Siirry pääsisältöön

Sibelius Academy Guide for Doctoral Studies in Music: II Instructions for composition committee chair




In the Arts Study Programme, the demonstration of proficiency consists of Artistic Demonstration and a Thesis.

Artistic Demonstration: a portfolio of entities called Components. At least one Component in the Artistic Demonstration must be a Composition Concert. Only in exceptional cases – for instance, a full-scale opera or a comparable work that is highly challenging to realize – may a score suffice alone as an artistic Component. The combined length of all Components in the Artistic Demonstration must be equal to that of 2–3 Composition Concerts; when assessing the sufficiency of the combined length of the Components, the Candidate's compositional style and technique is to be taken into consideration. Artistically, all Components must be ambitious enough to be suitable numbers in a Composition Concert. All Components in the Candidate's Artistic Demonstration must be defined in his/her doctoral study plan.

Composition Concert: a concert that is part of the Candidate's Artistic Demonstration.

Component: a Composition Concert or a comparable public and recorded concert, a recording of a concert, or a score. In all cases, the Candidate must provide the scores of the performed compositions.

Evaluation Meeting: a meeting of the Artistic Committee, to be held immediately after evaluating an artistic Component. In the meeting, the Committee makes an initial decision about approving or rejecting the Component.

Feedback Discussion: a meeting between the Candidate and the Artistic Committee, to be held immediately after the Evaluation Meeting. In it, the participants discuss the Artistic Component(s) the Committee has just evaluated. If a concert contains only one work by the Candidate, it is not necessary to arrange a feedback discussion; in such a case, each Committee member sends his/her written feedback to the Chair of the Committee; the Chair, in turn, makes sure that the Candidate gets the feedback.

Artistic Committee: the five-member panel of experts evaluating the Artistic Demonstration; its task is to evaluate the Composition Concerts and other concerts containing the Candidate's works; at times the evaluation may have to be done with the help of scores and recordings delivered to the Committee. Every Candidate has an individually appointed Artistic Committee.

Grade Committee: a committee convening immediately after the public examination of the demonstration of proficiency. It consists of the Chair of the public examination, who will also be the Chair of the Grade Committee as a non-voting member, the Chair of the Artistic Committee and one of the Thesis Examiners. The Grade Committee proposes a grade for the demonstration of proficiency, to be confirmed by the Academic Council.

An Artistic Committee and a Committee Chair will be appointed for each candidate in the Arts Study Programme; the task of the Committee is to evaluate all Components in the Artistic Demonstration, such as concerts, compositions or recordings. The Committee is appointed by the Academic Council on the proposal of the Doctoral School. The Committee listens to and evaluates the performances and either approves or rejects them immediately after the concert. If the Committee rejects an artistic Component as a whole, or individual parts of the Component, or a composition performed in some other context, or, exceptionally, a composition evaluated with the help of the score alone, the Committee may ask the Candidate to revise the rejected portion(s). In addition to the approval or non-approval, the Committee gives the Candidate feedback, and thus advises him/her in preparation for the following artistic Components. If necessary, the Committee can suggest supplementary studies or changes in the remaining artistic Components.



The Chair

  • directs the Committee and enforces the rules and recommendations governing the work of an Artistic Committee
  • listens to the performances of the works in the Candidate's Composition Concert, the works in the rest of the Artistic Demonstration, and any potential recordings included in the project
  • presides over the Evaluation Meeting and the Feedback Discussion
  • appoints a substitute for him/herself if prevented from participating in an evaluation of the Components
  • ensures that the Committee is complete (meaning that at least three members, including the Chair, are present) and nominates an auxiliary member or members to the Committee if the evaluation of an artistic Component is at risk of being cancelled due to a short- handed Committee
  • ensures that the Committee members are aware of the nature and objectives of the Candidate's demonstration of proficiency and if necessary, summons a meeting of the Committee in order to inform the members about these issues




After the Composition Concert or other event containing performances of the artistic Components, the Chair presides over the following two meetings:

  1. Evaluation Meeting, where the committee makes an initial decision about approving or rejecting Component(s) (see also the paragraph “Evaluating an individual Component in the Artistic Demonstration” below)
  2. Feedback Discussion, with the Candidate’s participation. After the Feedback Discussion, the Artistic Committee Chair informs the Candidate about their approval or non-approval. The Candidate cannot be present when the Committee decides upon the approval or non- approval.


