Speakers at the European Forum on Music 2018

This year's edition of the European Forum on Music has seen some extraordinary personalities that shared their knowledge with us and inspired us!

Frida Blomgren

Ms Blomgren was appointed as State Secretary to Minister of Culture Trine Skei Grande by the King in Council on 16 February 2018. Blomgren was first appointed as a political adviser to the Minister of Culture on 17 January 2018.

Marianne Borgen

The Mayor of Oslo is Head of the City Council and the highest-ranking representative of the city. Mrs. Marianne Borgen was elected Mayor by the City Council on October 21 in 2015.
She has a degree in sociology from the University of Oslo with specialization in social policies and medical sociology. She has worked with children’s rights on both a national and international level for more than 25 years. She is currently on leave from her position as Head of Department at Save the Children, Norway.
Mayor Marianne Borgen wants Oslo to be a city that is inclusive and a good place to grow up for all children.

Ferdinand Richard

Ferdinand Richard has been the founder/director of A.M.I. association (1985 to 2017) based in Marseille. As a local cultural development platform, this originaly music-dedicated organisation proposes numerous training workshops, artists residences, festivals, a cultural micro-businesses incubator, etc... and has initiated and led a consistent international cooperation program (Africa, Arab World, Russia, Asia, Latin America).

FR is a founder-member of La Friche Belle-de-Mai, Marseille, France, since 1992, and has been its deputy-director for 8 years, under the presidence of the architect Jean Nouvel.

Since 2009, he is the current president of The Roberto Cimetta Fund, dedicated to artists and cultural activists mobility in the Euro-Arab-Middle East relationship, and since 2017 he is the founder-president of Global Grand Central, an international and interactive digital platform dedicated to presenting artists works and processes.

Since 2018, he is expert for Mobility First!, the Asia Europe Foundation program dedicated to the artists and cultural professionals mobility between Europe and Asia.

From 2010 to 2015, he was the first coordinator of the International Fund for Cultural Diversity/UNESCO experts panel.

Katarina Barruk

Katarina Barruk has established herself as a well-known and much appreciated artist within the Sami community in the Nordic countries. She writes her own texts in Umesaami and composes music influenced by jazz and pop, but always with the Sami elements present. Katarina has worked together with the arranger and producer Frode Fjellheim and published her first album Báruos in 2015, which she describes as unhidden, open, apparent. Katarina works with her music both at home by the piano as well as together with her band, and is touring both in the Nordic countries and internationally.

Katarina lives in Ubmeje (Umeå) and is one of the few persons who speak Umesaami fluent. In 2012 she was awarded Young Sami Artist of the Year at the festival Riddu Riđđu.

Barbara Gessler

Born in Belgium in 1964 with German nationality, she lived and studied in Konstanz, Paris, Buenos Aires and later Bruges. Worked in the European Parliament for an MEP before joining the European Commission in 1994. Started in the Directorate General's Unit for Audiovisual Policy, then changed to Environment in 1996. From 1998 until 2003 she worked at the representation of the European Commission in Berlin. During her year of personal leave 2003-2004, she advised the umbrella organisation of German cultural organisations Deutscher Kulturrat on European affairs. She then became Head of the Regional Representation of the Commission in Bonn. In 2009, she returned to Brussels as Head of the Press Unit of the European Economic and Social Committee. From mid-2011 until 2016, she ran the Culture Unit at the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency which implements the EU's funding programmes in these areas. Since 2017 she is responsible for the culture sub-programme at Directorate General Education, Youth, Sport and Culture.

Sina Winter

An underground black metal musician from Tehran, was in 2013 invited to the Norwegian Inferno festival. The black metal genre is illegal in Iran, so his live performance with Norwegian musicians at Inferno was his first live performance ever. In 2014 he returned to Norway as the first SafeMUSE residence artist, hosted by the film company Gammaglimt (now Upnorth Film). He has since lived and worked in Norway.

From the Vastland started as a one-man band in 2010. His music is "old school black metal" with a hint of oriental influences.

