European Forum on Music 2021

Claiming a front row seat. The place of music in society

2 - 5 June 2021, online


Music is one of the pillars of European culture. It has an intrinsic value, enriching and inspiring those who engage in it. Music is an art form and, as such, has contributed and continues to contribute immensely to Europe’s legacy, building a rich heritage that preserves and celebrates the diversity of our continent’s cultural identities. Music can also serve as a tool that promotes individual development and brings change to many levels of society: it is a formidable unifier of people, a natural vehicle for social engagement and inclusion and a powerful agent for democratic values. Finally, music is involved in a variety of products that contribute to international trade, economic growth and job creation.

In all of its manifestations, music is a tremendously precious resource for Europe.

These introductory sentences of the European Agenda for Music, first released in 2018 make a bold statement for music and its importance for the societies we live in. Yet, political decisions about opening, closing and re-opening (or not) of clubs, choirs, theatres, operas, music schools and other places for music show the huge discrepancy between this bold statement and the sad reality. Political actions seem to fall behind on the relevance of music for our living together. This hard landing in pandemic realities calls for a clear view on what place music takes in our societies, including a reality check pre- and post- Covid-19. The music sector is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and at the same time it will be one of the sectors who can contribute significantly to the recovery, with its intrinsic power as an artform, its strength to be a tool for social and individual development and its economic force for jobs and growth.

The European Forum on Music 2021 offered a variety of sessions, including keynote speeches, panel discussions, interactive workshops and networking sessions for the music sector to exchange and to discuss about the role and place of music in society. 

We would like to make sure that even though the music sector was hit hard, it will come out of the crisis stronger, more resilient and claiming its right place which will be reflected in political action.

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Recordings of selected sessions will be uploaded to the EMC YouTube channel shortly.

Photo by Josh Appel