European Forum on Music 2023

From 8 to 10 June 2023, over 150 representatives from more than 20 European countries gathered at the House of Music Hungary in Budapest for the 11th edition of the European Forum on Music (EFM).

Sou Fujimoto, architect of the House of Music Hungary, is quoted saying: “There is an infinite diversity of the world itself, but we should listen to the diversity beyond these designs, and we should be able to create such a space that accepts and transforms the diversity”. This ethos struck a chord with the theme of this year’s EFM, 'Sustain Music', wherein cultural professionals from all over Europe and beyond came together to talk about creating a safe and welcoming musical ecosystem; one that promotes inclusivity, embraces diversity, and strives for social, economic, and environmental sustainability; an ecosystem that ultimately sustains music in all its forms and processes.

For many, the concept of sustainability automatically sparks conversations around climate change and the ecological transition. However, the EFM 2023 highlighted that the concepts of sustainability are broad, and the world of music is a big, diverse place.

Below you can catch up on some of the panel discussions that took place during the framework of the European Forum on Music 2023.





► Concepts of Sustainability - Matt Brennan

The conference started with an energetic keynote by Matt Brennan (University of Glasgow) where the foundation and tone of the event was set. In this recording, Matt  reflected on economic theory and proposed the 'Musical Doughnut', defined as “a sustainable system for musical life that contributes to a social foundation of well-being that no one should fall below, while respecting the ecological ceiling of planetary pressure that we should not go beyond. Between the two lies a safe and just musical space for all”.

Find the presentation here.



► Panel discussion "Sustaining Music in Ukraine and beyond"

In this compelling panel discussion, a group of experts gathered at the EFM to shed light on the current state of music in Ukraine and the challenges faced by Ukrainian musicians, particularly those in exile due to the ongoing war. Spearheaded by Mariana Bondarenko of the Ukrainian Institute, the session brought together prominent figures in the music industry in Ukraine, including Olga Bekenshtein, festival curator, artistic director of Am I Jazz?, along with Dmytro Savkiv, director of Kyiv's Jazz Club 32 and Alona Dmukhovska from Music Export Ukraine.

From empowering artists with resources and support to enhancing music infrastructure, the discussion explored a range of strategies aimed at strengthening the music sector in Ukraine. Additionally, the panelists highlighted the significance of establishing a platform for Ukrainian culture on an international stage, inviting the rest of the European music sector to contribute to this vital cause.



► Introduction and Q&A to "Sustaining gender equity: our aim in the music sector"

Aysha Hussain (Keychange) initiated a session on sustaining gender equity by setting the tone and introducing the general context of 'music and gender'. The panel discussion that followed featured representatives from notable projects, all chosen for their capacity to inspire and address specific issues on the topic.




► Panel discussion on "Sustaining gender equity: our aim in the music sector"

We presented a thought-provoking and insightful panel discussion on "Sustaining Gender Equity: Our Aim in the Music Sector." As part of this year's EFM (European Forum on Music), we dedicated a full morning to exploring various topics related to "music and gender." Aysha Hussain, from Keychange, set the tone and introduced us to the general context, delving into the meaning of "music and gender" and exploring concepts of diversity, equity, inclusion, and gender expansiveness with a focus on intersectionality.

The panel discussion featured representatives from projects such as Yohann Floch (SHIFT), Martha Lomelí (Play It Loud), Harrie van den Elsen (PRIhME), and Szonja Balogh (first.wave). These inspiring experts shared their insights on how to tackle important issues in the music sector while ensuring inclusivity and avoiding discrimination, particularly in amplifying under-represented voices.

Victoria Liedbergius, President of the EMC board and Administrative Director of Ung i Kor, skillfully moderated the panel, ensuring a lively and engaging conversation among the experts and the audience. This panel discussion was a step forward in sustaining gender equity in the music sector, inspiring change and fostering an inclusive environment for all music enthusiasts and professionals alike.





► Introduction to "Sustaining music in the digital arena"

The impact of technology as an instrument and enabler in the music sector was introduced by Alfons Karabuda (International Music Council). This was followed by a panel featuring experts on AI and the intersection of music and technology, who collectively worked to translate data into value and intelligence with and for the music sector.



► Panel discussion and Q&A "Sustaining music in the digital arena"

The impact of technology as an instrument and enabler in the music sector was introduced by Alfons Karabuda (International Music Council). This was followed by a panel featuring experts on AI and the intersection of music and technology, who collectively worked to translate data into value and intelligence with and for the music sector.

Step into the world of music and digital as experts converged in this engaging panel discussion, exploring the dynamic relationship between music and the ever-changing digital landscape. With the digital environment providing an array of innovative tools for music creation, production, and consumption, it had become imperative to examine the impact of these trends on the music sector.

Panelists delved into the pressing questions surrounding the digital music era. They explored how digital advancements were affecting music creation and production, while discovering new and equitable models for music distribution that were reshaping the industry. The panel also uncovered the fascinating role of artificial intelligence (A.I.) in music and digitization, and how it had revolutionized the way people interacted with musical artistry.

Throughout the discussion, the International Music Council's "IMC 5 Music Rights," ensured a balanced analysis of the implications of the digital age on musicians, creators, and music enthusiasts alike.



► Panel discussion on "Sustaining learning and participation in music"

The audience was treated to an enlightening panel discussion on 'Sustaining Learning and Participation in Music,' where prominent European networks dedicated to music learning and education explored the critical concept of sustainability in their respective domains. The session addressed the meaning of sustainability within music education and access to music, delving into the burning questions and key challenges faced in their work.

Esteemed speakers from leading organizations, including Sonja Greiner (European Choral Association), Blasko Smilevski (Jeunesses Musicales International, JMI), Stefan Gies (Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen, AEC), Till Skoruppa (European Music School Union, EMU), and Isolde Malmberg (European Association for Music in Schools, EAS), shared their valuable insights and experiences.

Together, they explored how to ensure a sustainable future for higher music education, music education in schools, music schools, international youth music, and European and international singing exchanges. They discussed the challenges and proposed effective strategies, inspiring the audience with innovative ideas and initiatives for promoting the enduring vitality of music education and participation.

The panel was skillfully moderated by IMC Secretary General Silja Fischer, fostering a dynamic and engaging conversation among the experts.



► Panel discussion on "Sustaining music in local communities"

Placemaking as a means to inject music in local communities was also discussed by a diverse panel – from city representatives to European NGOs focused on using music as a tool to solve problems at the local, national and global level.

With a dynamic lineup of distinguished speakers, including Shain Shapiro from the Center for Music Ecosystems, Marta Lozano Molano from Wazo Coop, Mia Zabelka from Music in the Countryside, and Friderika Mike from Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture, the panel delivered diverse perspectives and insights.

Facilitated by the Audrey Guerre, EMC Chair, and Coordinator of Live DMA, the discussion explored intriguing questions surrounding the role of music professionals in fostering collaborations with community-level stakeholders, bridging the gap between artists and audiences in both rural and urban contexts, and ultimately, illuminating the intrinsic value of music in localities.