Speakers at the European Forum on Music 2021

This online edition of the European Forum on Music will feature the following exceptional speakers. They will share their ideas and generate a debate around the importance of music in our society, with emphasis on the current situation and recovery of the sector due to COVID-19.

Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo is a four-time Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter from Benin, known for her diverse musical influences and creative music videos. As a performer, her striking voice, stage presence and fluency in multiple cultures and languages have won respect from her peers and expanded her following across national borders. Kidjo has cross-pollinated the West African traditions of her childhood Benin with elements of American R&B, funk, and jazz, as well as influences from Europe and Latin America.

Angelique also travels the world advocating on behalf of children in her capacity as a UNICEF and OXFAM goodwill ambassador. At the G7 summit in 2019, President Macron of France named Kidjo as the spokesperson for the AFAWA initiative (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa) to help close the financing gap for women entrepreneurs in Africa. She has also created her own charitable foundation, Batonga, dedicated to support the education of young girls in Africa.

Annette Ziegenmeyer

European Association for Music in Schools (EAS)

Annette Ziegenmeyer is a full professor for music education at the University of Music in Luebeck (Germany). She received her Master’s degrees in Higher Secondary School Teaching, Music Education and in Music Performance at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media. She then received a one-year-grant for artists to stay at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Afterwards, she taught for several years at a Secondary School and got her PhD in Musicology at the University of Music and Dance Cologne. From 2013 to 2020, Annette Ziegenmeyer worked in Higher Music Teacher Education at the University of Flensburg and Wuppertal. Her research interests include music composition pedagogy (international perspectives), music in detention, community music, inclusion.

Audrey Guerre

Coordinator of Live DMA

Audrey Guerre is the coordinator of Live DMA, the European network for live music associations. Her experience in studies, job opportunities and personal beliefs early led her to specialise herself into European cooperation and live music. She now provides Live DMA members with a political monitoring, tools, and opportunities to meet & exchange best practices. She also represents their interests to European institutions and partners. Audrey Guerre is a member of the board of the European Music Council, and the French music venue Trempo in Nantes

Barbara Gessler

Head of Unit Creative Europe - European Commission

Born in Belgium in 1964 with German nationality, Barbara Gessler 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 Audio-visual Policy, then changed to Environment in 1996. From 1998 until 2003 she worked at the representation of the European Commission in Berlin. 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, Audio-visual 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.

Benoît Machuel

General Secretary of International Federation of Musicians (FIM)

Benoît Machuel has been General Secretary of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) since September 2002. Before that, he developed a career as a professional musician for 20 years, both as a cellist and a gambist in various French symphonic orchestras and musical ensembles, touring and recording in France and abroad.

Benoît Machuel has also worked as an artistic director for French CD labels dedicated to classical and contemporary music.

Between 1995 and 2002, he was a national representative of the French musicians union (Union Nationale des Syndicats d’Artistes Musiciens, SNAM). He holds two master’s degrees, in computer sciences and in business administration.

Brydie-Leigh Bartleet

Director Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre

Professor Brydie-Leigh Bartleet is Director of the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University, and an Australia Research Council Future Fellow. She is one of the world’s leading community music scholars whose research has advanced our understanding of the cultural, social, economic, and educational benefits of music and the arts in First Nations’ Communities, prisons, war affected cities, educational and industry contexts. She has worked on six nationally competitive grants, five research consultancies with leading arts and social sector organisations, and five prestigious fellowships totalling over $3 million. She is President of the Social Impact of Music Making (SIMM) research platform (2021-2024), has served on the Board of Music Australia (2013-2021) and as Chair and Commissioner of ISME’s Community Music Activities Commission (2010-2016). In 2014 she was awarded the Australian University Teacher of the Year, and in 2022 she will be a Fulbright Scholar at New York University Steinhardt.   

