The Music Student Conference 2024 in Kristiansand!

Music Student Conference 2024: Bridging Genres and Traditions in Kristiansand


On April 26th, the hallowed halls of the BARE studenthus in Kristiansand reverberated with the exchange of ideas and melodies as the Music Student Conference 2024 took center stage. Hosted by the University of Agder (UiA) and supported by CreaTeME, this year’s conference marked a significant milestone as it made its debut in Kristiansand, embracing the theme “In the Same Boat?”

The theme was not merely a catchy phrase but a guiding principle to delve deep into the shared experiences, challenges, and triumphs of music students across genres and academic landscapes. From classical virtuosos to avant-garde experimentalists, from jazz to electronic music, the conference aimed to foster a sense of unity and understanding among diverse musical communities.

At the heart of the conference were thought-provoking lectures and discussions that tackled prevalent prejudices and expectations associated with performers in different genres. Participants engaged in introspective dialogues, questioning preconceived notions and exploring the multifaceted nature of musical expression. How do societal perceptions shape our understanding of musical genres? What biases hinder our ability to appreciate unfamiliar styles? These were just a few of the pressing questions that fueled the discourse.

One of the highlights of the conference was the exploration of strategies for embracing new genres. In a world where musical boundaries are increasingly fluid, the ability to adapt and evolve becomes paramount for aspiring musicians. Workshops offered practical insights into techniques for immersing oneself in unfamiliar musical traditions, encouraging attendees to step out of their comfort zones and embrace the rich tapestry of global music.

However, the conference went beyond theoretical discussions, emphasizing the practical benefits of cross-genre collaboration. Participants discovered the value of leveraging each other’s knowledge and experiences, transcending traditional boundaries to create innovative and inclusive musical landscapes. Whether it was incorporating elements of classical composition into electronic music or infusing jazz improvisation with hip-hop sensibilities, the conference underscored the transformative power of interdisciplinary exchange.

The organizers of the conference were keen to emphasize its collaborative nature, inviting attendees to contribute their suggestions and ideas for shaping the program. This inclusive approach ensured that the conference truly reflected the interests and concerns of the music student community, fostering a sense of ownership and camaraderie among participants.

As the day drew to a close, echoes of lively discussions and impassioned debates lingered in the air, serving as a testament to the success of the Music Student Conference 2024. In Kristiansand, a new chapter had been written in the annals of music education—one that celebrated diversity, fostered unity, and embraced the boundless possibilities of musical expression. As attendees bid farewell to BARE studenthus, they carried with them not only newfound knowledge and inspiration but also a renewed sense of solidarity, knowing that they were all indeed “In the Same Boat.


Brathos and Alumni Dialogue: A Fusion of Tradition and Innovation at the Music Student Conference!

The recent installment of the Music Student Conference was ablaze with creative fervor as Brathos, a dynamic duo comprising electric guitar and bass, took the stage. With a unique blend of Norwegian folk music and jazz, Brathos embarked on a sonic exploration of rural melodies and urban improvisations, seamlessly weaving together the tapestry of musical traditions.

Drawing inspiration from the hinterlands and valleys of their heritage, Brathos reimagined traditional folk tunes with a contemporary flair, placing a strong emphasis on improvisation and experimentation. Their performance was a testament to the enduring vitality of folk music, reinvigorated by the spirit of innovation and collaboration.

Joining Brathos on the platform was Ieva Pranevičiūtė, a luminary in the realm of composition, sound art, and horn performance. Hailing from Vilnius, Lithuania, Pranevičiūtė’s journey from classical hornist to electronic innovator has been marked by a relentless pursuit of sonic exploration. Throughout her studies at the Norwegian Academy of Music, she delved into the realms of live electronics, field recordings, and synthesizer composition, pushing the boundaries of traditional instrumentation to create immersive sonic landscapes that defy categorization.

In addition to Pranevičiūtė’s groundbreaking work, the conference welcomed Adrian McAllister, a versatile multi-instrumentalist and choral conductor based in Kristiansand. McAllister’s involvement in bands like Balgyp and Crystal Horizon exemplifies his eclectic musical palette, spanning genres and traditions with aplomb.

The dialogue that ensued between Brathos, Pranevičiūtė, and McAllister illuminated the intersection of tradition and innovation in contemporary music. From the intricate interplay of folk melodies and jazz harmonies to the transformative potential of electronic experimentation, the participants explored the myriad ways in which musical boundaries can be transcended and traditions reimagined.

As the event drew to a close, attendees departed with a newfound appreciation for the rich tapestry of musical expression and a sense of excitement for the boundless possibilities that lie ahead. Brathos and the distinguished panel of alumni had succeeded in not only entertaining but also inspiring a new generation of musicians to push the boundaries of convention and embrace the spirit of creative exploration. Aksel and Magnhild Shine at the Music Student Conference! In a celebration of musical talent and scholarly discourse, the Music Student Conference welcomed two distinguished guests, Aksel Dueled and Magnhild Selås, to its prestigious platform.