The Chair’s Responsibilities during the Evaluation Meeting and Feedback Discussion:

  • ensuring that the Evaluation Meeting and Feedback Discussion are conducted in an orderly fashion, that all comments stay on topic and that feedback is given in a dialogic context in a critical but reasonable and constructive fashion
  • ensuring that all Committee members express their opinions freely and independently
  • ensuring that the Candidate has the opportunity to participate in the Feedback Discussion and respond freely and independently to the Committee's criticisms and questions
  • asking the Candidate to step out of the room momentarily if the Committee needs to ponder a specific viewpoint during a Feedback Discussion
  • ensuring that the Candidate is informed about the approval or non-approval of the artistic Component immediately after the Feedback Discussion


The Chair’s Responsibilities after the Evaluation Meeting and Feedback Discussion:

  • in case of non-approval, writing and signing a statement justifying the Committee’s decision and submitting it to the office of the Doctoral School within one week, mentioning any potential opposition to the non-approval
  • collecting and preserving Committee members’ individual evaluations of the artistic Component(s) for the eventual Final Statement and ensuring that there are sufficient notes on the Feedback Discussions
  • filling out the official form, recording the details of the evaluation and submitting the form to the office of the Doctoral School within one week
  • in case the Candidate has study rights for the degree of Licentiate only, asking the Artistic Committee to state whether or not the Candidate should continue to the doctoral level, in which case the Chair submits the statement to the office of the Doctoral School
  • informing, whenever necessary, the head of the Doctoral School and the Candidate's academic supervisor about the Candidate's progress and the state of the evaluation process
  • presiding over a discussion on the grade for the entire Artistic Demonstration, after the last artistic Component has been evaluated, as based on the individual evaluations of the Components
  • writing and signing a Final Statement on the entire Artistic Demonstration after consulting with all participants in the evaluation process, including the names of all Artistic Committee members, wherein an individual member of the Committee, if desired, can write a separate statement of his/her own


The Chair’s Tasks related to the Public Examination:

  • participating with other Artistic Committee members in the Public Examination of the demonstration of proficiency and reading the Committee's Final Statement(s) on the Artistic Demonstration
  • posing questions as a Committee member to the Candidate in the Public Examination about the content and execution of the Artistic Demonstration
  • adding new information to the Final Statement after consulting with other Artistic Committee members if warranted by the Public Examination, wherein the Chair and the Committee members participating in the Public Examination shall also confirm their proposed grade
  • submitting the grade proposal to the Chair of the Grade Committee (who is also the Chair of the Public Examination) immediately after the above-mentioned confirmation
  • finalizing the Committee's Final Statement, addressing it to the Academy Board´s Division for Doctoral Education and Research. and submitting it to the office of the Doctoral School within one week of the Public Examination

If there are questions concerning the functions of the Artistic Committee and its Chair that these instructions do not cover, the statutes to be consulted are the Degree Regulations of the Sibelius Academy and other such regulations.




A recording and its corresponding score must always be pre-examined; if there is no recording due to productional reasons, the score is to be pre-examined alone. If the pre-examiner approves the recording and/or the score, the Candidate submits them/it to all Artistic Committee members.

Immediately after the pre-examination, the Chair contacts the Artistic Committee members with a deadline for the members’ written comments as to whether or not they approve the component.

  • If opinions about approving the Component differ, the evaluation will take place as described in the paragraph “Evaluating an Artistic Component” below.
  • Each Artistic Committee member writes a statement of his/her own and submits it to the Chair, who in turn submits it to the Candidate.
  • After the Component has been approved, the Chair sees that appropriate credits are entered in the record of credits.

If the Candidate wants to discuss the statement with the Artistic Committee, a meeting may be convened if the practical arrangements can be kept within reason (an international Committee member, for example, cannot be obliged to participate). The Chair will inform the Candidate about the possibility of a meeting.




An individual Component of the Artistic Demonstration will be evaluated either as “approved” or “non-approved”.

  • If the Artistic Committee is not unanimous, the grade will be settled by a vote; if the vote results in a tie, the Chair has the casting vote.




When all Components in the Artistic Demonstration have been approved, the Artistic Committee agrees on a provisional grade for the entire demonstration. The grade can be either “approved” or “passed with distinction”. The latter can be bestowed upon an Artistic Demonstration that undisputedly fulfils the criteria of an exceptionally high-grade entirety, in terms of artistic quality, the Candidate's artistic development during the demonstration, the ambitiousness of the objectives of the doctoral project and the functionality of the Components. The grade “passed with distinction” can be given only if the Artistic Committee is unanimous.

* * *


A separate Grade Committee will propose a grade for the demonstration of proficiency, to be presented to the Academy Board´s Division for Doctoral Education and Research. The Grade Committee will base its proposition on the Final Statement on the entire Artistic Demonstration (the Composition Concert and performances of works in other Artistic Demonstration Components) and Thesis, on the provisional grade suggested by the Artistic Committee and on the manner in which the Candidate defends his/her project in the public examination. The final grade is then determined by the Division for Doctoral Education and Research, based on the suggestion of the Grade Committee.

The grade for the demonstration of proficiency can be either “approved” or “non-approved”. Moreover, in case of an exceptionally high-level demonstration of proficiency, the grade “passed with distinction” can be granted. The latter grade is possible only if proposed by both the Artistic Committee and the Thesis Examiner(s).

The Grade Committee convenes immediately after the public examination of the demonstration of proficiency. The Grade Committee consists of the Chair of the public examination, the Chair of the Artistic Committee, and the Thesis Examiner. If there is more than one Thesis Examiner, the one participating in the public examination will also be a member of the Grade Committee. The Chair of the public examination is also the Chair of the Grade Committee. The Chair is not entitled to vote.

Saavutettavuusseloste | Accessibility statement