David Zsoldos

Vice President of JM International (JMI)

David Zsoldos (45), Founder and CEO of Papageno (Budapest), started off as a successful pianist, giving solo and orchestral concerts from Los Angeles to Salzburg, but following an unfortunate strain, he had to give up on public performances. He earned his piano and musicology degrees from the Liszt Academy, Budapest.

As a journalist, communication & media expert, and event manager he’s been involved in high profile projects around the world eg. Sziget Festival, Cirque du Soleil, Cliburn Competition. After starting the first classical music radio show in 2003, he was one of the founders of Klasszik Rádió, the first commercial classical music station in Hungary. He is program editor at Müpa Budapest, strategic advisor at the Hungarian State Opera and President of the Hungarian Music Council. In the international field he is Vice-President of JM International, the largest youth music NGO, and board member of European Music Council.

Garry Neil

Cultural Policy Expert

Garry Neil has worked for 45 years in arts and cultural policy, in Canada and internationally. Consulting for governments, businesses, and NGOs, he has experience in television, film, publishing, performing arts, visual arts, music, digital media and the Internet. He has helmed important groups, including ACTRA and the Association of Canadian Publishers.

Executive Director of the International Network for Cultural Diversity from 1999, Mr. Neil was at the forefront of the global campaign that led to adoption of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the diversity of cultural expressions. A former member of UNESCO’s panel of experts, Mr. Neil completed three comprehensive global reviews on the implementation of the Recommendation concerning the status of the artist.

Mr. Neil is a global expert on how cultural policies intersect with trade and investment agreements. He has spoken around the world on the topic and his book, Canadian Culture in a Globalized World: The impact of trade deals on Canada’s cultural life was recently published.   

Giambattista Tofoni

General Manager of Europe Jazz Network

Giambattista Tofoni is the General Manager of EJN since 2010. He is one of the founding members of the network in 1987. He started his career as a musician and switched to the production field in 1985: as artistic director and producer he organised more than 2.000 concerts in the most important Italian Festivals (Verona, La Biennale in Venice, RisorgiMarche, etc.). Since 2010 he is a Board member of I-Jazz, the Italian Jazz Federation. He has also a remarkable IT expertise having worked for telecommunication companies from 1985 to1992. He is currently responsible for EJN’s vision, strategy, and work programme; overseeing the work of the staff/ focal points/working groups; visiting and assessing EJN activities, suggesting and creating new projects together with the Board/staff/working groups, representing EJN and its interests with other organisations, political bodies including potential members, leading on relationships with other European cultural networks and other relevant bodies.

Holger Jan Schmidt

Secretary General of Yourope

Holger Jan Schmidt is one of Europe's leading networkers in the music festival branch. Among various topics he has a special focus on sustainability and social responsibility for festivals and events. Holger is General Secretary of YOUROPE – the European Festival Association, the most important representation of European popular music festivals with more than 100 members from 25 European countries. Part of his duties is the project management of the international Take A Stand initiative and campaign for the (live) music sector, which was launched in 2017 to create a movement encouraging social cohesion in our society as well as promoting awareness and tolerance. He also leads the pan-European think-tank GO Group (Green Operations Europe) that focuses on sustainability related and environmental issues at events.

Ian Smith

European Music Council

Ian Smith studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London before being appointed Co-Principal horn with the Scottish National Orchestra where Ian was also the Founder/Director of Scottish Brass. After 25 years as a professional musician, Ian joined the UK Musician's Union in 1993 as Scottish Organiser. Whilst at the MU, he served as a Governor of the RSAMD (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and as a member of the Executive Board of the Musicians' Benevolent Fund. In 2005 Ian was appointed Head of Music at the Scottish Arts Council where he co-founded the Youth Music Initiative. Ian then moved to a new Government body; Creative Scotland as Head of Music and Intellectual Property. He retired from that post in 2016. Ian is currently the President of the European Music Council (based in Bonn) and until January 2020, an Executive Board member of the International Society for the Performing Arts (based in New York). Ian is currently a member of the boards of Cryptic, a global Music and Sonic Arts production company and the Red Note Ensemble, one of Europe's leading contemporary music ensembles. Ian is now based in Ireland.

