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Sibelius Academy Guide for Doctoral Studies in Music: Production and Assessment of a Doctoral Concert or Recording

General Information Concerning a Doctoral Concert

A doctoral concert is part of the student’s assessed demonstration of proficiency. It is applied for 6 months ( + possible summer break 2 months) prior to the concert by the Taito channel and is registered for 6 weeks before the date of the concert. Registration requires an approved pre-examination of the concert. The student organizes the pre-examination by contacting the pre-examiner appointed by the Board of the Sibelius Academy well in advance before the end of the registration period.

A debut concert may be the first doctoral concert if it is included in the approved doctoral study plan. A Level A concert cannot be transferred and included in a Doctoral or a Licentiate degree.

The student has the right to one hall rehearsal prior to the concert. Additional rehearsal time can be agreed upon separately, if needed. However, before a doctoral concert classrooms may be booked six weeks ahead. NB: Extra booking rights will only be permitted upon specific request. Please, send your request to the Facilities Department,

Outside the doctoral concerts the doctoral students may book classrooms 4 weeks in advance (max 13 hours/week)

The doctoral concerts are videorecorded and archived by the AV-team at Sibelius Academy premises and outside of the fore mentioned organized by doctoral support team (tutti). 

The doctoral concert should primarily be held in the halls of the Sibelius Academy or in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. No rent is charged from the student for using the Academy’s own halls.

If there is a pressing reason to hold the concert somewhere other than the Sibelius Academy, the student is obligated to agree on the matter with the Doctoral School and the artistic committee well ahead of time, about one year in advance

Doctoral concerts are public. More information about the possibility to organize doctoral concerts is available from the producers assigned to the concert The series of doctoral concerts is led by a specialist of the Doctoral School support team.

Applying for a Concert

  1. All doctoral concerts held under the Arts and the Applied Study Programmes are applied for in connection with the general Sibelius Academy concert application period 6 months ( + possible summer break 2 months) before the intended time. More information and the application form are available at Taito channel. Applications are processed and considered at the DocMus Doctoral School.
  2. When setting the date of the concert, the student must confirm that the date suits the schedules of the members of the artistic committee. The concert hall may be reserved as soon as the attendance of them has been clarified. However, the first doctoral concert date is usually determined without agreement with the artistic committee members because the committee is typically not appointed at this moment. The concert is also possible to evaluate from a recording but presence of the evaluators is always recommended.
  3. Before submitting the application, the student must check the availability of the desired hall from Peppi system. In addition to programme information (the performed works), the application must include a brief introduction describing the concert for communication purposes. For practical reasons, it is a good idea to include 2–3 suggestions for concert dates on the application.

The feedback discussions are to be held at the following working day after the concert which will be scheduled after sending the concert invitations appr. a month before the concert.

  1. A cost estimate must be included in the concert application (possible transfers of an instrument, assistant fees, rent of hall outside the SibA etc.).
  2. Once the concert applications have been processed, the artistic committee members will be notified of the date and place of degree concerts by the producer of the concert.


Concert Pre-examination and Registration

  1. Public concerts that are to be assessed for the degree must be pre-examined. Before registration, the student contacts the pre-examiner appointed by the Board of Sibelius Academy to organize the pre-examination of the concert. The pre-examiner then confirms that the postgraduate student is ready to perform the concert programme successfully; in terms of a postgraduate student in Composition, the pre-examiner confirms the quality of the compositions to be performed.In the case of compositions, the pre-examiner includes a statement of no more than 3 000 characters (including spaces) concerning the pre-examined compositions in the registration form.

If the pre-examiner does not approve, the student may appeal to the artistic committee, which may grant the student permission to perform at its own discretion.

The student will send to the pre-examiner the electric registering form of the doctoral concert with the linking paper clarifying the relation of the concert to the whole of the doctoral project. The pre-examiner will return it with appropriate markings for registering to the concert.

  1. The student must register for the concert no later than six weeks before the concert by submitting the electric registration form to the doctoral school specialist Sirpa Järvelä and to the appointed producer. The registration form must bear the signature of the pre-examiner as the proof of approval; the artistic committee cannot assess a concert without approved pre-examination. Based on the registration, the DocMus Doctoral School convenes an artistic (examination) committee (the date has, of course, been set with the committee in advance).

