The Music Research Division

The mission of the Music Research Division is twofold: to contribute to a learning environment which empowers highly talented individuals to realise their full potential, and which stimulates their artistic and intellectual curiosity; and to further the interaction between music education, professional practice and research.

There always have been musicians whose pioneering spirits set them on a research track. Unfortunately, however, such research has seldom been a topic of debate. There are not many channels to share it with other musicians; nor has the training of research and communication skills been a natural part of their professional education. The research division of the CvA should help to change this, as it has arisen from the conviction that:

  • Music practice benefits from a regular exchange of new ideas
  • Musical craftsmanship deserves a more substantial representation in education, in cultural debates, in literature and media.
  • Practicing musicians should be able to act persuasively – in playing, but also in speaking or writing – as representatives of their discipline.
  • Practicing musicians can have an enriching influence on the academic discourse.

A research practice of musicians presupposes an open attitude towards research undertaken by others. Such an attitude cannot be taken for granted at a specialized school that fosters tightly focussed individual education; it is a matter of organization. The research division exchanges knowledge and experience and initiates research projects with other institutions, such as the Department of Behavioural and Movement Sciences of VU University Amsterdam, Leiden University Medical Centre, and the Centre for Human Drug Research. 

Head of Research

Michiel Schuijer studied music theory at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and musicology at Utrecht University, where he obtained his PhD (cum laude) in 2005. He co-founded the Dutch (now Dutch/Flemish) Society for Music Theory, and was editor-in-chief of the Dutch Journal of Music Theory.

Schuijer focuses his own research at the juncture of music theory and historical musicology. In his book  Atonal Music: Pitch-Class Set Theory and Its Contexts he has traced the development in the United States of a body of theory explaining the music of classical modernists (Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Debussy, a.o.) from a mathematical perspective. This book earned him the Emerging Scholar Award of the American Society for Music Theory in 2010.
Michiel Schuijer is also study leader of Composition, Conducting and Music Theory at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.



Curriculum Development in Music Education


Chair in Jazz and Improvised Music (UvA)


Academy for Musicology and Musicianship Amsterdam




Performance, Language and Scholarship


Applications of New Musical Technologies


PhD Research


Master Research




Supported Publications