Jean-François Guillardeau

Policy Officer at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition

Jean-François Guillardeau is Policy Officer at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition. He is a member of the team in charge of the initiative which aims to define EU competition law’s scope of application, to enable an improvement of working conditions through collective bargaining agreements – not only for employees, but also, under some circumstances, for the solo self-employed. He completed his EU legal studies in France, England, Germany and Belgium and has previously worked in private practice at large international law firms in Brussels and London.

Jordi Pascual

Coordinator of UCLG Culture committee and member of the 2030 culture goal campaign

Jordi Pascual is the coordinator of the Committee on culture of the world organisation of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). The work of the Committee is based on Culture 21 Actions. The Committee organizes a global award as well as a biennial Summit, manages a unique database of good practices and promotes a range of learning programmes on capacity-building and connectivity of cities. He is involved in the global campaign #culture2030goal that advocates for the role of cultural factors and actors in the UN Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. Jordi teaches cultural policies and management at the Open University of Catalonia.

Lea Stöver

Creative Europe Desk Germany

Lea Stöver is the Head of the Creative Europe Desk Culture in Germany (CED KULTUR). Together with her team she advises cultural organisations on the funding opportunities of Creative Europe Culture, the only EU programme specifically dedicated to the cultural and creative sectors. Lea Stöver studied Social Anthropology and German Studies in Münster, Paris and Göttingen. In Münster, she worked for several years in historical political education and she gained experience in international cultural work at the Goethe-Institut in Munich and in Accra.

Marc du Moulin

Secretary General European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA)

Marc du Moulin (France) joined the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) as Secretary General in June 2018. He has an in-depth understanding of the functioning of the creative sector and an extensive experience in European Affairs. He previously worked for the European Film Agency Directors, the Motion Picture Association, the European Commission (DG CNECT) and for Eurocinema. Marc holds a Masters in UK-EU-US Copyright Law from King’s College London and a Masters in European Studies from the Catholic Institute of Paris. He speaks fluently English, French and Spanish.

Maria Hansen

Executive Director ELIA - European League of Institutes of the Arts

Maria Hansen is Executive Director of ELIA, globally connected European network of Higher Arts Education. She worked in the performing arts for more than 30 years, in Canada and the Netherlands, served as board member of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) from 2009–2016 and received ISPA’s Patrick Hayes Award honoring transformative leadership in 2020. Maria is a member of the University Council of Nuremberg University of Music, board member of Oorkaan and (until recently) the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. She chairs the Hogenbijl Foundation which awards two annual prizes in film making and classical music in the Netherlands. Maria has been passionate about environmental sustainability in the cultural field for many years. As managing director of the Municipal Theatre and Concert Hall Philharmonie in Haarlem, she was a driving force in achieving green certification for nine local cultural organisations. Maria leads the climate change package of SHIFT Culture.

Marina Ponti

Director UN SDGs Action Campaign

Marina Ponti is the Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign. As one of the main architects of the UN Millennium Campaign -the predecessor of the UN SDG Action Campaign- Ms. Ponti served as Global Deputy Director and Regional Director for Europe for over a decade and was at the vanguard of innovative campaign initiatives, building multi-stakeholder coalitions, mobilizing resources, and forging long-term partnerships between civil society organizations, Local Government, parliamentarians, media, the private sector, and the UN.

Ms. Ponti has published several articles for newspapers, magazines, online publications, and blogs on the Millennium Development Goals, on the Sustainable Development Goals, on aid effectiveness, financial speculation, gender equality, social development, local development, debt-relief, human rights, and trade.