You find the link to the registration form here doctoral concert registration (link).

Concert Flyer and Sheet Music

  1. The concert flyer text is submitted for examination to the artistic dissertation supervisor no later than six weeks prior to the concert. It is essential to agree the examination with the supervisors already at the beginning of the semester because of varying schedules.  In addition to a high quality musical performance and carefully compiled programmes, our concerts are characterized by interesting flyer texts. The artistic dissertation supervisor helps the student to correct minor flaws and provides instructions on how to proceed if there is a need for more extensive editing.
  2. After this, the student delivers the flyer text to the concert producer four weeks prior to the concert. The text must state the name of the full degree and the share of the concert in it.
  3. If the concert programme includes other than standard repertoire compositions, the student sends digital copies of the sheet music directly to the artistic committee. If the material is printed it must be delivered to the office of the DocMus Doctoral School four weeks prior to the concert for delivering forward.

Assessment of Concerts and Recordings

The Board of Sibelius Academy appoints an artistic committee with at least three members to examine the artistic component of the demonstration of proficiency. The Council nominates one member of the artistic committee as the chair. The student may issue a comment on the composition of the examination committee prior to its appointment.

The artistic committee listens to all the concerts and recordings included in the artistic component of the demonstration of proficiency. The evaluation based on a recording of the concert is also accepted but the presence of the evaluator in the concert is always primary target

The artistic committee gives feedback to the student after the concert at the first possible working day. However in the not-scaled-degrees, before the feedback discussion, the members must hold preliminary discussions among themselves as to whether the concert is a pass or a fail. After this, the student is invited to take part in the discussion. In the scaled degree the concerts are approved at the final public examination. Each committee member submits a brief written statement to the chair within one week of each artistic component. The chair fills in the lower section of the registration form/record, indicating whether the concert is a pass or a fail. The chair will submit the filled-up form to the specialist mentioned in the form within two weeks of the concert. A fail decision must include a written statement, which is submitted to the Head of the Doctoral School in question within two weeks of the concert. The performance may be repeated at the committee’s discretion. The possibility to repeat the performance must be stated on the written statement.

The artistic component in a Licentiate Degree must demonstrate high artistic standards. The artistic component in a Doctoral Degree must demonstrate extremely high artistic standards.

Assessment and feedback focus particularly on the standard of the performance, the student’s artistic development during studies, and how the concert and recording programmes function as a whole. In the scaled degree the focus is headed to the whole of the both artistic and resarch components. During the feedback discussion, the committee may propose changes to the programmes of upcoming artistic components. If the student decides to change them, approval must be obtained in the manner determined by the Head of the Doctoral School.

Following the final doctoral concert or equivalent the committee prepares a reasoned written statement to the Board of Sibelius Academy concerning the artistic component of the degree or in the scaled degree of the whole of the degree. The statement must contain a characterization and assessment of each component of the artistic demonstrations, a critical analysis of the performer’s merits, concluding remarks, and a proposed grade (“fail”, “pass”, or, for a special reason, “pass with honours”). The chair discusses the final statement proposal with all members of the committee. The chair may sign the final statement on behalf of the entire committee. The statement must include the names of all committee members who assessed the artistic demonstration. Each member of the board may also provide a separate statement.

The student may issue a comment on the final statement of the artistic committee.

Organizing the Assessment of Recordings

A high-quality audio recording may replace one of the concerts in the Arts Study Programme. The audio recordings are usually released under a commercial record label or the SibaRecords label. The candidate is responsible for producing the audio recording.

Assessment of recordings included in the demonstration of proficiency is organized so that the student fills in the electric registering form of the doctoral concert with the attachments (see above)  and submits the form and the recordings to the pre-examiner for pre-examination. The DocMus Doctoral School convenes the artistic committee. The same procedure applies to assessing recordings as to assessing concerts including feedback discussions.

When You Hold a Doctoral Concert Outside the Sibelius Academy

The same principles, as applicable, apply to doctoral concerts held outside the Soiva Akatemia concert series as to concerts organized as part of the series: applying for a concert, concert registration and pre-examination, concert flyer texts, and sheet music.

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