The AEC Council represents the members of the AEC. It consists of twelve representatives from member institutions in twelve different countries: the Executive Committee (President, Secretary General and two Vice-Presidents) and 9 regular Council members (including a co-opted representative of the AEC Associate Members). The AEC Members elect these representatives for 3-year terms of office during the Association’s annual General Assembly. Council and Executive Committee members may be elected for a maximum of two terms to the same position. The AEC Council meets 3-4 times a year.
The Council is entrusted with the Association’s administration including the administration of the Association’s funds and other properties. It is charged with upholding the mission and character of the Association, determining its strategic direction and overseeing its financial health and solvency. Council also decides upon the admission of active and associate members. The decisions of the Council and the General Assembly are implemented by the AEC Office, which is located in Brussels (Belgium).
Director, Royal Irish Academy of Music, Ireland
Deborah Kelleher has been the Director of the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) since October 2010. Under her leadership, RIAM achieved significant milestones such as introducing specialised undergraduate degrees, establishing the RIAM Podium for performing ensembles and founding Ireland’s first Historical Performance Department. She also facilitated RIAM’s transition to an associate college of Trinity College, resulting in a threefold increase in student enrollment. Deborah’s leadership led to the successful redevelopment of the RIAM campus. Deborah was elected first Vice-President of the AEC in 2016, then President of the AEC in 2022.
Rector, Mozarteum University Salzburg, Austria
Elisabeth Gutjah at the age of 26 was appointed as professor at the Trossingen State Academy of Music in Baden-Württemberg and in 2006 was elected as Rektorin of her institution. In 2018, Elisabeth Gutjahr became the first woman to be elected Rector of the Mozarteum University Salzburg. Interdisciplinary projects are her main objective and interest as well as the advancement of digitisation. She has been a member of supervisory boards and committees (including the Mozarteum Foundation, Camerata Salzburg; Centre de Musique Baroque Versailles, Music Friends of Donaueschingen). Since 2022 she is “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres”.
Principal, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Scotland
Jeffrey Sharkey is a highly accomplished musician and educator. With degrees in piano and composition, as well as a master’s degree in philosophy, he has held prestigious positions at renowned institutions such as the Peabody Institute and currently is a principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Sharkey’s dedication to promoting the arts and advocating for arts education has made him a respected figure in the field. As a Council member and vice-president of AEC, he continues to make a significant impact in shaping the future of the arts.
Professor, University of the Arts Belgrade, Serbia
Ivana Perković holds a PhD and has extensive teaching experience at various institutions. She has chaired the international Erasmus+ project DEMUSIS and completed numerous national and international funded projects. Ivana is a published author and editor of scholarly monographs and has published over 100 studies in journals. Her areas of expertise include (Serbian) Orthodox Music, XVIIIth century Western Music, and Music entrepreneurship. She is a member of musicological societies and serves as AEC Secretary General since 2022, following her appointment as an AEC council member in 2019.
Professor, ESMAE Porto, Portugal
Bruno Pereira is a singer, performer, teacher, and researcher with a PhD in Arts-Contemporary performative practices. He specializes in voice, body, and improvisation and is a member of i2ADS at the Fine Arts School-University of Porto. Bruno has held various roles, including executive board member of the Portuguese Association of Cultural Management, artistic director of the HARMOS international chamber music festival, and executive/co-artistic director of ESMAE 503, a 21st-century music online channel. He has been actively involved in AEC, serving as chair of the IRC WG from 2017 to 2019 and being elected as an AEC Council member in 2022.
International Relations Coordinator, pôle Aliénor, France
Claire Michon is an accomplished performer and teacher specialised in polyphonic music and musical rhetoric. She has made contributions to a renewed approach of 17th-century repertoire and currently focuses on Renaissance polyphony and recorder consort. At the Pôle Aliénor, Claire coordinates the Early Music department, teaches recorder and trains instrumental and vocal teachers. She actively fosters partnerships for student and staff mobility, including her involvement in the Erasmus+ project TUNE. Claire is also engaged in the educational organisation ANESCAS and holds a position in the AEC Council since 2019.
Keld Hosbond is a leading figure in music education. As Head of International Relations and Vice Principal at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus/Aalborg (RAMA), he has spearheaded groundbreaking projects like GLOMUS, ANMA, and Danish Culture Capacity building programs for Mali and Afghanistan. Keld’s influence extends globally, with collaborations in the Nordic countries, the EU, and beyond. He has created initiatives on gender, diversity, e-learning, and big band music. Additionally, Keld has coordinated projects on entrepreneurship and trans-disciplinarity. His dedication to shaping the future of music education is evident in his teachings on development theory, music culture, and entrepreneurship for music students.
