website under construction

Opening Session

Thursday 11 November 2021, 3 pm CET

Kurt Ellenberger (picture on the right) and Wouter Turkenburg host the opening session of the 2021 IASJ Jazz Research Conference. The opening session is a panel in which the invited guests and speakers are Andrew Bain, Petter Frost Fadness and Michael Kahr.

Jazz research is almost as old as jazz itself. According popular belief, serious writing about jazz started in Europe. Just like jazz theory grew out of classical music theory, and jazz educations grew out of classical music education, jazz research is now growing out of the examples, rules and restrictions set by research in classical music. In the IASJ the type of research that serves jazz best is called ‘applied jazz research’.

Applied jazz research is feeding and is fed by jazz performance and jazz education. In the landscape of research, applied jazz research coexists next to other forms of research. The opening session is a panel in which a helicopter view is given on the entire jazz research landscape.

Description of the panel by Michael Kahr:
Round Table Discussion and Book Presentation Artistic Research in Jazz: Positions, Theories, Methods

Panelists: Andrew Bain (RBC), Kurt Ellenberger (GVSU), Petter Frost Fadnes (UiS), Michael Kahr (JMLU/KUG), Wouter Turkenburg (IASJ)

This panel discussion aims to shed light on the multiplicity of positions, theories and methods in jazz research which combines artistic knowledge and experience with approaches in established research disciplines. In consideration of the increasing specialization of academic discourses and the potential alienation between practitioners, theorists and the public, the discussion stresses the potential to re-merge the divergent perspectives of practice and theory in music in general and jazz in particular. The panel brings together a diverse range of artist-researchers connected to the IASJ and the International Network for Artistic Research in Jazz.

Presentation of the Network for Artistic Research in Jazz and the volume Artistic Research in Jazz Positions, Theories, Methods (Routledge 2021) – Kahr (5 minutes)
Presentation of Applied Jazz Research – IASJ (5 minutes)
Panel discussion based on the following key questions (40 minutes):
What are the main conceptual and methodical overlaps and differences between artistic research in jazz and applied jazz research?
What are the connections of both concepts to the established research fields of musicology, sociology, popular music studies, music pedagogy and artistic research?
What are the connections of both concepts to jazz education?
How could both concepts contribute to and benefit from a wide community of jazz practitioners and researchers for purposes of collaboration, publication and peer-review?
To what extent do we need to rethink presentation/documentation formats to include applied jazz research and artistic research in jazz?
What are the ramifications of arts-based research disciplines with regards to quality assurance at Higher Education?
Q&A with the audience (10 minutes)

Duration: 60 Minutes

The International Network for Artistic Research in Jazz was established in 2019 in reaction to the increasing relevance of artistic perspectives in the academic discourses in jazz research. It aims establish a formalized network of artistic researchers in jazz, open dialogue on the state of artistic research in jazz internationally and increase visibility of artistic research in jazz as an independent sub-discipline. The network has organized two conferences (2019 and 2021) and its member have delivered individual papers and organized in various panel discussions on artistic research in jazz (e.g. Weimar Jazz Research Conference 2018, Rhythm Changes Conference

Graz 2018, JEN Conference 2021, AEC PJP 2021, INARJ 2021, Documenting Jazz 2021, International Society for Jazz Research Graz 2021).

Applied Jazz Research: Jazz research covers a wide spectrum of types of research. On one end of the spectrum are the scholarly articles that follow the 'rigor' of scientific research. In this kind of research all content must be based upon verifiable and falsifiable facts. On the other end of the spectrum are the creative opinions and ideas based upon observations and experiences in jazz performance and jazz education. Applied jazz research is often a kind of practice based research in which the self-observation is at the core. The observer can be identical to the one observed: the performer, the educator. This has raised and is still raising questions and debate about 'critical distance'. While much of the 'practice based research' in music still is modeled after historical models of musicology, 'applied jazz research' is taking new inroads to jazz research. Simply put, 'applied jazz research' is the kind of research that has direct and immediate links and consequences for jazz performance and jazz education. Applied jazz research informs, supports and is integrated in the work of the performer and the educator in jazz.