Margarida Oliveira

Horizon Europe

Margarida Oliveira is currently, and since January 2021, National Contact Point for Clusters 2 and 3 from Horizon Europe, in Portugal. Up until this date, she has worked as a Science and Technology Manager, for three years, in a Higher Education Institution, in Lisbon, and her activities included: Identification and dissemination of funding opportunities; Individual advice on funding opportunities to researchers in all career stages; Act as a bridge between researchers and funding agencies; Support in the project proposals development for national and international competitive funding in compliance with funding rules; Follow and implement the process: from granting of projects to their start date; Implementation and follow up of approved projects funded by different programmes. Before that, she has worked for over three years, in the field of her academic background – Biological Engineering. She has worked both in a start-up company in the Netherlands and in a research lab in Belgium.

Marta Keil

Curator Performing Arts Institute Warsaw

Marta Keil - performing arts curator and researcher, based in Warsaw, Poland. She holds PhD in Culture Studies. Since 2019 she co-runs Performing Arts Institute in Warsaw, an independent organisation that develops performing arts field in Poland. She often works in a curatorial tandem Reskeil with Grzegorz Reske, recently they have been curating together with Tim Etchells the “Common Ground” season at Komuna Warszawa (2020). She has been working as curator and dramaturg with i.e., Agnieszka Jakimiak, Lina Majdalanie, Rabih Mroué, She She Pop, Agata Siniarska, Jagoda Szelc, Ana Vujanović. Since 2020 she co-curates the Grand Re Union platform. She initiated the EEPAP platform, that she collaborated with until 2019. She teaches curatorial practice and institutional critique at the Jagiellonian University, Kraków and SWPS University, Warsaw. Editor of numerous books, including “Choreography: Autonomies” (2019) and „Reclaiming the Obvious: on the Institution of Festival” (2017).

Moritz Eggert

Composer and President of the German Composers Union

Composer, Pianist, Performer, Conductor and Author; Moritz Eggert was born in Heidelberg in 1965 and is one of the most versatile and innovative artists in the new music scene. In addition to composing, he also likes to experiment with different musical styles and is committed to rethinking the approach taken to contemporary music and the handling of it. Eggert also takes a focus on musical theatre, for which he has so far written 17 operas. Within his music, he chooses to incorporate chamber-music nuances: for example in his song cycle "Neue Dichter Lieben" or his piano cycle "Hämmerklavier".

His current projects include new operas for Bonn and Vienna, several new instrumental concerts with orchestra and the music-theatrical opening of the Beethovenfest 2022. For the Neue Musikzeitung he runs the "Bad Blog of Musick" - the most widely read blog on contemporary music in Germany.

Niklas Nienass

Member of the European Parliament

Niklas Nienass, born 1992 in Marl/Germany, is Member of the European Parliament for The Greens/EFA. He grew up in Aachen, only a few kilometres away from the Belgium and Dutch border. Since 2013 he lives in Rostock, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania – the north-eastern seaside state that shares an island with Poland. In 2020 he finished his master studies in Good Governance with a thesis on international space law. The focus of his political work lies on strengthening European cohesion through regional development and cultural policy.

Pamela Schobess

Chair Clubkommission

Pamela Schobess studied communication sciences and has been working in the club industry in Berlin for more than 20 years. Since the inevitable closure of Icon club in gentrified Berlin neighbourhood Prenzlauer Berg, she and Lars Döring are running the Kreuzberg (live) club Gretchen since autumn 2011 - on the so-called Dragonerareal. There she is the spokeswoman for the tradespeople and works with politicians to preserve the existing trade and culture on the site.

Since the end of 2016 she is a board member of Berlin's clubcommission, since 2019 as the chairwoman. Since end 2020 she is also the political spokesperson of the German LiveKomm. She is also a member of the IHK plenary assembly, the IHK committees for creative industries and urban development and the Advisory Board of the Berlin Musicboard. Parallel to club life, she worked for several years in media development cooperation - mainly in Africa.

Paulo Pires do Vale

Commissioner of the National Plan for the Arts

Paulo Pires do Vale is the Commissioner of the National Plan for the Arts. He is an essayist and curator. He was the President of the International Association of Art Critics (Portugal).