Since his arrival in Norway Sina has released two albums and one EP. He was nominated for the Metal Hammer's “Global Metal Award” in 2014. He is one of the main characters in the acclaimed documentary Blackhearts (2016), presented at a wide range of festivals and screenings around the world.

From the Vastland consists of Sina Winter (vocal/guitar), Kevin Kvåle (drums), Thor Anders Myhren (guitar – session/ live musician) and Andre Kvebek (bass).

Jan Lothe Erikson

A former musician and cellist of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, vice president of the Norwegian Musicians' Union, administrative director of the Norwegian Traditional Music and Dance Association/ Norwegian Traditional Music Agency, and initiator and first director of Riksscenen, national venue for traditional music and dance (Norway). Jan initiated SafeMUSE together with the Norwegian Musicians' Union in 2011 in close cooperation with Freemuse, serves today as SafeMUSE Project Manager. He has for a period in recent years also been working as a cellist with the Sami artist Torgeir Vassvik.

Sara Whyatt

Sara Whyatt is a campaigner and researcher on freedom of artistic expression and human rights, notably as director of PEN International ‘s freedom of expression program for over 20 years and previously  as a coordinator in Amnesty International’s Asia Research Department. At PEN she worked with its global membership of mobilising its campaigns for writers at risk as well as on thematic issues.  In 2013 she took up freelance consultancy, working on projects including for Arts, Rights, Justice Europe/ Culture Action Europe for whom she is an advisor. She has also worked on projects including for Freemuse, PEN, and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange.  She is the author of the chapter on freedom of artistic expression for UNESCO’s 2018 Global Report on the Convention on the Diversity of Culture.

Srirak Plipat

Dr Srirak Plipat is the Excutive Director of Freemuse, the World’s leading organization defending freedom of opinion and expression through art and music. He devises a comprehensive approach to defend and protect human rights defenders, artists and musicians at risk through research, policy, and advocacy, working in partnership with local and international partners.

Previously Dr Plipat was director for Asia Pacific at Transparency International (TI), where he manages TI’s strategy, research, and advocacy programmes on transparency and accountability governance. He aligned and drove global and regional work, prioritising strengthening legal frameworks and rule of law, protecting civil society space, strengthening social accountability and people empowerment. As director of the International Mobilisation Programme at Amnesty International (AI) in London, Dr Plipat was responsible for of AI’s global mobilisation strategy, global human rights activist coordination, people engagement, youth activism, and AI operations and regional projects in over 15 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. Dr Plipat advocated for a regional human rights protection in Asia as he served as a member of the Working Group for the Establishment of the ASEAN Human Rights Mechanisms and a member of the Sub-Committee for Human Rights Protection of the Thailand National Human Rights Commission. He co-founded the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) Network in Thailand during his service as Executive Director of Amnesty International in Thailand.  He developed AI global strategies to hold companies and international financial institutions accountable, serving as a member of the International Steering Committee of AI’s Business and Economic Relations Network. Dr Plipat worked as a consultant for the World Bank Institute’s Civic Association Outreach and Training Programme in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

Beatrice Gabor

Beatrice Gabor, communication practitioner, co-founded MAINOI, a Romanian NGO active in environmental protection, alternative education and cultural promotion to encourage people to manifest their authenticity and empower them to become agents of change for sustainable development. 
Pioneering green events management in Romania, since 2014, Beatrice manages the sustainability programme at Electric Castle Music Festival, shortlisted in 2016 and 2017 for the European Green Operations Award, and in 2015 winner of the runner-up position in the EE Music Star Festival at the Energy Efficiency Music Awards in Barcelona.
Through the Music Drives Change campaign, Beatrice engages with artists to raise awareness on the powerful role of music in shaping behaviours. World-class artists, among which Trentemøller, Alt-J, Asian Dub Foundation, The Cat Empire, Nightmares on Wax, Dub Pistols, The Subways, have already endorsed calls-to-action for sustainability. 

