Cultural studies, Musicology, Library-related studies: PhD

Longo Raffaele. New compositional paths based on the harmonic language of Elliott Carter and deconstructivism.


This research by Raffaele Longo links composition to music theory from an innovative methodological standpoint. The original character of this project relies on the definition of a new paradigm in music composition. The researcher will investigate if and how the harmony of Elliott Carter (1908–2012) —as it was systematized in his handbook— can be the driver to explore novel composition paths by testing the values of a “new humanistic” prospect through the deconstructionist approach. Carter’s harmonic world here assumes the role of a postmodern music grammar (in the nature of a kind of “Renaissance studio”). Simultaneously, the research also attempts to innovate creatively by positing a new compositional paradigm based on the ultimate resultants of poststructuralism, all within the framework of a transformational-generative approach.


Vertommen Luc. Context, study and disclosure of the music for wind orchestra of the Synthetists.


Les Synthétistes was a collective of Belgian composers (René Bernier, Francis de Bourguignon, Gaston Brenta, Théo De Joncker, Robert Otlet, Marcel Poot, Maurice Schoemaker, and Jules Strens) who united in 1925 on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of their celebrated teacher, Paul Gilson. Their intention was to synthesize various trends in music from 1925 onwards. During this period in Belgian music history, the concert band was an important tool for composers, especially because of the lack of a professional symphony orchestra. Consequently, the Synthetists composed a considerable canon of original symphonic works for wind orchestra.
With this PhD research, Luc Vertommen seeks to bring new insights into the development and historical significance of Belgian music with an emphasis on music for wind orchestra and its considerable international relevance. The ultimate goal is to generate broad interest and stimulate the study and performance of this repertoire. First, theoretical and contextual research will lead to an in-depth study of the life and work for wind orchestra of Marcel Poot, the protagonist of the Synthetists. This will result in a biography and definitive works list of Poot’s works for wind orchestra. Secondly, the identification of dates and source material will lead to the compilation of an exhaustive list of original works for wind orchestra composed by all Synthetists. To date, more than sixty original works have already been selected for their intrinsic musical value and their international and historical importance. Thirdly, and also the focus of this PhD, practice-based artistic research will lead to the editing and publishing of the selected works.


Cultural studies, Musicology, Library-related studies


The research group Cultural Studies, Musicology & Library Studies covers scholarly research in historical musicology carried out by musicologists and music theorists as well as historians and musicians.

First, there is significant attention for the own patrimony and the disclosing of the rich historical collection of the library of the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel under the direction of head librarian Johan Eeckeloo. Furthermore, the research group focuses on the study of the music history of Brussels and Flanders in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, and this on (1) individual composers such as Paul Gilson and Victor Legley; (2) the institutional context of musical life such as the history of the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel (including the library and a number of instrument classes), of the Belgian public broadcasting network (the NIR/INR, BRT, VRT) with its orchestral landscape, and of the Koninklijke Muntschouwburg; (3) genres such as Flemish radio plays.

In 2021, a research cluster on music and language was also established, focusing mainly on the word-tone relationship in vocal music. In a first phase the group will focus on the Second Viennese School and in a second phase this will evolve to French vocal music of the fin-de-siècle.