He was a professor at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa and at the Escola Superior de Educadores de Infância Maria Ulrich. He has contributed to many magazines, books, and exhibition catalogues, and curated many exhibitions at different institutions throughout Europe. Paulo Pires do Vale has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Philosophy from the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Nova University in Lisbon.

Ruth Jakobi

Secretary General at the European Music Council

Ruth Jakobi studied Music, French and Education in Hamburg, Germany and Lyon, France. Since September 2003, Ruth has been employed as Secretary General of the European Music Council (EMC), currying out this function today in dual leadership with Simone Dudt. The European Music Council, regional group for Europe of the International Music Council, is the umbrella organisation for musical life in Europe. It acknowledges the significant role that music and culture play in the political and societal development of a peaceful and integrative Europe. Simone and Ruth are responsible for EMC’s strategic development, for advocacy work in cultural policy, as well as for the planning and implementation of international cooperation projects.

Sara Machado

Creative Europe Desk Portugal

Sara Machado, cultural manager, currently responsible for the Culture strand at Creative Europe Desk PT.  Previously, she built a solid career path in different organizations and countries: The Festival Escena Contemporanea and Ministry of Culture [ES]; the European Cultural Foundation [NL], Pearle* Live Performance Europe [BE], Performing Arts Portugal and EIRA/ CUMPLICIDADES – Lisbon International Contemporary Dance Festival [PT].
She has been awarded with several fellowships, namely: ISPA – International Society for the Performing Arts [USA], Tandem Shaml [DE], ASEF – Asia Europe Foundation “Mobility First” [SG] and the Producers Academy [BE].  She holds a degree on Information Science, at Universidade do Porto and completed her master’s degree in Cultural Management at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Shain Shapiro

Executive Director Center for Music Ecosystems

Shain Shapiro, PhD is the Founder and Group CEO of Sound Diplomacy. Sound Diplomacy is the leading global advisor on growing music and night-time economies in cities and places. He has defined a new way to think about the value of music in cities and places and through it, influenced over 100 cities and places to invest in music and culture as part of overall growth strategy. He is also the co-founder of Music Cities Convention, the world’s largest event bringing together the music industry with city planners, developers, policy makers and executives, the Music Cities Community, the leading online platform for music and public policy to intersect and the Music Cities Awards. He is also the Founder and Executive Director of the not-for-profit global Center for Music Ecosystems, which launched in March this year. 

Silja Fischer

Secretary General of the International Music Council

Silja Fischer studied in Berlin, Moscow, and Hamburg. She joined the General Secretariat of the International Music Council (IMC) in 1993 where she occupied several positions before her appointment as Secretary General in 2009. In this capacity, she is notably in charge of cultural policy matters and representation, along with membership relations and supervision of programme implementation. Since IMC is an NGO official partner of UNESCO, Silja also ensures the liaison with the UNESCO Secretariat as well as with diplomatic representations of Member States to UNESCO.

Silja led the organization of the 6th edition of IMC’s World Forum on Music, which took place in Paris in 2019 under the title “Give Me Five! – Five Music Rights in Action”.

Besides her great passion for music and its transformative power, Silja strongly believes in strategic collaborations for effective and efficient advocacy work. She represents IMC in various advocacy groups such as the Climate Heritage Network and the #culture2030goal campaign steering group.

Simone Dudt

Secretary General at the European Music Council

Simone Dudt  studied cultural sciences in Hildesheim, Germany and Marseille, France focusing on Fine Arts and Music. She has been working for the European Music Council since 2004. Today, she is Secretary General of the European Music Council in dual leadership with Ruth Jakobi. Ruth and Simone are responsible for EMC’s strategic development, for advocacy work in cultural policy, as well as for the planning and implementation of international cooperation projects. One of the most relevant advocacy tools coordinated by the EMC in cooperation with a huge number of stakeholders across the European music sector is the European Agenda for Music. From 2010-2014 Simone served on the Board of Culture Action Europe, a European umbrella organisation that advocates for culture at the EU institutions. She is author of diverse articles on music and cultural policy as well as a speaker on these topics at European conferences.