The panel involves the presentation of the first multi-authored volume in the field, edited by Michael Kahr Artistic Research in Jazz: Positions, Theories, Methods (Routledge 2021, Methods/Kahr/p/book/9780367225957). This book presents the recent positions, theories, and methods of artistic research in jazz, inviting readers to critically engage in and establish a sustained discourse regarding theoretical, methodological, and analytic perspectives. A panel of eleven international contributors from leading institutions worldwide presents an in-depth discourse on shared and specific approaches to artistic research in jazz. The topics addressed throughout consider the cultural, institutional, epistemological, philosophical, ethical, and practical aspects of the discipline, as well as the influence of race, gender, and politics. The book is structured in three parts: first, on topics related to improvisation, theory and history; second, on institutional and pedagogical positions; and third, on methodical approaches in four specific research projects conducted by the authors.

Artistic Research (AR) is situated at the interface between scientific and artistic knowledge. It encompasses various research perspectives such as research on, for and in the arts (Frayling 1993). It is based on a dynamic relationship between scientific and artistic roles and positions; artistic researchers question the separation between research object and subject, embark on questions and problems derived from within the artistic practice and re-integrate research results in new, often experimental forms of practice (Doğantan-Dack 2016). Nevertheless, AR often appears in close interrelation with a range of scientific methods, such as laboratory settings and experiment design, applied phenomenology, music analysis and historical research (Assis 2018). Artistic research has begun to be supported as an academic discipline particularly at European universities but is often explicitly and implicitly evident in works of jazz artists as well as researchers across the globe. Concepts related to AR have been adopted, adapted and complemented over the past two decades in Europe, UK, Australia and South Africa, with the aim to highlight the relevance of arts-based knowledge within academic jazz research, a field historically connected to musicological approaches.

Assis, Paulo De (2018). Experimental Systems and Artistic Research. In Paulo De Assis, Logic of Experimentation. Rethinking Music Performance through Artistic Research. Leuven University Press.
Burke, Rob & Onsman, Andrys (2018). Experimentation in Improvised Jazz. Chasing Ideas.
Burke, Rob & Onsman, Andrys (eds. 2017). Perspectives on Artistic Research in Music.
Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Doğantan-Dack, Mine (ed. 2016), Artistic Practice as Research in Music. Theory, Criticism, Practice. Routledge.
Frayling Christopher (1993). Research in Art and Design. In Royal College of Art Research Papers Series Vol. I/1. Royal College of Art, London.
Frost-Fadnes, Petter (2020). Jazz on the Line. Improvisation in Practice. Routledge.
Kahr, Michael (ed. 2021). Artistic Research in Jazz: Positions, Theories, Methods. Routledge.

GVSA: Grand Valley State University
JMLU: JAM Music Lab Private University for Jazz and Popular Music, Vienna (Austria) KUG: University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz (Austria)
IASJ: International Association of Schools of Jazz UiS: University of Stavangar
RBC: Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Panelists biographies:

Andrew Bain is one of the leading performers and educators in the UK. He has performed at many prestigious venues and festivals around the world with jazz luminaries such as Wynton Marsalis, Natalie Cole, Kenny Wheeler, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman, Bob Mintzer, John Taylor, Mike Gibbs, NDR Big Band, Elliott Sharp, Gavin Bryars, Jason Rebello, Phil Robson, Iain Ballamy, Ivo Neame, Jim Hart, Mark Lockheart, Chris Batchelor, Jacqui Dankworth, Houston Pearson, John Parricelli, Stan Sulzmann, and Sir John Dankworth. Receiving his BMus(Hons) from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2001, Andrew was resident in New York from 2001–2007 gaining his MMus from the Manhattan School of Music in 2003 and performing with Jon Irabagon, Jason Liebman, Mostly Other People Do The Killing, Dave Lalama, Alex Smith, and Matt Brewer. Since relocating back to the UK in 2007, Andrew has played in regular projects directed by Michael Janisch, Paul Booth, and Andre Canniere, as well as appearing with touring artists such as Walter Smith III, Jure Pukl, Tim Armacost, and Patrick Cornelius. Andrew has a trio of his own projects in action at the moment. Player Piano (2015) with Mike Walker, Gwilym Simcock, Iain Dixon, and Steve Watts; Embodied Hope (Whirlwind Recordings 2017) with George Colligan, Jon Irabagon, and Michael Janisch; and his latest project – (no)boundaries (Whirlwind Recordings 2020) – a free improv exploration featuring Peter Evans, Alex Bonney, and John O’Gallagher (March 2020). Andrew is Deputy Head of Jazz and Senior Lecturer at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. He is Artistic Director of Jazz for the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and sits on the steering committee for the International Artistic Jazz Research Symposium. He completed his PhD Empathic Creativity. A Self-Reflexive Approach to Contemporary Jazz Improvisation in summer 2020.