Peder Karlsson

Peder Karlsson studied classical composition, arranging and guitar at The Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, from 1984, and graduated in 1989 with a post-graduate Diploma in vocal group performance. As a member of the Swedish a cappella group The Real Group between 1984-2010, Peder made over 2000 concerts all over the world and 16 CDs. Between 2011-2014, Peder served as Musical Director for the XXL vocal group Perpetuum Jazzile, Slovenia. Since January 2015, Peder teaches Artistic Leadership in rhythmic choir music at Royal Academy of Music in Aalborg, Denmark, since January 2016 with the title ”Honorary Professor”.  Since March 2017, Peder serves as the chairman of the non-profit organization End Ecocide Sweden.

Bård Vegar Solhjell

Bård Vegar Solhjell is the chairman of the board of the Norwegian Music Council, a position he has held since May 2017.
He was recently appointed CEO of WWF Norway. Until the last general election he was an MP, and also twice a Government Minister; Minister of Education, and later Minister of Environment.

Linneá Svensson

Linnéa Elisabeth Svensson is a sustainability events consultant and producer based in Oslo - soon to be the European Green Capital. 

She runs her own business which offers sustainability consultancy and certifications as well as event production. Projects in 2018 include amongst others;  head of conference and sustainability for by: Larm, environmental advisor for Bislett Alliance / Diamond League Bislett Games and project management of the urban development conference Oslo Urban Arena.

She has worked with events in Oslo, especially festivals eg. Oya Festival, for almost 20 years, with special focus on business development and environment / sustainability. In the past five years, she has worked in depth with the respective areas in the field of environment -especially procurement, waste management, organic food, energy, HSE and mobility.

Linnéa has written several guides and handbooks for festivals and sporting events in the area of Sustainability and Sponsorship.

Ruth Jakobi

Ruth Jakobi studied Music, French and Education in Hamburg, Germany and Lyon, France. During her studies, she was employed part-time as the international relationship officer at Hamburg University for Music and Theatre. In 2001, she accepted the post of the executive officer at the foundation “Podium for Young Musicians”, offering stage experience and capacity building workshops for emerging professional musicians.
Since September 2003 Ruth Jakobi has been employed as  Secretary General of the European Music Council (EMC) and carried out this function partly in dual leadership with Simone Dudt. She has been invited as a lecturer to international conferences and to cultural management study courses. Ruth also served as jury member for youth music competitions and for the Fair Music Award. From 2006-2008 she was an elected member of the Board of EFAH – European Forum for the Arts and Heritage (today Culture Action Europe).
Between 2010 and 2016 Ruth stepped back from her function as EMC Secretary General to mainly take care of her three children. During this time she continued working on special projects for the EMC and also worked as a freelance consultant for international project management.

Heidi Wiley

Heidi is the Executive Director of the European Theatre Convention since 2009. Prior to that she produced and managed international theatre companies and artists incl. the Tiger Lillies and Victoria Thierree Chaplin. She co-produced performances at major European and Asian festivals and venues.
As cultural manager, she worked for European cultural networks and programmes like Erasmus and European Film Promotion and collaborated with education and scientific institutions as consultant for international cooperation projects. As studied cultural scientist, she holds degrees from La Sorbonne and University of Lüneburg.

Mihály Rosonczy-Kovács

Mihály Rosonczy-Kovács is a folk violinist and historian. His main field is applied music diplomacy. He is the founder of the Hungarian FolkEmbassy (authentic folk string music band) and the non-governmental Philidor Institute, which functions as the international office of the Fonó Music Hall in Budapest. Member of the Romengo band (oláh-gipsy music). Performed in 35 countries of 3 continents. His own projects aim to 1) strengthen European identity and that of the V4 Countries through highlighting common musical heritage 2) underline the role of the Roma play in enriching Hungarian culture. His latest music diplomacy project took place in Berlin 16/05/18: “Hungary in Europe – Europe in Hungary, our common culture in melodies and motifs”. His collection of Hungarian folk songs The sun has risen on the sky was published four times, and in 2017 it was awarded with the title Book of the Year by the Magyar Napló publishing house and Junior Prima awarded.