Their contributions illuminated diverse facets of the arts and academia, captivating audiences and sparking thought-provoking conversations. Aksel Dueled, a first-year master’s student in classical piano at the University of Agder (UiA), graced the stage with his virtuosic prowess and unwavering passion for Rachmaninoff.

As he shared his dedication to honing his craft, Dueled’s anticipation for performing at the Music Student Conference was palpable. His commitment to excellence and musical expression served as an inspiration to aspiring musicians in attendance, underscoring the transformative power of dedication and practice in the pursuit of artistic mastery. In a departure from the musical realm,

Magnhild Selås, Professor of Nordic Linguistics and Chair of the Language Policy Committee at UiA, offered invaluable insights into the linguistic landscape of higher education. With a focus on the status of Norwegian as a scholarly language in universities and colleges, Selås shed light on the challenges and responsibilities faced by academic institutions in preserving and developing specialized terminology. Her presentation delved into the pivotal role of English in higher education, exploring its implications for knowledge dissemination and public discourse. By addressing these pressing issues, Selås prompted attendees to consider the complex interplay between language, education, and cultural identity in a globalized world. The juxtaposition of Dueled’s musical performance and Selås’s scholarly discourse underscored the interdisciplinary nature of the Music Student Conference, where artistic expression and intellectual inquiry converge to inspire and enlighten.

As attendees departed, they carried with them not only the melodies of Dueled’s Rachmaninoff but also the thought-provoking insights of Selås, fostering a deeper appreciation for the symbiotic relationship between music and academia. The Music Student Conference continues to serve as a beacon of creativity and knowledge, uniting musicians, scholars, and enthusiasts in a shared celebration of the arts. Through the contributions of individuals like Aksel Dueled and Magnhild Selås, it remains a vibrant platform for dialogue, discovery, and inspiration.

Salar and Educational Discourse: A Fusion of Music and Knowledge


In the dynamic landscape of music education, the intersection of tradition and innovation often sparks illuminating conversations and enriching exchanges. Such was the case at the recent event “Salar og utdanningsprat,” where music, culture, and education converged in a symphony of ideas and melodies.


Salar Nikkar, a prodigious talent in the realm of classical piano, captivated the audience with his virtuosity and cultural resonance. Having embarked on his musical journey at the age of 16, Nikkar’s path led him from the storied halls of the University of Tehran to the vibrant campus of the University of Agder (UiA), where he currently pursues a master’s degree in classical piano. Drawing upon his rich heritage and passion for traditional music from the South Caucasus, Nikkar mesmerized attendees with an improvisational exploration of folk melodies from the region—a poignant reminder of the universal language of music that transcends borders and generations.

Central to the event was an engaging discussion on music education, featuring esteemed guests Randi Eidsaa and Hilde Norbakken, accompanied by moderators Edward Thatcher Haavalsen and Kristina Larsen Rusdal. Randi Margrethe Eidsaa, a luminary in the field of music pedagogy, illuminated the audience with her insights gleaned from years of teaching, research, and interdisciplinary collaborations. From her involvement in international projects like REACT (Rethinking Music Performance in Higher Education Institutions in Europe) to her dedication to nurturing creativity and ensemble work among students, Eidsaa’s contributions underscored the transformative power of music education in shaping future generations of musicians and scholars.


Similarly, Hilde Norbakken, Vice Chair of CreaTeME and a respected figure in the realm of rhythmic music, brought her wealth of experience as a performer and educator to the forefront. With a keen focus on vocal development, genre expertise, and songwriting, Norbakken emphasized the importance of fostering artistic individuality and technical proficiency in aspiring vocalists—a testament to her commitment to nurturing talent and innovation within the music community.

Adding a scholarly perspective to the dialogue was Eirik Sørbø, a distinguished academic and researcher at the Institute of Rhythmic Music at UiA. Sørbø’s recent doctoral dissertation, “Development of Practices and Approaches to Electronic Popular Music Education,” sheds light on innovative pedagogical approaches in contemporary music education, offering valuable insights into the evolving landscape of musical instruction and practice.


As the event drew to a close, participants left invigorated by the stimulating discussions, inspired by Nikkar’s musical prowess, and enriched by the collective wisdom shared by Eidsaa, Norbakken, and Sørbø. “Salar og utdanningsprat” served as a poignant reminder of the transformative power of music education—a journey that transcends boundaries, embraces diversity, and empowers individuals to explore new horizons of creativity and expression.

Photo by Askil Holm