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contemporary music

The Advanced Master of Contemporary Music programme at the Royal Conservatory focuses on music from after 1950, with an increasing emphasis on the 21st century. You specialize in the conception, creation and performance of contemporary music, whether or not in combination with other disciplines, such as dance, media and/or installation art, both as a soloist and in ensembles. This means that you can compose and create personal projects, but you are also part of GAME, the Ghent Contemporary Music Ensemble, together with your fellow graduate students. To this end, you play an active role in the conceptual phase, up to and including the various final performances. You will be coached in this process by two established contemporary music ensembles: ICTUS and SPECTRA.

Both your own personal projects and GAME productions find public podia on a regular basis, inside as well as outside the school walls. Through workshops and lectures, you come into contact with international experts and exchange ideas with your contemporaries from various disciplines: musicians, composers, choreographers, theatre makers, visual and media artists. There is also regular collaboration with the Research Studios of PARTS, the Brussels dance school founded and run by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.

Artistic practice forms the main part of the study programme. It consists of three parts. Firstly, there is your master project, the project with which you apply for and enter the programme. You give this project tangible and definite form during the study programme. You are coached in this process by means of individual coaching tailored to the specific project. It leads to a juried concert at the MIRY Concert Hall, a fully-fledged public concert in the second year of your study.

The second part are the GAME performances, in which you participate in productions by the ensemble. During five group sessions each year, all students of the programme come together and receive feedback on their work from a mixed group of musicians from the ICTUS and SPECTRA ensembles. These sessions comprise the third artistic practice component of your study programme. These are complemented with annual, alternating performances with ICTUS and SPECTRA.
In addition to practice, the programme offers a number of theoretical, framework components. Here, you acquire knowledge of music analysis, music theatre, live electronics, video and performance, always in relation to contemporary music. This knowledge feeds your own practice, creates new possibilities and inspiration.

In the first year, the Reflection and Research course introduces you to research practices in the field of contemporary music. You follow an interdisciplinary graduate course taught by researchers from other departments (e.g. fine arts) within KASK & Conservatorium or elsewhere, for example at the Orpheus Institute (centre for artistic research in music) in Ghent. You conclude the programme with a concert and a written thesis, an essay linked to the content of your thesis concert.

Admission requirements

You need to hold a master’s degree in music (performing music or composition) and, after participating in the orientation test, receive a positive advisory from the orientation committee. This consists of two parts: an audition and an interview about your motivation and your (written) proposal for your master’s project. The orientation test takes place on campus or online, depending on the current situation. The orientation committee is made up of one or more members of the music teaching staff with specialization in contemporary music, an external jury member, a representative of ICTUS and a representative of SPECTRA, the coordinator of the Master of Contemporary Music and a chairman of the committee. Candidates may apply on an individual basis or as an ensemble. When applying as an ensemble, the various members of the ensemble must register individually for the programme.

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