A brief historical overview of the AEC

At its inception in 1953, the Association's goal was to develop relations between institutions of higher education in music throughout Europe and, more specifically, to develop relations with countries behind the Iron Curtain, from the Atlantic to the Urals. Its permanent seat was at the time located 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, then Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK, became the sole President until November 1996. During this period, the seat of the Association moved to Angers, France, with the election of John-Richard Lowry, Director of the Conservatoire National de Région d'Angers, as Secretary General. Then, 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, London) as President.

In 2001, following a decision approved by 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 located in Utrecht, The Netherlands. In the new AEC Office, a new organisational infrastructure was developed, adding a new post of AEC Chief Executive to the already existing AEC administrator. During the 2000 General Assembly, Johannes Johansson (Director Malmö Academy of Music) also succeeded Marc-Olivier Dupin in the post of Secretary General. President Ian Horsbrugh ended his term at the Oviedo Congress in 2004 and was given the title of 'AEC Honorary President'. He was succeeded by Johannes Johansson, while George Caird (Principal, Birmingham Conservatoire, UK) became the new Secretary General.

Both Johannes Johansson and George Caird completed their second terms of office in 2010. At the General Assembly of that year in Warsaw, they were awarded the titles of 'Honorary President' and 'Honorary Secretary General' respectively.  At the same General Assembly, current AEC President Pascale De Groote and AEC Secretary General Joerg Linowitski were elected.

At the 2011 General Assembly in St. Petersburg, approval was given for the re-location of the AEC Office to its current address in Brussels.

Two publications have been produced on the AEC and its history:

  • A detailed description of the AEC History from 1953-1988 can be found in a publication written by former AEC Secretary General, Claude Viala, which can be ordered in printed format from the AEC Office in English and French versions.
  • The 'AEC 50th Anniversary Publication' published in 2003 to celebrate this important milestone of the Association, which can be downloaded here as a PDF-file in English, French and German versions. This publication, which has been supported by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), contains articles on the history of the AEC, as well as reflections on the future of professional music training and the role of the AEC.
AEC 50th Anniversary Publication in English
 AEC 50th Anniversary Publication in Francais
AEC 50th Anniversary Publication in Deutsch