Who we are

Classical music institutions are faced with challenges. The quality of the performed repertoire tends to be high, but concert attendance is stagnating, audiences are aging, the musical landscape is increasingly hybrid and government subsidies are decreasing. Because of this, the need for innovating the practices of classical music culture has been generally acknowledged. Maastricht University (UM), philharmonie zuidnederland and Zuyd University for Applied Sciences (Zuyd) aspire to support this innovation through the establishment of the Maastricht Centre for the Innovation of Classical Music (MCICM).

The centre aims to study the dynamics behind changing classical music practices and their societal contexts and to actively shape classical music futures. To do so, the MCICM will combine academic research on innovation of performance practices with artistic research to renew classical music practices and music education in artistically relevant ways.

Programme Committee

  • Prof Peter Peters, Director Maastricht Centre for the Innovation of Classical Music, Maastricht University.
  • Dr Stefan Rosu, Intendant philharmonie zuidnederland.
  • Dr Ruth Benschop, Professor at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Research Centre Autonomy of the Arts and the Public Sphere.
  • Mette Laugs, Head of Programme Classical 1, Conservatorium Maastricht
  • Dr Neil T. Smith, Postdoctoral researcher, Maastricht University.
  • Karoly Molina, MA, Research assistant, Maastricht University.

The Maastricht Centre for the Innovation of Classical Music (MCICM) aims to study the dynamics of changing classical music practices and their societal contexts, and to actively shape classical music futures. The centre is a collaboration between philharmonie zuidnederland, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, and Maastricht University. We combine academic research on innovation of performance practices with artistic research to renew classical music practices and music education in artistically relevant ways.


The research effort of the MCICM takes place at the intersection of science, music practices, classical music education and society. Research projects are aimed at the innovation of:

  1. The role of classical music and its value for society;
  2. The ways in which the relationship between performers of classical music, such as symphony orchestras and their audience is mediated;
  3. The ways in which classical music contributes to the preservation of our cultural and social heritage.

The structural collaboration between academics, artistic researchers, art students and professional and amateur orchestra musicians around these questions is entirely unique. The centre also hosts an international advisory board and a sounding board that brings together academic and applied researchers, musicians and interested regional stakeholders.

MCICM is an initiative of Stefan Rosu, intendant and director of the philharmonie zuidnederland. He sought the cooperation of Maastricht University and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences with the aim of establishing a centre for academic and applied artistic research, to be incorporated into the three participating organisations.

MCICM Research lines

The MCICM will function, first, as a knowledge centre and source for interdisciplinary research and, second, as a laboratory for experiments and practical input for the classical music sector. The Centre will design experiments involving existing music practices that will lead to social innovation and new business models, while it will also develop (Eu)regional and international consortia and collaborative partnerships with other institutions. Moreover, it will serve as a switchboard between relevant research networks within Maastricht University and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, specifically the Maastricht Conservatory and the Centre for Arts, Autonomy and Public Sphere (Lectoraat Autonomie en Openbaarheid van de Kunsten), which are part of the Zuyd Faculty of Arts.

Interdisciplinary research at the interface of art, knowledge, and society
MCICM will conduct interdisciplinary research on such themes as cultural participation, the influence of digital technologies on symphonies and the co-occurrence of preservation and application of sounding heritage. In this way, the centre will contribute to two research programmes within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences that focus on the role of science and technology in social innovations and on the significance of art, literature and media in cultural reproduction processes. In addition, the new centre will also contribute to research on art and heritage conducted at the interfaculty Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH).

Philharmonie zuidnederland as a laboratory
Philharmonie zuidnederland serves as a symphonic laboratory for MCICM. The orchestra will appoint a working group consisting of musicians and staff members to support MCICM. The orchestra will also produce and implement the projects that arise from the MCICM collaboration. All of the orchestra’s talents and resources are available for use. The goal, according to Stefan Rosu, is ‘to make open innovation possible and develop new business models for the symphony in collaboration with researchers.’

Innovative research workshops for art education
The practical experiments in this symphonic laboratory will be carried out by researchers, lecturers, students, musicians and citizens. Bachelor’s and master’s students, particularly those from the classical music department at the Maastricht Conservatory, will participate in innovative experiments that focus on the exploration of different forms of audience participation and experience. The Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy and Public Sphere (AOK) has been using this educational approach since 2012 and refers to it as ‘researchstudios’. With the help of MCICM, the Faculty of Arts is thus reinforcing the close connection between practical research and education centred on two core themes of the Research Centre AOK: the relationship between art and society and the development of the practice of artistic research.

Regional relevance
MCICM is significant for the future of the southern Netherlands. The Euregional collaboration and opportunities for language development and creativity will help to attract students, creative entrepreneurs and knowledge workers to the region. MCICM will play a facilitating role in this by innovating cultural participation and experimenting with new forms of inclusivity. Makers will have the opportunity to develop their skills and try out new forms of entrepreneurship. Over the next ten years, the institute will develop into a knowledge centre for innovative symphonic music at the European level. MCICMs innovative ideas will enrich cultural life and become indispensable to the quality of life in the thriving province of Limburg.

International database for innovative initiatives
The MCICM collects and disseminates knowledge and information about classical music cultures. It does so by making up an inventory of relevant academic research as well as relevant practical experiments with new concert formats. This inventory will have the form of an international database for innovative initiatives and an international network of partner institutes.