Experimentation versus Interpretation. Exploring New Paths in Music Performance in the Twenty-First Century

Paulo de Assis, Michael Schwab, Lucia D'Errico, Paolo Giudici, Juan Parra Cancino, Heloisa Amaral, Jan Michiels


2013 - 2018

Principal Investigator: Paulo de Assis

MusicExperiment21 [ME21] has been a five-year artistic research programme (2013-2018) funded by the European Research Council and based at the Orpheus Institute Ghent. It utilizes notions of ‘experimentation’ to challenge orthodox performance practices and to highlight the epistemic potential of performances. It brings together diverse artistic, performative, historical, methodological, epistemological, and philosophical approaches that contribute to a new experimental attitude and discourse, crucially moving from ‘interpretation' towards ‘experimentation'. This word is not used in relation to measurable quantifiable phenomena, but rather to an ‘attitude', a willingness to constantly reshape thoughts and practices, to operate new redistributions of the sensible, affording unpredictable reconfigurations of music, art, and societal practices.

ME21 is generating new modes of music performance and exposition of  artistic research in music. By integrating into performance materials that go beyond the score (sketches, texts, concepts, images, and videos), it offers a broader contextualisation of works within a transdisciplinary horizon. Significantly ME21 is advancing a 'new image of work', one that takes into account the genesis of the works, their changes throughout time, and its future potentialities. Accordingly, the research programme has a transdisciplinary structure, with specific research foci on music performance, composition, musicology, philosophy and epistemology. Their interaction generates a network of aesthetic-epistemic references emerging not only at different professional stages (including doctoral and post-doctoral researchers), but also in the context of leading international projects and ensembles (such as the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, the Hermes Ensemble and the Ensemble Interface).

ME21 core researchers are Dr. Paulo de Assis (Principal Investigator), Dr. Michael Schwab, Dr. Juan Parra Cancino, Lucia D'Errico (docARTES), Heloísa Amaral (docARTES), Paolo Giudici (Royal College of Arts, London), and Dr. Jan Michiels (Royal Conservatory, Brussels).

Presentations by Paulo de Assis, Lucia D'Errico and Juan Parra Cancino at the European Research Music Conference 2018 in Barcelona.

With support from

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement n° 313419. 

  • Erc