Denis Patkovic examined the essence of accordion music and musician’s resilience factors

In his doctoral project, accordionist Denis Patkovic examined various literature for concert accordion. The artistic project presented five premieres and six first Finnish performances. Patkovic’s thesis focused on resilience factors in artists aiming to help them to confront life and a creative crisis in a more constructive way. Patkovic’s doctoral degree is to be examined at the Sibelius Academy, Uniarts Helsinki on December 1st 2018.

The artistic project for Patkovic’s degree consisted of four recitals and a CD recording. Each of these had a specific motto. The first concert, Goldmine Variations, featured the Goldberg Variations of J.S. Bach and Jukka Tiensuu`s cycle for accordion Erz. The second concert presented a variety of contemporary Finnish music, most idiomatically written for the accordion. The third concert focused on standard repertoire for the classical accordion, showing the variety and different styles of composing during the last 40 years. In the fourth concert, titled Balkan Beat, Patkovic focused on working and collaborating with five contemporary composers. The last project was an unique CD recording, presenting the Keyboard Concertos from J.S. Bach as a first recording in combination accordion with orchestra.

Optimism, self-esteem and personal support provided by trusted persons

In his thesis Resilience in Music – viewpoints of the artists’abilities to deal with crises in life, Patkovic compared three historical artists (Ludwig van Beethoven, Vladimir Horowitz and Glenn Gould) with three contemporary ones (Stefan Hussong, Wolfgang Dimetrik and Ioanna Avraam). The historical artists were approached through literature, whereas the contemporary artists Patkovic analyzed through interviews.

- I had a special experience in my life, where I played a concert, and everything went totally wrong that day. I wanted to know, could it be possible that other musicians, bigger, more gifted than me, even the greatest geniuses in the history of music could have had such moments? How did they deal with it? Maybe they had a way, a knowledge, a trick, an approach, a capability, a method I didn't know about. It quickly became clear to me that what we need in order to get through such moments is commonly called resilience in literature, Patkovic explains.

In his research Patkovic concluded that the most relevant resilience factors for musicians are optimism, self-esteem and personal support provided by trusted persons.

- These factors can influence the preservation of the artist’s mental health as well as his improvement. The role of teaching personnel is very crucial; teachers should, in addition to developing the artists‘ talent, also contribute to development of these factors in their students, Patkovic states.

Further information:

Denis Patkovic


Public examination of the doctoral degree of Denis Patkovic

1.12.2018, 12, Helsinki Music Centre, Organo hall

Thesis: Resilienz in der Musik ‒ Erörterungen zu den Fähigkeiten von Künstlern, mit Krisen im Leben umzugehen (Resilience in Music – viewpoints of the artists’ abilities to deal with crises in life.)
Artistic project: The concert series displayed different aspects of literature for concert accordion.

The committee which assessed the artistic demonstrations:
DMus Helka Kymäläinen (Chair), Matti Rantanen, Mie Miki-Schenck, DMus Tuomas Mali, Kimmo Hakola

Pre-examiner of the concerts or other artistic parts (CD):Jukka Tiensuu

Examiners of the thesis: Professor, Dr. Mirjam Boggasch, University of Music Karlsruhe, Docent, D.Med.Sc. Jari Sinkkonen

Supervisors of the written thesis: DMus Annikka Konttori-Gustafsson, Sibelius Academy, Uniarts Helsinki, Dr. Roberto Lalli delle Malebranche

Custos: Professor, PhD Anne Kauppala, Sibelius Academy, Uniarts Helsinki