is a fascinating development, which at the same time raises questions: what are the implications of this repositioning of contemporary musical practice? Where does the 21st-century musician find himself in this undistricting playing field? How is contemporary music practice connected to its social environment? Where is music practice on the spectrum between artistic autonomy and instrumentalisation? How does music interact with and within other practices? And what consequences does all this have for concert and festival practice?

During Shifting Boundaries – Situating Contemporary Music Practices, seven Dutch music-related professorships reflect on these questions with various guests. The programme on 11 November comprises four thematic blocks.

Professorships: Music in Context (Hanze), Theory in the Arts (ArtEZ)
Ecological and climatic themes resonate increasingly loudly in contemporary music practice. Composers and musicians often work in site-specific projects in order to connect with the landscape. How can music contribute to a more embodied, relational and reciprocal connection with our environment? What are the methodological implications of working on location? And where does artistic relevance touch on social meaning? Through presentations on stimulating recent projects, we will discuss these questions.


Peppie Wiersma. Peppie Wiersma started playing the piano at an early age. She also got percussion lessons at age 13. In 1980 she won the Prinses Christina concours and got accepted at the Royal Consevatoire. In 1986 she became a member of ASKO|Schönberg and in 1987 she became first timpanist/percussionist at the Radio Chamber Orchestra. Next to her parttime work she is active at home and abroad with Ensemble Modern, The Dutch Bach association, the Freiburger Barockorchester and the Orchestra of the 18th Century.

During 2006 she developed an interest for creating projects and in 2008 she started the festival: The Night of Electra. A multidisciplinary festival that is inspired by the landscape of North Groningen. In 2011 the music collective LUDWIG was created, she took the artistic leadership for this collective.

Nicholas Thayer. Connection is at the centre of Nicholas’ work. Connecting people with places, with stories, with themselves. The fundamental thread that draws together all of his projects, whether for soloists, for ensembles, inter-disciplinary works for dance, for installations, for film or for theatre is ‘creating a meeting place, where together we can ask questions about what it is to be human’. Nicholas Thayer is a London-born, Netherlands-based composer, producer and inter-disciplinary artist, working in the fields of new-classical and electronic music. He completed a masters degree in composition for New Audiences and Innovative Practice at Prins Claus Conservatorium (NL) where he is now also a teacher. He has composed original scores for ballet and contemporary dance pieces.

Joep Christenhusz. Joep Christenhusz (1983) studied musicology at Utrecht University as well as musical theory and composition at the Conservatory of Antwerp. He was a lecturer of music history and analysis at the Dutch ArtEZ University of the Arts for several years and is still a member of their Professorship Theory in the Arts. As a journalist, Joep writes about music for the national daily NRC Handelsblad, feature articles for De Groene Amsterdammer, November Music, VPRO Vrije Geluiden as well as programme notes and other texts for Holland Festival, ntr ZaterdagMatinee, Asko|Schönberg, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Dag in de Branding, and deSingel international arts campus. ArtEZ Press published his essay collection Componisten van Babel (2016) on the work of 10 Dutch and Belgian composers of his own generation.

Peter Sonderen. Dr. Peter Sonderen is professor Theory in the Arts at ArtEZ University of the Arts (NL). His PhD in Art History and Aesthetics (University of Amsterdam 2000) on the origin of the modern idea of art foreshadows the focus of his current research, viz. theory, practice and research in the arts, performativity, ecology and the role of the new materialisms. He edited Denken in Kunst (with Henk Borgdorff, Leiden University Press 2012), The Non-Urban Garden (AFdH 2014), Unpacking Performativity (with Gaby Allard, ArtEZ Press 2016), Theory Arts Practices (with Marijn de Langen, ArtEZ Press 2017). In 2019 he published with João Da Silva the interactive platform, Let’s Talks about (Artistic) Research and The Entanglement of Theory and Practices in the Arts (ArtEZ Press 2019). On the origin of artistic research, he published ‘Hemsterhuis’s Art and Aesthetics: Theories in the Making.’ The Early Writings of Francois Hemsterhuis, 1762-1773. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 1-22.

Shifting Boundaries – Situating Contemporary Music Practices is an initiative of November Music in collaboration with Buma Cultuur (New Music Conference). Over a three-year period (2022-24), seven music-related professorships will present their research results concerning the theme of rapidly shifting boundaries in contemporary music practice. Participating in Shifting Boundaries – Situating Contemporary Music Practices are:

A professorship conducts practice-based research on an academic basis to improve the quality of education.


De hedendaagse-muziekpraktijk is volop in beweging en wordt steeds meer een hybride praxis waarin muziek verbonden raakt met andere domeinen. Niet alleen werken musici, componisten en geluidskunstenaars over de grenzen van de eigen discipline heen, ook verhouden zij zich in hun werk en onderzoek nadrukkelijk tot maatschappelijke thema’s als zorg, de ecologische crisis, inclusiviteit, of de werking van moderne technologie en media. De hedendaagse maker is bovendien niet alleen actief in de concert- of muziektheaterzaal, maar begeeft zich ook met performances in de publieke ruimte: van muziek-gedragen initiatieven in zorg- en onderwijsinstellingen, tot site-specifieke installaties en community-art projecten. Artistiek onderzoek is steeds vaker de rationale van deze hybride maakpraktijken.

Bovenstaande voorbeelden vertonen een gemeenschappelijke dynamiek van ontgrenzing. In plaats van activiteiten uitsluitend te richten op het muzikale domein, verbindt de huidige maker zich in toenemende mate met andere lokaliteiten. Dit is een fascinerende ontwikkeling, die tegelijkertijd vragen oproept: wat zijn de implicaties van deze herpositionering van de hedendaagse muziekpraktijk? Waar bevindt de 21e-eeuwse musicus zich in dit ontgrenzende speelveld? Hoe is de hedendaagse muziekpraktijk verbonden met haar maatschappelijke omgeving? Waar bevindt de muziekpraktijk zich in het spectrum tussen artistieke autonomie en instrumentalisering? Hoe werkt muziek samen met en in andere praktijken? En welke consequenties heeft dit voor de concert- en festivalpraktijk? Tijdens Shifting Boundaries – Situating Contemporary Music Practices reflecteren zeven Nederlandse muzieklectoraten met diverse gasten op deze vragen. Het programma op 11 november omvat vier thematische blokken.

Lectoraten: Music in Context (Hanze), Theorie in de Kunsten (ArtEZ)
Ecologische en klimatologische thema’s resoneren steeds luider in de hedendaagse muziekpraktijk. Componisten en musici werken dikwijls in site-specifieke projecten, om zo in contact te treden met het landschap. Hoe kan muziek bijdragen aan een meer belichaamde, relationele en wederkerige connectie met onze omgeving? Welke methodologische consequenties kleven er aan het werken op locatie? En waar raakt artistieke relevantie aan sociale betekenis? Aan de hand van presentaties over prikkelende recente projecten gaan we in gesprek over deze vragen.