Antoni Beksiak

Music critic, editor, curator, researcher, radioman, composer, vocalist, computer freak. Instituter and animator of phenomena in the field of traditional music of Poland (“Dom Tanca” Association co-founded in 1994/5, digitizing mazurka rhythms at Niewte), contemporary composition and avant-pop (Turning Sounds events), vocality (Gebofon/Mouth-o-Fonic events, Geba vocal ensemble), sound art in city spaces, improvisation (Ad Libitum festival). More recently theatre artist (with Marta Górnicka’s Chorus of Women and Michał Borczuch) and filmmaker. Increasingly devotes himself to vocal performance and composition (as Baskak).

Kati Taal

Kati is working as a folklore specialist in South-East of Estoni. She studied Estonian and comparative folklore. Since 2008 she has been actively involved in the Estonian Folklore Council, which is a national center for folklore and folk culture and is a member of the International Council of Folklore Festivals and Folklore Organizations (CIOFF). Since March 2014, she is President of CIOFF Estonia.

I like to observe how folk culture events and processes are organized in communities and what actions and laws support the traditional lifestyle. I take actively part in seto traditional folk group and take pleasure in singing folk songs of my region and dancing old and more modern folk dances in small spontaneous gatherings as well as in festivals. I also work as a heritage guide in south-east of Estonia and always combine guiding with stories about local people, their traditions and secrets these places and lands hide in them.

Manu Théron

Born in 1969, raised between Algeria and Marseilles, he studied piano and singing since early childhood. Also he got involved in the Occitan revival movement.

In southern Italy as well as in Bulgaria, Manu travelled more than 4 years discovering traditional singing and polyphony and, most of all, getting along with singers and choirs, learning from them listening discipline and musical behaviour in a singing collective.

Back in Marseilles in 1995 he founded several vocal bands that performed Occitan traditional repertoire and compositions throughout the world, creating a new polyphonic genre that spread out all over southern France, inspiring many vocal ensembles since then. The most famous are “Gacha Empega” and “Lo Còr de la Plana”. Passionate and active, Manu Théron’s performances and teachings are inspired by popular Mediterranean singing, and often require frame percussions together with vocal expression.

Gerhard Sammer

Gerhard Sammer was born in Austria. He has a master’s degree in Music Education as well as in Mathematics/Computer Sciences.  Gerhard Sammer has held the post of Professor for Music Pedagogy in Germany since 2004 with a special focus on music teacher training for all school forms. He works as a board member of the European Association for Music in Schools since 2005; since 2015 he is President of the EAS and involved in many international projects, co-operations and activities. He is currently a member of the Music Advisory Board of the Austrian Federal Chancellery and of the Province of Tyrol.

Additionally he works in orchestral conducting and is artistic director. Beside this he is also guest conductor with Austrian, Italian and Polish orchestras and worked with a numerous soloists with international reputation. In the last 20 years he realized nearly 140 first performances of new orchestra pieces and produced more than 10 CDs with contemporary music.

Gretchen Amussen

Trained as a musician, the Franco-American Gretchen Amussen has served as Director for External Affairs and International Relations at the Paris Conservatoire since 1992, promoting the school through an extensive worldwide network of educational and cultural organizations. Active in numerous international networks, she is currently a member of the board of the European Music Council: in that capacity, she participated in the webinar dedicated to entrepreneurship in music as part of the STAMP Project. Previously she served as Vice-President of the European Association of Conservatoires (AEC), and led AEC European thematic working groups dedicated to the implications of the Bologna Declaration for higher education in music (2001-04), the evolution of the musical profession in Europe (Polifonia 2004-07), and educating for entrepreneurship in music (Polifonia 2011-2014).

Pascale Labrie

With a classical music and arts management background, Pascale Labrie began her professional life in 1998 by organizing concert tours throughout Canada with the Jeunesses Musicales international movement in Canada, before becoming Director of Communications and then Director of the Montreal International Music Competition. She then started in 2006 as an Executive Producer with the French-speaking Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (SRC) in Montreal and from 2012 to 2014 worked as Chef d’antenne of the classical channel Musiq’3 at the Radio-télévision belge de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (RTBF). After a short trip back to Montreal as Chief of Content for classical music at SRC, she decided to leave the Belle Province once again to embrace a new challenge at the European Broadcasting Union as Head of Music since 1 July 2015. Her musical hero is J.S. Bach and she loves the New York Times cooking app.

