Symposium 2011

20th International Kodály Symposium

This year the 20th International Kodály Symposium took centre stage in Brisbane Australia during the month of July. Over 200 delegates gathered at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music for four days of academic papers, workshops, musicianship classes, choir, teaching demonstrations and performances.

The theme of the symposium, Shared Visions—Connecting with Kodály, was extremely pertinent. How is it we in the 21st century connect with the philosophy and vision of Kodály? How does this look in practice and how has that vision evolved and changed through time?

Gilbert De Greeve, President of the IKS, posed the following question at the opening ceremony; “Can music change the world?” It is through such gatherings of like minds that the power of music and the prospect of change is such an exciting thing. We all are change agents and as a collective have enormous power and privilege in shaping the music education of the future.

The symposium featured four outstanding keynote presentations from Dr. Liz Mackinlay (Australia), Dr. James Cuskelly (Australia), Dr. Ramona Mohd Tahir (Malaysia) and Dr. László Norbert Nemes (Hungary). The perspectives offered by the keynote presentations framed the focus for the symposium and allowed delegates to connect with the very important issues music educators face today. It is always interesting to note that through discussing these issues at an international level, commonalities are highly present and it is through opportunities such as these symposiums that we can reflect on this on a larger scale.

Delegates were treated to world class performances including the Brisbane Birralee Voices (Brisbane, Australia), Penrohs Chorale (Perth, Australia), internationally awarded Sola Voce Chamber Choir (Brisbane, Australia), the Queensland Kodály Choir (Brisbane, Australia), and most memorably the “Celebration of Malaysian Music” with the Kuala Lumpur Children’s Choir and Malaysian Institute of the Arts Ladies Chorus. Along with these performances the symposium was fortunate to have community choir leader, Fay White, a folk artist-in-residence who allowed delegates to experience the true spirit of the Australian voice.

The symposium featured musicianship classes as part of the offerings to delegates, and many found it a most rewarding and enriching experience to be able to refresh their skills in a non-threatening environment. Along with this a unique aspect of the symposium was the teaching demonstrations. A number of Brisbane schools were able to bring in their students to the symposium venue for live demonstrations of classes in action. Many found this one of the most significant aspects of the symposium allowing delegates to connect and critically reflect on their practice in a relevant and meaningful way.

On behalf of the organising committee we would like to extend our thank you to the International Kodály Society for the opportunity to organise this symposium. We would also  acknowledge with gratitude the efforts and generosity of the members of the Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia (Queensland Branch), and staff of the Cuskelly College of Music who assisted with the symposium at short notice.

Daniel Crump

(See more photos of the Symposium on the Facebook page of the IKS.)