Date: 09 - 11 November 2017
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44th AEC Annual Congress and General Assembly 
9 - 11 November 2017

Academy of Music, University of Zagreb
Leadership in the Arts - the Arts of Leadership

The motto of this year's AEC congress might seem like a simple play on words, but a second glance reveals a deeper meaning. The arts nourish imagination and inspiration. To question habits and daring to cross borders is part of their raison d'etre. Leadership, on the other hand, is a concept which we tend to associate with rules and regulations, reeking of loyalty and obedience and which does not at all seem to fit into the idea of the freedom of the arts.

The arts do not exist in isolation. They are part of society, a society which, in the best case, is positively impacted by the contribution of the arts towards society's continued evolution. And, the opposite is also true that the arts depend on a societal climate of esteem and appreciation which recognizes and values all of their aspects: art production, as the subject of an aesthetic education and as the object of a self-developed participation in culture as part of one’s human rights.

Art and culture are also important bearers of identity. Especially in times of political uncertainty, in times when the European idea might be questioned by new nationalisms and populist slogans, it is worth highlighting the importance of art and culture and that of artistic and cultural education for democracy and self-developement. The motto of this year's congress is also intended as AEC's contribution to that public debate.

The AEC Congress 2017 deals with the subject of "Leadership in the Arts - the Arts of Leadership" in various aspects, but it will in the core always be about the relationship between freedom and governance, the tension between top-down and bottom-up. Of course, at an event whose target audience are, to a large extent, the leaders and representatives of Higher Music Education Institutions, the focus will be on how to chair a Music HEI. This includes the crucial question whether a good director is characterized as such by the fact that he or she has outstanding artistic skills and competences, or whether administrative, political, economic and legal know-how are more important to be a successful leader.

The issue of leadership in the arts, however, arises in quite diverse contexts. How to organize playing together in an ensemble? What does leadership mean when performing with in a string quartet or a jazz combo? How to lead students as a a teacher? How can a study program enable future musicians to carry out leadership tasks that will be required of them? Or, more generally, what is the balance between intrinsic and extrinsic development in art, what kind of hierarchies do the arts need and are the arts able to withstand?
Beyond the specific congress motto, however, the 2017 congress will also give the opportunity to discuss some burning questions and the issues of diversity, identity and inclusion that were raised at the last congress, will still be on the agenda.
You are warmly invited to join us in Zagreb on the AEC journey to explore the role of the modern Music HEI in our society.

9-11 November 2017
Academy of Music, University of Zagreb
“Leadership in the Arts, the Arts of Leadership”


Pre-Congress Programme

Wednesday 8th November

16:00 – 21:00 Pre-Congress Workshop  - MusiQuE 

Workshop and training for Peer-Reviewers organized by MusiQuE - Music Quality Enhancement (the Foundation for Quality Enhancement and Accreditation in Higher Music Education) - please click HERE for the detailed programme)

Dinner for Participants

Thursday 9th November

9:00 – 13:00 Continuation of the Pre-Congress Workshop - MusiQuE

Workshop and training for Peer-Reviewers organized by MusiQuE - Music Quality Enhancement (please click HERE for the detailed programme)

10:00 – 14:00  Pre-Congress Workshop on Chamber Music

Chamber Music in Higher Music Education Institutions by the European Chamber Music Academy Project (ECMA Next Step Strategic Partnership) - please find a detailed description HERE
• Learning and teaching chamber music
• Assessment of chamber music
• ECMA Next Step Strategic Partnership – orientation and preliminary results
• Discussions: Chamber Music in European Higher Music Education Institutions

Lunch for Participants

13:00 – 15:00 AEC Council Meeting [for AEC Council members only]


14:15 – 16:15 Pre-Congress Workshop on Learning Outcomes

English only
Working with the AEC Learning Outcomes 2017: from theory to practice (please click HERE for a detailed description)