Therese Birkeland Ulvo

Therese Birkelund Ulvo (born 24 November 1982) is a Norwegian composer.
Ulvo studied at the Norwegian Academy of Music from 2002 to 2008 and at the Guildhall School of Music in 2005 under the tutorship of Lasse Thoresen, Peter Tornquist and Diana Burrell.
From 2010 to 2012, Ulvo was part of MIC Music Information Centre Norway's international launch programme INTRO-composer. Ulvo was bestowed with the award De unges Lindemanpris in 2015. At the 63rd International Rostrum for composers in Wroclaw, Poland, held in May 2016, Ulvo's work Shadow and Shields was included in the Recommended Works general category, a selection of eleven works recommended for airplay in 30 participating European countries.
As the first of a total of six Norwegian composers, Ulvo was in October 2017 presented as a participant of the new KUPP-programme, an international developmental- and network-programme for young aspiring Norwegian composers.

Joanna Grotwkowska

Music critic, journalist, radio producer. She has worked for Channel Two of the Polish Radio for 27 years. She has produced several hundred original radio programmes, including ‘radio portraits’ of such composers as John Cage, H.M. Górecki, Louis Andriessen, Magnus Lindberg, Heiner Goebbels, Zygmunt Krauze, Paweł Szymański and her radio programme Witold Lutosławski – Self-Portrait was selected by the Polish Radio for the Prix Italia, 2004. She has also co-organised concerts at the Polish Radio Concert Studio, including Hommage à Witold Lutosławski during the Warsaw Autumn 1994. Since 2013 she has represented the Polish Radio at the International Rostrum of Composers (IRC). The recordings she recommended – Not I byAgata Zubel in 2013, Canzon de‘ baci by Andrzej Kwieciński in 2014, brut by Artur Zagajewski in 2017 – were selected works (the highest IRC award).

Davide Grosso

Ethnomusicologist, five music rights activist with a strong background in journalism and media, he has carried out an extensive field research in Indonesia about music and society.

He joined the International Music Council in 2012 where he is in charge of project management. Among other projects, he coordinates the International Rostrum of Composers and since 2015, its “big brother” Rostrum+.

He also curates the edition of the newsletter Music World News and the communication campaigns of the IMC.

Outside the office he composes electronic music for a contemporary puppet theatre company and writes about music and politics for various magazines and blogs.

Stefan Forsberg

Stefan Forsberg is since 2003 the Executive and Artistic Director of the Royal Stockholm Phil­harmonic Orchestra (RSPO) and the Stockholm Concert Hall Foundation (SCHF). Prior to his appointment at the SCHF, Forsberg held the position as Director of Programme and Planning at the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Choir.

On behalf of the Swedish Parliament, Forsberg planned and carried out the official wedding concert for the Swedish Crown Princess in June 2010 as well as the Jubilee concert in 2013 for His Majesty the King, celebrating 40 years on the throne.

Among other appointments; Forsberg is a member of European Concert Hall Organisation, chairman of the branch organisation Swedish Performing Arts, a board member of the Scandinavian Concert Halls Association, the Lord Chamberlain-in-Waiting at the Royal Court, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and a member of the price committee of the Polar Music Prize.

Simone Dudt

Simone Dudt studied cultural sciences in Hildesheim, Germany and Marseille, France focusing on Fine Arts and Music. She worked for the educational programmes of several museums and music schools and as academic assistant at the University of Hildesheim.
Simone has been working for the European Music Council since 2004, where she co-ordinated the EU funded ExTra! Exchange Traditions project.
From 2010-2014 she was member of the Board of Culture Action Europe, a European umbrella organisation that advocates for culture at the EU institutions of which she became Vice Chair in 2012. She is author of diverse articles on music and cultural policy as well as a speaker on these topics at European conferences. She has been Secretary General of the EMC since 2010 (partly in dual leadership with Ruth Jakobi) and she is currently on maternity leave.