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Sibelius Academy Guide for Doctoral Studies in Music: IV Instructions for artistic committee chair



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

Artistic Demonstration: a combination of five entities called Components. Together, the Components of an Artistic Demonstration must be equal to five Demonstration Recitals, both in terms of duration and artistic ambition. The Components are defined in the Candidate's doctoral study plan.

Demonstration Recital: a recital constituting a Component in the Candidate's Artistic Demonstration.

Component: for example, a demonstration recital, a recording of such a recital, a publically available recording of some other kind, a performance, an artistic presentation or a display, a liturgy, a composition or a score.

Artistic Committee: the five-member panel of experts evaluating the Components of the Artistic Demonstration. Every Candidate has an individually appointed Artistic Committee.

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, during which the participants discuss the artistic Component(s) the Committee has just evaluated.

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 Board´s Division for Doctoral Education and Research.

An Artistic Committee and a Committee Chair will be appointed to each candidate in the Arts Study Programme to evaluate all Components in the Artistic Demonstration, such as concerts, compositions or recordings. The Committee is appointed by the Academy Board 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 Component is a publically available recording, it is to be evaluated according to a separate evaluation procedure. If the Artistic Committee rejects a component, it can ask the Candidate to renew it. In addition to the approval or non-approval, the Committee gives the Candidate feedback and 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 all performances in the Candidate's Artistic Demonstration
  • 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 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.




The recording must always be pre-examined. If the pre-examiner approves the recording, the Candidate submits 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
  • Using the members’ individual comments, the Chair formulates a brief statement, asks for the members’ approval for it, and sends it to the Candidate.
  • After an Artistic Demonstration 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 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 Academy Board´s 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

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