Congress Programme


Thursday 9th November


13:45 Registration starts –  Foyer of the Academy

Coffee and Refreshments available i
Optional Guided Tour

14:00 – 16:00 Welcome to Students – for students delegates with the AEC Students working group and members of the Congress Committee


15:15 – 16:15 Welcome to Newcomers with members of AEC Council and AEC Office Team


16:30 – 17:20 Opening Event - Academy Concert Hall 

Music Performance
Words of welcome by:
  • Dalibor Cikojević, Dean of the Academy of Music
  • Major of Zagreb
  • Eirik  Birkeland, President of the AEC
  • Greetings from the National Association of Schools of Music USA (NASM) by Sue Haug, President of the NASM

17:20 – 17:50 Plenary Session I - Academy Concert Hall

Keynote Speech by Ivo Josipović, former President of Croatia and former student and teacher of the Academy of Music

17:50 – 19:00 Opening Brainstorming on topics proposed by participants

Introduction by Stefan Gies, AEC Chief Executive

19:15 – 20:00  Concert in the Academy Concert Hall


20:30 - 22:30 Welcome Dinner at Hotel Westin


Friday 10 November


9:00 Optional Guided Tour,  meeting point:  Academy Foyer

9:00 Registration continues – Networking with coffee available at the National Theatre

09:30 – 10:15 Plenary Session II - National Theatre

Introduction to the Day by Eirik Birkeland, AEC President
Keynote Speech by Thomas Meier – President of the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA) and Zurich University of the Arts


10:30 – 11:30 Parallel Sessions I

  1. Presentation by the Project ECMA – European Chamber Music Academy (including a performance of Mettis-String-Quartet, Vilnius, LT) – presented by Johannes Meissl, Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien (AU) – first part​

  2. ​Audience Engagement by Evert Bischopp Boele, Prins Claus Conservatorium, Groningen (NL)

  3. Working Together to Create the Leaders of the Future, by the AEC Students Working Group

  4. Leadership in Orchestras – Findings and Reflections by Sabine Börner , University of Konstanz (CH)

  5. Music Teaching in Croatian Compulsory Schools, by Sabina Vidulin EAS representative from the Academy of Music in Pula, Nikolina Matoš and Ana Čorić from the Academy of music Zagreb

11:30 – 12:00 Informal Networking with Refreshments

12:00 – 13:00  Parallel Sessions II

  1. Continuation of the ECMA session and presentation on the  Platform for Learning and Teaching by Jon Helge Sætre, Norwegian Academy of Music (NO), The Mettis String Quartet, Vilnius (LT) Johannes Meissl, Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien (AU), Morten Carlsen, Norwegian Academy of Music (NO) and Tim Frederiksen Royal Danish  Academy of Music, Copenhagen 

  2. Leadership and Entrepreneurship by Jamal Rossi, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester (US) and Robert Cuttieta, Thornton School of Music University of Southern California, Los Angeles (US)

  3. Pop, Jazz, World and Folk/traditional Music, moderated by Stefan Gies

  4. Exploring the tension between specialist music and management skills in high-performing conservatoire leadership, panel discussion moderated by Georg Schulz

  5. Top-Down vs Bottom Up in Strategic Processes

13:00 – 14:30 Networking Lunch

14:30 – 15:30 Parallel Sessions III = repetition of some selected parallel sessions

15:45 – 16:45 Plenary Session III in National Theatre

Snapshots on:
  1. The revised AEC Learning Outcomes

  2. EASY – the new AEC’s European Online Application System for Exchanges (Erasmus and Nordplus) in Higher Music Education

  3. MusiQuE – Music Quality Enhancement

16:45 – 17:15 Informal Networking with Refreshments

17:15 – 18:30 Regional Meetings with Council Members

18:30 – 19:00 Wrap up Speech by the EU representative Bogdan Zdrojewski, Member of the Culture and Education Committee of the European Parliament (CULT) (National Theatre)

