The doctoral college »Collège doctoral européen d'interprétation et de création musicales«

German-French doctoral program of Freiburg University of Music, University of Strasbourg and Haute École des Arts du Rhin

Photo: Kacper Dąbrowski and Meike Senker are completing their artistic-scientific doctorates in Freiburg and Strasbourg. Photo by Ramon Manuel Schneeweiß.

 

Founded in 2020, the »European Doctoral College for Musical Interpretation and Artistic Research« (»Collège doctoral européen d'interprétation et de création musicales«) is the joint Collège doctoral franco-allemand (CDFA) of Freiburg University of Music, University of Strasbourg and »Haute École des Arts du Rhin« (HEAR). The doctoral college enables doctoral studies in the field of artistic research, which are concluded with the academic degree of »Doctor of Philosophy« (PhD).

The »Collège doctoral européen d’interprétation et de création musicales« is funded within the framework of the Franco-German University / Université franco-allemand.

Interview with two students of the doctoral program

»Transmitter between life and science«

Composer Meike Senker and flutist Kacper Dąbrowski are part of the first cohort to complete their doctorates at the »Collège doctoral européen d'interprétation et de création musicales.« In this interview, they talk about what convinced them about the doctoral college, how they bring science and art together, and what advice they would give to other doctoral students.

Ms. Senker, Mr. Dąbrowski, for what reasons did you decide to do your doctorate at the CDFA?

Meike Senker: I find it exciting that I can complete an artistic-scientific doctorate here. I take both fields very seriously and am happy to combine them profitably. In addition, a good degree was important to me: I teach at conservatories and would like to continue working in this field in the future. The PhD. degree will help me in this. I knew the Freiburg University of Music beforehand, as I did my master's degree here at the New Music Institute with Johannes Schöllhorn.

What was the decisive factor for you, Mr. Dąbrowski?

Kacper Dąbrowski: I also completed my master's degree as a flutist at Freiburg University of Music. I was keen to do a PhD after that, and my teacher Mario Caroli pointed out to me the fantastic opportunity to do an international PhD at CDFA with a globally recognized title. I am sure that we will build and create something here beyond our dissertations. Freiburg also convinced me: there is the university here and with Strasbourg and Basel two more centers for music in the immediate vicinity. It was clear to me: I have to stay here.

You have stayed in Freiburg, but you often commute to Strasbourg.

Kacper Dąbrowski: Yes, I work in both places: The supervisor for the scientific part of my work is the rector of Freiburg University of Music, Ludwig Holtmeier. The artistic part is supervised by Silvia Careddu, who teaches at the »Académie supérieure de musique de Strasbourg« and is first flutist at the »Orchestre National de France«. Thus I have contacts in both places. I find it exciting that the CDFA is bilingual: My mother tongue is Polish, but I also speak French and learned German during my master's studies.

Your supervisors are both in Freiburg, Ms. Senker. How much contact do you have with the French doctoral students?

Meike Senker: That's right, my supervisors are Johannes Schöllhorn and Ludwig Holtmeier. During the Corona pandemic meetings were limited, but we already had one, which I found extremely exciting. The PhD students were able to give talks about their projects, followed by a discussion. Talking to others about my project gave me a lot of input – they often have a very different background than I do and have, for example, studied at a French university. Their perspective is a great enrichment to push ones own work further.

Could you briefly outline your PhD project?

Meike Senker: I am dealing with the multi-perspectival relationship between music and text in the work of the Italian composer Luciano Berio. I am dealing with the piece »A-Ronne« from 1975, which goes back to a collaboration between Berio and the poet Edoardo Sanguineti. Sanguineti wrote a text for that consists of short quotations – for example from the Gospel of John or texts from James Joyce. Berio has repeatedly processed this poem in different ways in his composition, for example as a jazz scat chant or as a baroque chorale. Important to my research on »A-Ronne« is Berio's notion of music as documentation of text: He says it serves on the one hand as an analytical tool for the text, and on the other hand the performers explore the text with their voices. Berio speaks of an exploratory-artistic attitude. I try to pursue this idea as a kind of composed documentation: Through analysis, but also by source research, the examination of Berio's texts and, of course, with my own compositional work, in order to update the compositional »field of research« opened up by Berio with today's means.

