International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

ICTM Study Group on Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe

The ICTM Study Group Study Group on Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe was founded in 2008 to provide an international forum for scholars studying the music and dance from this region. The group follows the ICTM’s foundation of considering both music and dance together.

Southeastern Europe is a region that has particularly rich and varied music and dance traditions. The region is centered on the Balkan Peninsula and includes the surrounding countries of Turkey, Romania and Hungary. The position of this region has been historically a crossroads between eastern and western cultures, between the European and Ottoman cultures, which has resulted in social, cultural and political transitions that are reflected in the traditional and contemporary music and dance of this region. The interplay between the heterogeneous population of southeastern Europe and the homogeneousity in traditions has long provoked the interest of scholars, musicians and dancers.

This group serves as a forum for cooperation between scholars both from this region and from other parts of the world through meetings, projects, publications and correspondence. It is open to all ICTM members who are specialists in this region or from related fields of research whose contributions are relevant to traditional music and dance in Southeastern Europe.


The Study Group organises an international Symposium every two years usually held at a location in one of the countries within the region. The proceedings of each Symposia have been published as a book that presents a full written record of each of these meetings.

List of Past Symposia

  • 2022 - 8th Symposiun held in Istanbul, hosted by the ICTM national committee of Turkey
  • 2021 - 7th Symposium held online, hosted by the ICTM national committee of Turkey
  • 2018 - 6th Symposium held in Sinj, Croatia organised by the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore, Zagreb
  • 2016 - 5th Symposium at the South-West University "Neofit Rilski", Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
  • 2014 - 4th Symposium held in Petnica, Serbia organised by the Faculty of Music, Belgrade
  • 2012 - 3rd Symposium held in Berovo, North Macedonia organised by the ICTM National Committee
  • 2010 - 2nd Symposium at the Ege Üniversitesi, Izmir, Turkey
  • 2008 - 1st Symposium held in Struga, North Macedonia, organised by the Macedonian Composer’s

Sub-Study Groups

Members of this Study Group who share mutual interests are encouraged to arrange meetings and projects in addition to the biennial Symposia organised by the Group. To date three sub study groups have been established.

1. Sub-Study Group on "military connections" in Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe

2. Sub-Study Group on "Koçek"

3. Sub-Study Group on music and dance in the Black Sea cultural basin (founded in April 2021)

The Black Sea cultural basin can be defined as a very large area that unites the Balkan, Crimea, Azov, Caspian, Caucasian and Anatolian geographically. Although there have been many ethnic and cultural layers and intersections across different regions of the Black Sea, there have been relatively few studies until today in the field of music and dance. Therefore, we would like to reveal new studies with the idea of discovering the links from the past of the Black Sea cultural basin in different perspectives. Please join us and let us re-think the music and dance in the Black Sea Cultural basin together.

Group committee officers

Chairperson: Mehmet Öcal Özbilgin (Turkey)
Email: ocal.ozbilgin(at)

Vice Chairperson: Velika Stojkova Serafimovska (North Macedonia)
Email: lika73(at)

Dance Liaison: Iva Niemčić (Croatia)
Email: iva(at)

Music Liaison: Ivanka Vlaeva (Bulgaria)
Email: i_vlaeva(at)

Secretary: Liz Mellish (UK/Romania)

Application for Membership

To join the group please send an email to the secretary.


7-10 April, 2010


April, 2009


We are pleased to announce the Second Meeting of the ICTM Study Group for Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe and invite proposals to be submitted by 30 October, 2009. Please note that in accordance with our aims and objectives as a Study Group of the ICTM this bi-annual event is not a general conference but a Study Group meeting or workshop dedicated to two selected themes which will form the focus of our presentations and discussions.

Report - Struga September 4-8, 2008

The Study Group for Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe held its first symposium in Struga (Macedonia), in September 4-8, 2008. The symposium was connected with the international manifestation “Struga Musical Autumn” which has more than thirty years history in the cultural life of Macedonia. The meeting was organized by Macedonian Composers’ Association – SOKOM, and was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia.


Dear fellow members of ICTM, it is our pleasure to announce the official establishment of a study group devoted to music and dance in southeastern Europe within the International Council for Traditional Music.