Free Evening, please see the List of Restaurants

Saturday 11 November


9:30 – 9:45 Plenary Session IV: Presentation of the Student WG Handbook: How to increase Students voice in HME institutions

10:00 – 11:00 Discussion groups on the following 3 topics – groups organized by mixing AEC regional groups

  1. The transition from a vocational school to a Higher Music Education Institution

  2. Autonomy of an institution, what does that mean?

  3. How to recruit future students?

11:00 – 11:30 Networking with Refreshments

11:30  – 13:00 Information Forum - Academy Concert Hall and Foyer

Plenary presentations by AEC Member institutions followed by Q&A with the speakers in the form of “market place”

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch 

14:00 – 15:00 Registration for the AEC General Assembly - National Theatre

All active members need to sign up to get their voting form

15:00 – 16:30 AEC General Assembly 2017 - National Theatre

16:30 – 17:00 Networking with Refreshments


17:00– 17:30 Closing Session - National Theatre

  • Announcement of the elections result
  • Announcement of the venue for the AEC Congress and General Assembly 2018
  • Closing Remarks

19:00 – 20:00 Concert at the National Theatre

20:00 Dinner at the National Theatre


Networking Programme


Sunday 12th November

Excursion to Hrvatsko Zagorje- Krapina, Trski Vrh, wine tasting,
9:00 – 17:00 (detailed programme HERE)

Please fill in the AEC Congress Online Registration Form

please note that registration is compulsory to attend the meeting.

Early bird deadline: 9th October 2017

you will receive more information about the Congress 2017 to the e-mail address you provide in the form one week before the event. 

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Registration Form AEC Annual Congress and General Assembly 2017, 9-11 November, Zagreb

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Information fee payment AEC Annual Congress 2017

Early Bird Deadline: 9 October 2017

Participation fees can be paid in the following ways:

-  Manual Payment by Bank Transfer before the event (preferable)
-  Ideal, Credit Card, Paypal and Bankcontact Systems Online (+3 euro)
-  Manual Payment (cash on the spot in Zagreb)
-  Manual Payment (by Credit Card in Zagreb)


For more information and invoice request please mail the AEC Events Manager Sara Primiterra at


Participation Fees Amounts - AEC Congress 2017


Category If the payment is made before October 9th If the payment is made after October 9th
Representative of AEC member institution €200 (+ €70 if attending the MusiQuE pre-Congress workshop) €300 (+ €70 if attending a MusiQuE pre-Congress workshop)
Student from an AEC member institution €150 €210
Representative of non-member institutions €400 €500


The participation fee includes:

  • Conference documents
  • Participation to all plenary and parallel session
  • Participation to the networking moments
  • Possibility to display information brochures posters and materials about AEC members institutions
  • Coffee Breaks
  • Two organized Dinners (Thursday 9 and Saturday 11)
  • Two organized Lunches (Friday 10 and Saturday 11)
  • Concerts organized by the hosting institution
  • Assistance by the AEC Office Staff

NB:The rates do not include the participation fee to the Networking Activiy on Sunday (55 euros) and the participation fee of accompanying partners which can be paid in the tab Hotel and Services
The participation fee will not be reimbursed for cancellations notified after October 9th.

Bank details for payments

BNP Paribas Fortis
Account Holder AEC-Music
IBAN: BE47 0016 8894 2980

When making the transfer, please clearly quote:
Invoice number 

· the code of the event (Congress 2017)
· the last name of the participant
· the name of your institution (if fitting)

Example: Congress2017, Smith, Gotham Conservatory

Hotel and Services Online Reservation

In order to reserve your hotel, as well as the Sunday Excursion and meals for accompanying partners, please fill in the form at

for more information about the Hotels (prices, distance,description), please see the Hotel Information documents in EN FR DE and IT in the tab Documents

If the online reservation form does not work out for you you can fill in manually the Booking Form you find in the Documents tab



Go to: documents


Practical information

Programme and Reader

Guidelines for elections

General Assembly

Invitation Letters