Kurt Ellenberger is a pianist, composer, and author. His writings include a jazz theory book, other pedagogical writings, and many essays that appear in his arts blog entitled ‘Also Sprach FraKathustra’, which was published by The Huffington Post–Arts and Culture until 2017. He is currently a Contributing Writer at All About Jazz.
Ellenberger teaches in the Frederik Meijer Honors College (Grand Valley State University), and he is also a Fulbright Scholar who taught at the Kunstuniversität Graz.

Petter Frost Fadnes is a Norwegian saxophone player, lecturer and researcher based at the University of Stavanger. With a PhD in performance from the University of Leeds, Frost Fadnes was for many years part of the highly creative Leeds music scene, and now performs regularly with The Geordie Approach, Mole and Kitchen Orchestra. He has released several albums, tours internationally, and continues to seek ‘the perfect melody’ through eclectic musical approaches – mostly within the settings of improvised music. Working in parallel as a practice-based researcher, Frost Fadnes’ interest is focused on improvisational thinking; methods and approaches related to performative processes. In parallel with varying degrees of transdisciplinary theory, his research tends to utilize ethnographic and reflective approaches, with the aim to contribute multiple perspectives of subjectivity to the improvisational discourse. With this in mind, Frost Fadnes has published on a wide range of performance-based topics, such as jazz collectives, cultural factories, film scoring, jazz for young people and improvisational pedagogy. He is Professor and Assistant Dean of Research at the Faculty of Performing Arts, and former principal investigator for the HERA-funded research project Rhythm Changes. Jazz Cultures and European Identities. His book, Jazz on the Line – Improvisation in Practice was published in 2020 by Routledge.

Michael Kahr is Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Jazz at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz and Vice-Rector for Research and Quality Management at the Jam Music Lab Private University for Jazz and Popular Music in Vienna, Austria. Moreover, he has taught at the Universities of Sydney, Linz, Salzburg and Vienna. Kahr is a board member of the International Society for Jazz Research, convenor of the International Network of Artistic Jazz Researchers ( and editorial board member of the Journal Jazz Education in Research and Practice (IU Press). He holds a PhD in musicology from the University of Sydney, Australia and is a recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award for research on Clare Fischer. His postdoctoral research project “Jazz & the City. Identity of a Capital of Jazz” ( was financed by the Austrian Science Fund and produced a range of artistic research publications including the award-winning monograph Jazz & the City. Jazz in Graz von 1965 bis 2015 (Leykam, 2016) and the CD Jazz & the City (and me…) (Alessa Records 2016). He edited the volume Artistic Research in Jazz: Positions, Theories, Methods (Routledge 2021) and is currently co-editing the Routledge Companion for Jazz & Gender (2022). As a pianist and composer, he has appeared at festivals and in concert venues across the globe and is featured on several CDs.

Wouter Turkenburg, born in Singapore in 1953, studied classical guitar at the Arnhem Conservatory and Musicology at the Amsterdam University. From 1985 till 2019 he was the director of jazz studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, The Netherlands. In 1989, upon the initiative taken by David Liebman, he and Graham Collier, Royal Academy of Music, London, founded the IASJ, the International Association of Schools of Jazz.


Sorry, this website uses features that your browser doesn’t support. Upgrade to a newer version of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Edge and you’ll be all set.