Please find below the programme for the present. Updates will be posted here regularly.

Thursday, August 29

09.00-09.45 Sign up at registration desk


Thematic session 1: Talent

10.15-11.00 Susan Hallam (University of London)
Musical talent: conceptualisation, identification and development

11.00-11.45 Chris Visscher (RU Groningen)
No Goals, No Glory

12.00-12.30Marjès Benoist (Sweelinck Academy, the young talents department of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam), with Aidan Mikdad (11 years old)

12.30-14.00 lunch

Thematic session 2: Excellence

14.00-14.45 Erik Scherder (VU University, Amsterdam)
Cognitive reserve, music, and sports

14.45-15.30 Roger Kneebone (Imperial College London)
Performing Surgery

15.45-16.15Jan Kouwenhoven (speaker), Isabel Vaz (cello) en Jaap Kooi (piano)
Behind the Curtain: Audition Training at the Conservatory of Amsterdam

16.15-16.45 Tea break

Keynote lecture

16:45-17:30 Henkjan Honing (University of Amsterdam)
Tip of the iceberg

17:30-17:45 Announcement: De Creatieve Geest Prijs 2014 ('The Creative Mind Prize 2014'), an initiative of De Freek en Hella de Jonge Stichting

17.45-18.30 Drinks

From 18.30 Dinner

Friday, August 30

10.00-10.15 Welcome

Thematic session 3: Practicing

10.15-11.00 Mariette Huizinga (VU University, Amsterdam)
Succesfull (self-)study: the role of cognitive and socio-emotional development

11.00-11.45 Julia Kursell (University of Amsterdam)
Measuring practice, 1890-1930

12.00-12.30Christopher Powney (National Ballet Academy, Amsterdam), Ernst Meisner and The Junior Company.
Barre: a glimpse of dancers' daily life

12.30-14.00 lunch

Thematic session 4: (Over)load

14.00-14.45 Jacques van Rossum (VU University, Amsterdam)
Monitoring overload in athletes and dancers

14.45-15.30 Eckart Altenmüller (Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien, Hannover)
Healthy musicianship: prevention, cures and challenges in musician's medicine

15.45-16.15 Pauline Luth-Griffioen (International Dance Theatre)
Thoughts of a Dancer

16.15-16.45 Tea break

Keynote lecture

16.45-17.45 Daniel Levitin (McGill University, Montréal)
Talent, practice, excellence, and the joy of music


The programme is structured around four themes:


In this session we will raise the question what talent is, when and how to spot it, and how to foster and develop it. We will collect relevant insights from diverse areas of inquiry and confront these with a number of case studies. The historical dimension will not be forgotten. In the arts, talent has long been indefinable. Paradoxically, this was seen as one of its defining characteristics. On the other hand, performing artists have to meet concrete criteria when they want to join an orchestra, ensemble or company; and the arts are buttressed by formal education. How has the need to compare and select artists for job positions and to formulate educational goals for art schools affected the notion of talent?


For performing complex tasks under great pressure, so as to offer critical audiences a unique experience, stage artists have no equals – except athletes. Knowledge of the ways in which to prepare the human body and mind for such great achievements may be beneficial to other sectors of society. However, in the arts this knowledge is only implicit, or just not available in an organized form. Researchers in the sports have been more successful in coming to grips with it; but then sporting achievements are often quantifiable. What does excellence mean in the performing arts? In this session we will speak about the relevance of sports research for the performing arts; but we will also consider what the latter may contribute to the emerging science of ‘peak performance’.


Practice is the complement of talent. One yields nothing without the other. But what do we practice, and how? Practicing methods often bear the stamp of tradition and experience - they are prescribed on the authority of the already successful. However, the relation between method and success is fuzzy. What do we know about the range and effects of particular forms of practicing behavior? In this session we will look for substantial information that may shed a light on training practices in different sectors of the performing arts. 


What performing artists do for a living makes great demands on their mental and physical condition. The art of performing is at the same time the art of staying healthy. There are many methods of prevention and therapies for recovery – so many, in fact, that it can be difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. Although artists may find help and encouragement in these methods and therapies, their scientific underpinnings are not always transparent. This session revolves around two main questions: do performing art schools have sufficient in-house expertise to provide a coherent and effective resilience programme? And can the health sciences offer adequate answers to questions emerging from artistic practice?