Sonja Greiner

Secretary General European Choral Association

Sonja Greiner is the Secretary General of the European Choral Association – Europa Cantat and a member of the Board of the World Youth Choir Foundation, as well as governance advisor to the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM).

After studying English, French and Spanish in Freiburg, Germany, and doing two years of teacher training, she first became the manager of the International Chamber-Choir Competition and the festival Musica Sacra International in Marktoberdorf (Germany) at the beginning of the 90ies. She later became deputy Secretary General and then Secretary General of Europa Cantat (European Choral Association – Europa Cantat since 2011).  She was a member and Treasurer of both the European and the International Music Council between 2000 and 2013 and was elected Honorary Member of the International Music Council in 2015.

Søs Nyengaard

Chairman of the Danish Musicians Union

Søs Nyengaard is the chairman of the Danish Musicians Union, Denmark’s largest union, with members covering all music genres. She was born in Denmark, but raised and educated in Australia, as a violinist, where she began her career in the West Australian Symphony orchestra. In 1990 she moved back to Denmark and worked for 30 years in the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, where she also became politically active in the union, first as union representative for her colleagues, while also taking an active role in the arts sector of her local council. Later she became chairman for all the regional orchestras in Denmark, and a member of the board of the Danish Musicians union in 2016, and was elected as chairman in November 2020. Through her earlier years in the orchestra, she was also actively involved with innovative and experimental arts, as a founding member of a female fusion arts group named “Culturesheart” from 2003 – 2013.

Tere Badia

Secretary General of Culture Action Europe

Tere Badia holds a degree in Art History from the Universitat de Barcelona and a MA in Information and Knowledge Society by the IN3 (Internet interdisciplinary Institute) of the UOC.

She is dedicated to cultural research and production in various formats. She has carried out several studies on cultural policies, networks, and R+D+i for visual arts. Tere has curated exhibitions and projects of contemporary art. She has been professionally linked to the Interarts Observatory in the 90’s, the communication and multimedia agency Goetzinger&Komplizen (Karlsruhe). Tere coordinated the platform DISONANCIAS in Catalonia for the promotion of the relations between artists and research departments of companies and organizations, as well as the network of visual arts production spaces of Catalonia xarxaprod. Until January 2018, Tere Badia was director of Hangar – center for artistic production and research in Barcelona.

Victoria Liedbergius

Board member European Choral Association (ECA-EC)

Victoria Liedbergius is the secretary general of Ung i Kor, the Norwegian Children and Youth Choir Association. She was a board member of the European Choral Association – Europa Cantat from 2012 to 2018 and was the chairperson of their youth committee before that.

Victoria has studied singing at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Brussels and the Hochschule für Music und Tanz Köln and is a former a singer of the World Youth Choir. She has also worked for the International Center for Choral Music in Namur and has later studied administration and leadership at the Musical Academy in Oslo.

Victoria is currently a board member of the International Federation of Choral Music, vice president of the World Youth Choir Foundation, and vice president of the EMC.

Willem van Moort 

Director BplusC

Willem van Moort studied percussion, composition, teacher training and management. He works as director of BplusC (Library plus Art and Culture Centre) in Leiden (The Netherlands) and surroundings. The education part of BplusC is an organisation of art education, including a music-, fine art-, dans- and theatre school. There are 11.000 students, of who 4.000  are music students.

Before this, he was the director of several music schools, the coordinator of the Department of Music Education at The Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, a music teacher and a percussion player in the Radio and Ballet Orchestras. He was also president of the music section of the Foundation of Amateur Art and Performing Arts. Moreover, he hold the ancillary positions of member of the board of Cultuurconnectie and member of the board of the European Music School Union (EMU).  He is in the board of the EMC for seven years now, the last five years as the treasurer.