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Prof. Dr Svanibor Pettan of UL FF elected president of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM)

Prof. Dr. Svanibor Pettan, Ljubljana, 2019. Photo: Lasanthi M. Kalinga Dona.

Publish Date: 24.11.2021

Category: Researchers in focus , Our contribution to sustainable development goals

Sustainable development goals: 4 Quality education, 16 Peace, justice and strong institutions (Indicators)

Prof. Dr Pettan founded the study of ethnomusicology in Slovenia, and is one of the leading researchers of applied ethnomusicology in the world.

The International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM), which was founded in 1947 in London under the name International Folk Music Council, today numbers around 1,500 members from more than 120 countries world wide. It is the leading international association of ethnomusicologists and ethnochoreologists, and supports the research, practice, documentation, safeguarding, and dissemination of traditional music and dance from throughout the world. It also has a formal advisory relationship with UNESCO. The Council organises world conferences, study group symposiums, colloquiums and forums and publishes the Yearbook for Traditional Music and Bulletin of the ICTM. Of special note are the study groups (currently there are 26), defined geographically or thematically, which organise their own symposiums.

Prof. Dr Svanibor Pettan, researcher, full professor and chair in ethnomusicology at the Musicology Department of UL FF , was the Secretary General of ICTM from 2011 to 2017. During his term in office the Council was based at the University of Ljubljana, and thanks to its very successful operation it placed our University, Ljubljana and Slovenia on the world ethnomusicology map. As a sign of gratitude, in 2021 the ICTM members rewarded Prof. Pettan with election to the most prestigious position of president. His predecessors in this position were all exceptional musicians and researchers of music and/or dance, such as Ralph Vaughan Williams (UK), Jaap Kunst (The Netherlands), Zoltán Kodály (Hungary), Anthony Seeger (USA), Krister Malm (Sweden), Adrienne L. Kaeppler (USA) and Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco (Portugal).    

Upon his election as president of the ICTM, Prof. Svanibor Pettan promised to strive for the further growth of the world network, the inclusion of various world locations and inter-generational dialogue within the association; he will promote a diversity of topics and approaches in researching traditional music and dance, along with cooperation with marginalised individuals and communities and the use of ethnomusicological knowledge and skills in achieving social justice. He also underlined that he would strive for “kind, active, respectful leadership based on experience and cooperation, sensitive to cultural singularities and to the health, environmental and other challenges of our time.”

 Pettan ICTMSvanibor Pettan. ICTM World Conferenc., Astana, Kazahstan, 2015. Photo: Archive of Kazahstan National Univesity of Arts.

Prof. Dr Pettan, who gained his PhD at the University of Maryland in the USA, is noted principally for his research of music in the continuum between war and peace and the music of minority communities. Moreover he ranks among the leading researchers in the field of applied ethnomusicology, and some years ago he also co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Applied Ethnomusicology. The areas of his field research cover Slovenia, Croatia, Kosovo, Australia, Egypt, Norway, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and the USA. His research findings have been published in various countries and languages and in various formats (book, article, audio medium, photographic exhibition, documentary film). His list of guest professorships is outstanding (in recent years at the universities in Berkeley, Vienna and Zürich), and he has given more than a hundred guest lectures in 40 countries around the world. In Slovenia he founded the study of ethnomusicology and designed courses from the undergraduate to the doctoral level. In 2021 as the leader of a research group he concluded a project with the book Music and Ethnic Minorities: (Trans)cultural Dynamics in Slovenia after 1991.

“As a scholar, music has not interested me exclusively as an art, but also as a means of contributing to a better world,” said Professor Pettan in his fascinating portrait on RTV Slovenija. We also kindly invite you to view the short interview at the Society for Ethnomusicology, where Prof. Pettan talks about his start in ethnomusicology, the establishing of applied ethnomusicology as a university course and his other ethnomusicology research: Interview with Svanibor Pettan (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) (the video is in English).

Pettan TajskaSvanibor Pettan with students and wife, Taiwan, 2014. Photo: Personal archive of S. Pettan.

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