Alicja Gescinska (PL/BE)
Keynote speech on Friday 23/09, at 11h00

Alicja Gescinska is a Polish-Belgian philosopher, novelist and poet. As an academic, her main areas of expertise are political theory, continental philosophy, and the history of ideas. Apart from her academic work, Gescinska is also one of the leading public intellectuals in Belgium and the Netherlands.

In 2011 she published her critically acclaimed book De verovering van de vrijheid (The Conquest of Liberty), which was nominated for several book prizes, and awarded the Mens.nu Prize for the best non-fiction book of 2011. In 2016 she published her first novel, which won the Debut Prize in Belgium. For the Flemish public broadcaster, she made a philosophical television programme of nineteen episodes in which she visited and talked with intellectuals and artists around the world. In 2018 she published a philosophical essay on the social significance and moral meaning of music. It was shortlisted for the Socrates Cup Prize, which awards the best philosophy book in Belgium and the Netherlands.

In 2019 Gescinska was named one of 40 European Young Leaders by the thinktank Friends of Europe. That year she also published an essay on the social and political responsibility of intellectuals. It won the Liberales Book Prize, an award for the best book in political philosophy. It was also nominated, together with her essay on music, for the Hypatia-prize 2018-2019: a biyearly award for the best book by a female philosopher. In 2022, she received the title of Knight of the Order of King Leopold by the Belgian Royal House.

Maria Pia de Vito (IT)
Panel debate on Music & Society on Saturday 24/09, at 10:45
Moderator of the discussion group on gender balance on Friday 23/09, at 14h30

Maria Pia de Vito is a singer, composer, lyricist and artistic director of various festivals. Her research around singing and voice embraces various fields of action: free jazz and electronics, baroque music, the “songform” with no limitation of genre, the personal re-elaboration of Neapolitan music and culture through the practice of improvisation and the encounter with different cultures and music practices. Since the 80’s she is active on the jazz scene, steadily collaborating with musicians such as John Taylor, Ralph Towner, Ivan Lins, Guinga, Huw Warren, Enrico Rava, Rita Marcotulli, Norma Winstone, and performing with prominent musicians such as Joe Zawinul, Michael Brecker, Peter Erskine, Miroslav Vitous, Uri Caine, Enrico Pieranunzi, Monica Salmaso, Maria Joao and many others. She recorded for ECM the acclaimed project “Il Pergolese”, an improvisational approach to the Opera of Giovanbattista Pergolesi.

Her translation work of lyrics by Chico Buarque de Hollanda from Portuguese to Neapolitan for her project “Core /Coração “, approved and praised by the author, received critic’s acclaim. In 2018 she produced for Parco della Musica records “Moresche ed altre invenzioni”, with Burnogualà large vocal ensemble, a choir that she founded and directed. Recently she released the critically acclaimed album "Dreamers", a survey on the great singer songwriters of the 60/70s, selected amongst 10 records of the year in the Top Jazz 2020 referendum by Musica Jazz.

She has been director of the jazz section of the Ravello Festival 2016/18, and from 2019 she is Artistic Director of the Bergamo Jazz Festival. She also directed the festival Double Sky, Certosa di Padula (August 2021).

Petter Frost Fadnes (NO)
Panel debate on Music & Society on Saturday 24/09, at 10:45

Petter Frost Fadnes is a Norwegian saxophone player, lecturer and researcher based at the University of Stavanger. Frost Fadnes’ interest is focused on improvisational thinking; methods and approaches related to performative processes. In parallel with varying degrees of transdisciplinary theory, his research tends to utilise ethnographic and reflective approaches, with the aim to contribute multiple perspectives of subjectivity to the improvisational discourse. 

With this in mind, Frost Fadnes has published on a wide range of performance-based topics, such as jazz collectives, cultural factories, jazz for young people, film scoring, as well as multiple perspectives on improvisation. He is Professor of Improvised Music at the Faculty of Performing Arts, and his book, Jazz on the Line – Improvisation in Practice, was published in 2020 at Routledge.

Susanna von Canon (NL)
Moderator of the panel debate on Music & Society on Saturday 24/09, at 10:45

Susanna von Canon moved to Europe from the USA in 1979, spent seven years in the classical music management field in Germany working for conductors and soloists. In 1987 she switched to the jazz and impro world in Amsterdam and delved into that vibrant music scene. She spent 15 years as manager of the Willem Breuker Kollektief, adding the ICP to her roster in 1990. She is in charge of recordings, international tours and education.

Currently she is general manager of the ICP orchestra and Han Bennink. Since 2007 she is also manager of trumpet virtuoso Eric Vloeimans. In 2009 she started the Dutch Impro Academy which was a biannual course for intensive training and music making for young international musicians and the masters of improvisation from the Netherlands (also known as New Dutch Swing!) primarily held at the Royal Conservatoire in the Hague.

Susanna is a founder and board member of the Misha Mengelberg Foundation, dedicated to promoting the philosophy and music of Misha Mengelberg.

Janine Irons (UK)
Discussion group on Leadership on Friday 23/09, at 14h30

Janine Irons is the Chief Executive of Tomorrow’s Warriors, a pioneering talent development agency, music educator and creative producer specialising in jazz co-founded by Janine with Gary Crosby OBE in 1991. As an arts leader and consultant, Janine is a passionate advocate of excellence, authentic diversity and inclusive approaches in the design and delivery of music education and the presentation of black music. She is an experienced creative producer who also founded and ran jazz record label, Dune Records from 1997-2012 achieving two Mercury Prize nominations, alongside acting as manager/agent to several UK jazz artists. Today she is an enthusiastic mentor to women in and beyond the music industry.