What are you engaged in, Mr. Dąbrowski?

Kacper Dąbrowski: I am very interested in the music of the German-Danish composer Friedrich Kuhlau and in his connections with the music of Ludwig van Beethoven. Unfortunately, there is no repertoire by Beethoven for flute, so we transcribe a lot. For doing so we can fall back on the literature of Kuhlau, who is often called the »Beethoven of the flute«. The core scientific question of my work is: Why is the music of those two so similar? And for what reasons did Kuhlau choose the flute and Beethoven did not? For the artistic part I will make a recording: I'm transcribing a violin sonata by Beethoven and taking an analytical and performance-practical approach.

What advice would you give to students pursuing an artistic-scientific doctorate?

Kacper Dąbrowski: You have to be passionate about your subject! This dissertation is for people who are already very knowledgeable about a topic and want to continue working on it. You also need a lot of curiosity and a a lot of exchange with other artists and scientists. We are a kind of transmitter, a link between life and science.

Meike Senker: You should ask yourself beforehand: What does it mean for my artistic work if I consider my art in a scientific context and my science as an artist? Both areas have to be brought together and for that you need great passion.

Interview: Ben Klaussner

 

Selection procedure

The prerequisite for admission to the »Collège doctoral franco-allemand« of Freiburg University of Music, University of Strasbourg and »Haute École des Arts du Rhin« (HEAR) is passing the selection procedure. As a rule, the selection procedure takes place annually in April/May, alternately in Freiburg and Strasbourg. In order to qualify for the selection procedure, applicants must have sent a »dossier de pré-candidature« to the Directorate of the Collège doctoral franco-allemand at University of Strasbourg at least two weeks in advance (doctorat-icm(at)accra-recherche.unistra.fr). The application can be submitted in German, French or English.

The presentation of the candidates at the selection process has a total duration of 30 minutes each. Of this, 20 minutes are reserved for the artistic presentation (the recital, the presentation of the compositions, the orchestra rehearsal et cetera). In the remaining ten minutes, the candidates present their research project in a short presentation aimed at the connection between artistic practice and scientific research, and then enter into a short conversation with the commission.

The »dossier de pré-candidature« should include the following:

  • A video of an artistic performance (10 minutes in length)
  • An indication of the research project and the names of the scientific and artistic supervisors
  • A letter of motivation (maximum of one page)
  • The curriculum vitae (maximum of three pages)
  • For performers: a program of the recital intended for the selection process, which should last about 45 minutes. The program should be related to the research topic and should also include a challenging reference piece (pièce de résistance).
  • For composers: a list of compositions to be presented or discussed during the selection process.
  • For conductors: a list of live audio recordings or live video recordings submitted. Please consult in advance with the management of the Collège doctoral franco-allemand. In principle, it is foreseen to conduct an ensemble in presence during the selection process. However, if this is not possible or not reasonable, the jury can make its decision on the basis of live audio or live video recordings.

Further details on the selection procedure can be found in the study regulations of the Collège doctoral franco-allemand. Information in French can be found on the websites of the Haute École des Arts du Rhin and the University of Strasbourg.

Downloads

Downloads for the cooperative structured doctoral program of the »Europäischen Doktorandenkollegs für musikalische Interpretation und künstlerische
Forschung / Collège doctoral européen d’interprétation et de création musicales« (in German)

Studien- und Prüfungsordnung

Anlage A zur Studien- und Prüfungsordnung (Studienplantabelle)

Anlage C zur Studien- und Prüfungsordnung (Anmelde- und Auswahlmodalitäten)

Anlage D zur Studien- und Prüfungsordnung (Modulhandbuch)