Vice-Principal, Royal Conservatory of The Hague, Netherlands
Martin Prchal, Vice-Principal of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, pursued music studies in Czechoslovakia, the UK, and the Netherlands. He served as the first AEC Chief Executive from 2001 to 2011 and initiated projects like ‘Polifonia’ and ‘Mundus Musicalis’ that developed tools related to the Bologna Declaration Process. Prchal co-founded ‘MusiQuE – Music Quality Enhancement‘ and has published articles on higher music education, internationalisation, and quality assurance. He is currently the vice-president of the European Chamber Music Academy (ECMA) and was elected as an AEC Council member in 2022.
Professor, Conservatorio di Milano, Italy
Italian composer and conductor, collaborated with such orchestras as Teatro alla Scala Chamber Orchestra, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Orchestra Sinfonica Arturo Toscanini, Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Arena di Verona, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano and many others, conducting world premieres and recording for RAI and RTVE. As a professor at the Milan Conservatoire of Music Theory, he designed and coordinated a specialisation course “Musica d’oggi”. He is a member of the board of the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani, of the Comitato Nazionale Arrigo Boito and of the Steering Group of the Italian Directors Network. He is an ANVUR Evaluation Expert and Member of the AEC Council.
Vice-rector, Krzysztof Penderecki Academy of Music in Krakow, Poland
Holding degrees in musicology (MA) and in management (PhD) from the Jagiellonian University, Małgorzata Sternal has been active as academic teacher and researcher investigating connections and synergies between music and management. She has published book chapters and papers in peer-reviewed journals on arts management education, entrepreneurship and professional development of musicians, and a handbook on career development for music students. Former board member and vice-president of ENCATC, currently a member of LLL WG in the ARTEMIS project, she has been involved in numerous international projects as coordinator, researcher, workshop leader and speaker. She was elected as an AEC Council member in 2023.
Barbara Maria Willi
Dean, Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno – Faculty of Music, Czech Republic
Barbara Maria Willi is a harpsichordist, researcher, programmer and currently dean of the Music Faculty of the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts Brno, Czech Republic. Her innovative approach has impacted on the academic life of her home institution as evidenced by several study programs that she has established. In her role as dean, she has implemented support structures for enhancing a socially safe environment for students and employees through a new support centre and through the appointment of an ombudsperson. Her investment in the East-west artistic and educational experiences led to the creation of the first Early Music and Organ Department in Czech Republic.
Under her leadership, sustainable forms of cooperation and education have gained closer attention. One of the outcomes of this strategic orientation is the long-term international Joint Study Programme, “European Masters of Early Music”, a cooperation between JAMU Brno and The Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Further steps in enhancing green forms of academic partnership target support for research into the use of digital technologies within academic exchange and new teaching formats, on both national and international levels.
Dean, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, United-States
Abra Bush, the David Henry Jacobs Bicentennial Dean and professor of music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from The Ohio State University and a Master of Music from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. Previously, she served as senior associate dean at the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute and as the first woman director of the Music Division at The Boston Conservatory. Abra Bush is a renowned soprano who has performed in various opera roles and given recitals, master classes, and oratorio performances across the U.S. and in China. She is also a respected presenter at national music conferences.
Anothai Nitibhon finished her PhD in Composition from the University of Edinburgh and is now a chair for the postgraduate program at the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music (PGVIM). As a composer and artist, she creates and curates many concerts and exhibitions. She also hosted an annual International Symposium and ASEAN Youth Ensemble Project at PGVIM; both events focus on exploring the context in which Western and local music can encourage dialogue while remaining connected to the people and their local values. Since 2023 she is the president of SEADOM.
Ian Horsbrugh, Former Principal Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, UK
Johannes Johansson, Former Rector Royal College of Music, Stockholm, Sweden
The AEC is fortunate in the quality of the individuals who have served the Association as Presidents. The two most recent Presidents to complete a full double-term of office were made Honorary Presidents at the Congresses where they each stepped down – Ian Horsbrugh in 2004 and Johannes Johansson in 2010.
Sadly, both Ian and Johannes are no longer with us. Ian passed away on the 22nd July 2006 and Johannes on 30th May 2012. Their Honorary Presidencies stand in perpetuity as a symbol of the outstanding contributions they both made to the development of the AEC and of the enduring gratitude of the AEC membership for all their achievements while in office.
Honorary Secretary General
George Caird, Principal Birmingham Conservatoire, UK