The EMTC award 2013

In the European Music Therapy Confederation, the EMTC award is given to a person who has contributed in a unique and outstanding way to the development in Europe of the music therapy profession. Every three years, before the annual General Assembly, the EMTC announces a call for nominations. The country representatives from each of the EMTC member countries are invited to send a nomination letter to the board with a justification for the nomination. At the General Assembly, after the nominees and the justifications are presented, the country representatives vote for the candidate of their choice.

Previous awardees were: Tony Wigram, 2004; David Aldridge, 2007; Chava Sekeles, 2010.

This year, at the general assembly in Oslo, Norway, the 28 member countries voted for a joint 2013 EMTC award to be shared by Brynjulf Stige and Gro Trondalen.

The reason for this choice in 2013 is that Brynjulf Stige and Gro Trondalen, both from Norway, have shown unique skills for cooperation and for giving theoretical inputs to the music therapy profession. In the justification, it is stressed that in the EMTC there is a focus on collaboration. Trondalen and Stige and their way of working together provide a living example of close collaboration while working in different training programs. In Norway, there are two independent national training programmes, each with extensive research and many activities, but still able to work together in many different ways. The latest example is their working together on the organization of this EMTC European Congress. Both have been active in the EMTC from the very beginning, but have also devoted their time to teaching, research, political work for the recognition of music therapy at a national level, including the initiation of respectively GAMUT – The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre at the University of Bergen and the Centre for Music and Health at the Norwegian Academy of Music.

Moreover, and together with Even Ruud, they have contributed widely to the development of a reflective and critical approach to music therapy theory. We see that they, and their colleagues, have played a major role in e.g. the development of not only the theory of music therapy and a relational and intersubjective approach to music therapy, but they also have contributed to a cultural perspective to music therapy and community music. They are often invited to serve on evaluation committees, and have several engagements as reviewers on scientific publications.

Both awardees are music therapists, second generation music therapy trainers, professors, researchers, and authors of works dealing with the humanistic and philosophical perspectives of music therapy.

Dr. Gro Trondalen is Professor in Music Therapy and Head of the Centre for Music and Health at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. She is an experienced music therapy clinician and supervisor in the field of child welfare and adult mental health and maintains a private practice in music therapy. Her research focus has been on clinical work linked to philosophical and theoretical perspectives. She presents and publishes her work frequently both at a national and at an international level. In addition, she is one of the first European female professors. She manages to integrate being a clinician and carrying out clinical work and at the same time being an educator and researcher. Immediately after this conference, she is organizing a research seminar together with international colleagues worldwide, with the aim to ensure and promote transnational collaboration between music therapy doctoral training programmes.

Dr. Brynjulf Stige founded the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, a highly respected journal that has reached a high impact factor (1.636), impressive for a journal coming from such a small field. The journal is now ranked as number 12 of a total of 66 journals in the category ‘Rehabilitation’ in the Social Science Citation Index. If there were a category for music therapy journals, according to impact factors, it would have been ranked as number one, worldwide. A professional journal of such high quality is very important for European music therapy. Stige edited the first issue in 1992, and he served as editor in chief until 2006, when professor Dr. Christian Gold took over and who continues today to the development of the journal. In addition, Stige initiated and chaired the First Nordic Music Therapy Congress in Sandane, 1991. Such congresses have since been organized every third year (with the exception of 2000). The first congress in Sandane included discussions about Nordic cooperation and the need for a Nordic journal and a Nordic research network (which the Aalborg milieu established and hosted as a NorFa network from 1993). Currently Stige is professor in Music Therapy at the University of Bergen and Head of Research at GAMUT – The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre. He is a leader of the Nordic network Music therapy for older adults and he is Founding co-editor of the Open Access journal Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy.

Trondalen and Stige chair the European Music Therapy Congress 2013, continue the pioneer work of Professor Dr. Even Ruud in two different parts of Norway, and show that bringing different perspectives on music therapy makes the profession grow not only at a national level, but also internationally. This is of great inspiration to the European music therapy profession and has developed – and still will continue to develop – European music therapy. On behalf of the EMTC, President, Prof. Dr. Hanne Mette Ridder Vice-President/General Secretary, Dr. Adrienne Lerner Vice-President/Treasurer, Mr. Ferdinando Suvini