Janine was awarded the MBE for Services to the Music Industry in HM The Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2006. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and, in 2019, was  recognised for her work in the Alternative Power 100 Music List, an honours list established by SheSaid.So, a global network of women in the music industry, as a response to Billboard’s Power 100 List with the aim to challenge conventional music industry standards. In 2020 Janine was the recipient of a Music Week Women In Music Award and inducted into the Roll of Honour that highlights individuals who are game-changers in the music industry. In 2021, Janine and Gary were recipients of the Music Producer’s Guild (MPG) Inspiration Award, in recognition of three successful decades of  inspirational leadership in the music industry. Janine and Gary also accepted a special Impact Award on behalf of Tomorrow’s Warriors at the 2021 Jazz FM Awards and Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Award for Community in 2022.

Matthew Herbert (UK)
Video-intro to the discussion group on Sustainability on Friday 23/09, at 14h30

Matthew Herbert is a prolific and accomplished musician, artist, producer and writer whose range of innovative works extends from numerous albums to Ivor Novello nominated film scores as well as music for the theatre, Broadway, TV, games and radio. He has performed solo, as a DJ and with various musicians including his own 18 piece big band all round the world from the Sydney Opera House, to the Hollywood Bowl and created installations, plays and opera.

He has remixed iconic artists including Quincy Jones, Serge Gainsbourg, and Ennio Morricone and worked closely over a number of years with musical acts as diverse as Bjork and Dizzee Rascal. He has produced other artists such as Roisin Murphy, The Invisible, Micachu and Merz and released some of these works alongside others on his own label – Accidental Records. He also set up NX records with Goldsmiths University to support the release of music from alumni and others.

Notable collaborators have included chef Heston Blumenthal, playwrights Caryl Churchill and Duncan Macmillan, theatre director Lyndsey Turner, musician Arto Lindsay and writer Will Self but he is most known for working with sound, turning ordinary or so-called found sound into electronic music. His most celebrated work ONE PIG followed the life of a pig from birth to plate and beyond. He is relaunching an online Museum of Sound and is the creative director of the new Radiophonic Workshop for the BBC. His debut play The Hush was performed at the National Theatre, his debut opera The Crackle at the Royal Opera House and he continues to work on projects for the screen as well as the stage. His debut book called The Music was published in 2018.

Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey (IT)
Discussion group on Sustainability on Friday 23/09, at 14h30

Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey is a cultural organiser with a background in economics and cultural policy. Until July this year she was the CEO of Cove Park, an international artists' residency centre in Scotland, where she introduced an ambitious line of multi-disciplinary enquiry on environmental change. Before then, she worked as Acting Head of Programme at Kettle’s Yard, the modern and contemporary art gallery of the University of Cambridge. 

Between 2014–18 she was Head of Production and International Projects at the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, where she co-curated the 2016 and 2018 editions. Between 2010–13 she was responsible for the curatorial programmes at Artissima, the international contemporary art fair in Turin, and previously she worked at the Fondazione Pirelli Hangar Bicocca in Milan. Between 2016–18 she was also Associate at Large of Council, a Paris-based organisation focused on societal issues, and the integration of artistic, scientific and civic forms of action and expertise. Since 2016 she has been co-directing The Serving Library, a nomadic institution that variously serves as a publishing platform, a seminar room, a collection of framed objects and an event space.

Mihaela Georgieva (BG)
Discussion group on Gender Balance on Friday 23/09, at 14h30

Mihaela is one of Bulgaria's leading experts in the coaching industry. She has devoted over 10 years to studying the psychology of success, neuroscience and the preconditions of healthy career choices. Mihaela is the author of content on topics such as building a thriving work environment, leadership and professional development.

She is part of the Emprove foundation mentor team supporting women on their journey to self-discovery, confidence, empowerment and increased economic independence. As a mentor in several other projects, she guides young people in their educational and professional choices.

Mihaela is a regular speaker at local conferences, podcasts and discussions on leadership, personal development and education. Featured on national media outlets. Her strategies have helped thousands of people to find the right career path, become better leaders and present themselves in a more powerful way.

Davide Grosso (IT)
Moderator of the discussion group on Fair Practices on Friday 23/09, at 14h30

Five music rights activist with an academic background in ethnomusicology, he has carried out extensive field research in Indonesia about music and society and worked in journalism and media. 

He joined the International Music Council in 2013 where he is in charge of project management and communication. Currently, he is also chairman of the International Conference of NGOs in official partnership with UNESCO.

Outside the office he composes electronic music for theatre and writes about music and politics for various magazines and blogs.

Virgo Sillamaa (EE)
Moderator of the discussion group on Business Models on Friday 23/09, at 14h30

Virgo Sillamaa is a music policy and ecosystem researcher, educator and consultant from Estonia, currently based in Brussels.

He is the Research Coordinator of EMEE – European Music Exporters Exchange network and a board member of the Estonian Authors’ Society. In addition, Virgo manages and consults projects, initiatives and companies, both in Estonia and in Europe. 

He is concluding his MA degree in TalTech and starting a PhD in Erasmus University Rotterdam, both focusing on music policy.