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Nils-Göran Areskoug

Nils-Göran Areskoug (Sundin). Portrait photo by Lütfi Özkök
 Nils-Göran Areskoug. Portrait photo by Lütfi Özkök
Nils-Göran Areskoug, formerly Sundin, is a Swedish musician, medical doctor and interdisciplinary scholar, born in 1951. He holds appointments as Associate Professor in Musicology at Jyväskylä University, Finland,  and as Associate Professor in Transdisciplinary Research at Strömstad Academy, Sweden, since 1996 and 2009, respectively. He is currently building an arena for transdisciplinary dialogue on criteria of excellence. The initiative is conceived as a policy observatory and laboratory of knowledge integration in the area of leadership and executive performance in both science and the arts. With an emphasis on creative innovation for productivity at the interface of public policy and private initiatives, it aims at providing a fertile arena for critical inquiry, constructive implementation, and competent assessment of values by joining scientific knowledge to cultural experience in promoting a viable future.


Areskoug’s approach to integrating science and the arts traces its roots to an original epistemology of interpretation in performance which he developed in the series Musical Interpretation Research (MIR, 4 vols., 1984) and summarized in his PhD thesis Aesthetic Criteria for Musical Interpretation in Performance (Jyväskylä, 1994).  This work is now being expanded into a social epistemology of transdisciplinarity, based on the study of cognitive strategies employed by expert performers in the arts, medical diagnostics and financial investment. Additional titles of Areskoug's authorship are listed by The Royal Swedish Library database Libris.


Among recent articles, Nobel Afterthoughts (2002) traces the roots of creativity, including its extrascientific sources of inspiration, in the work of a number of Nobel Laureates interviewed at the Nobel Foundation Centenary in Stockholm, in 2001. Aesthetic Experience and Organizational Change – A Musical Model for Managerial Cognition was produced for a conference on Innovative Management Research, EURAM in Stockholm 2002, while Science and the arts – Trespassing the last taboo toward a phenomenology of interpretation in performance - his lecture at Collegium Helveticum, ETH in Zurich - was published under Quality Criteria in “Transdisciplinarity: Joint Problem-Solving among Science, Technology and Society” (II:374-379, 2000). In a further broadening of scope, music serves as a model for quality criteria in policy and leadership in his Global Dissonance Resolution and Symphonic World Order (2003). It proposes a licensing of leaders by applying personality diagnostics and research-based therapy among qualifying criteria. His interest in strategic cognition, noted by Strategy-in-Practice (a webbased academic community), issues in envisioning a confluence of epistemic and empathic factors in the progress of  social and musical cognition.


He has served as chief of Kronoberg County Music Foundation and as music critic in Svenska Dagbladet (a major Swedish daily) and other journals. He has lectured widely at universities and schools of music in Scandinavia, and has been consulted as an expert by European Commission, Schweizerischer Nationalfonds (SNF) and private foundations. He occasionally performs as a pianist or conducts concerts (improvising, interpreting or composing). He has given invited lectures at conferences, and has lectrured at UCSD La Jolla, in philosophy at UNIL (troisième cycle, Centre Crêt-Bérard, 1993), at ETH Transdisciplinarity 2000 in Zurich (under the leadership of Helga Nowotny), at I.R.TE.M conferences in Rome, at the Center for Advanced Study in Leadership (CASL, in 1999) and at the Department of Finance (1998), Stockholm School of Economics. He contributed at Institut für Hermeneutik und Religionsphilosophie (UZH), Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen (2003), at International Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Baden-Baden (1999) and, on Music and Medicine at Symposium on Systems Research in the Arts (2001). On invitation by Professor Uno Svedin (FRN) Areskoug collaborated in a transdisciplinary workshop on the challenge of the sustainability and the future of science in society at the convention of the International Network for Engineering Studies (INES), Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA) in Stockholm (2001).


Based on extensive training in arts and sciences, including five academic degrees (MD, PhD eximia cum laude, MBA, MFA, BA), under leading masters in composition (Ligeti, Messiaen, Bäck) conducting (Celibidache, Ferrara, Leinsdorf) choir (Alm), piano (Leygraf), organ (Arnér) cello (Ozolins) and song (Mang-Borenberg), his Symphony for Peace for choir and orchestra with poems by Dag Hammarskjöld was premiered in Stockholm Cathedral, in 1985. Compositions include pieces for piano and solo instruments, songs, and chamber music, as well as  Concerto St George for piano and orchestra, and Invitazione, an orchestral prelude to commemorate Emanuel Swedenborg.


Areskoug earned prizes, awards and grants for both scholarly and artistic achievements. He was awarded stipends as a composer by The Swiss Composers' Association, Lausanne, and from Fondation Ernest Ansermet, Geneva, for his research on aesthetic criteria in conducting. Projects were funded by, among others, Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Foundations, Ruben Rausing Fund for Research on Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation.

Dr. Areskoug was supervised privately in leadership philosophy by Peter Koestenbaum, in  epistemology of interpretation by Carl Lesche, and in interactive graduate pedagogics by Bo Wallner. Areskoug was trained during courses and conferences in music psychotherapy, cognitive (Perris' institute, Sabbatsberg hospital, 2003), psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, eclectic and gestalt methods of psychotherapy with Erich Franzke, Raymond Battegay, Bertil Edgardh and Sheldon Litt. Areskoug worked on models for applying the principles and practice of music therapy to executive leadership. His strategic initiative in healthcare and social policy, "Alliance for the Child", submitted to governments and presented in collaboration with Lena Hellblom Sjögren at Sophiahemmet in Stockholm (2008), is devoted to establishing a Nordic center of clinical research, education and rehabilitation of families psychosocially deprived by parental alienation, an interdisciplinary challenge for the protection of human rights of the child, with a global aim. In this connection, his expertise was  featured on Swedish national radio (P1: "Tendens", April  6, 2010) and by the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights in an assessment of the conditions in Sweden in this regard (date not disclosed).


  • Aremus provides further information on Areskoug’s credentials and competencies such as International Who’s Who in Classical Music (IWWCM 2009), a one-page resume, cv and a full bio (until 2002) with third party reviews, concerts and speeches, compositions and scholarly works listed.
  • A more comprehensive Bio with references is made available by Are Akademi Collegium Europaeum.
  • Abstract (*) and Content of Areskoug's PhD thesis (1994): Aesthetic Criteria for Musical Interpretation in Performance,  in: Jyväskylä Studies in the Arts (vol 45). 
  • Musical Interpretation Research (MIR), a series of volumes on music interpretation published under the motto “in your innermost soul all is music” by Mirage editions (image of books displayed by publisher).
  • Are Akademi - Collegium Europaeum aims to develop a Nordic arena for dialogue on values - a foresight policy and strategic cognition research laboratory elaborating ideas on transdisciplinary knowledge integration and knowledge-to-competence conversion,  presented symbolically in terms of a history of a cultural and scholarly heritage.
  • Arescope is a policy observatory for critical dialogue on values, an instrument to help spot crucial divergences and potential synergies in emerging cultural,  economic and political trends It has a focus on arts and sciences in society, and the benefit of their joint adoption for health and quality of life. It continues two earlier blog sites (arescope-coleur).
  • Alliance for the Child focuses on the right of the child to healthy parenting and parental alienation as a public health issue.
  • Areskoug's cv in Swedish is available at Strömstad Academy, and in English on wikipedia.
  • Areskoug is briefly presented at the Newsmill site with a few of his opinion pieces.
  • Swedish Music Information Centre (SMIC) maintains a list of some of Areskoug's compositions.
  • The history of the Arreskow family traces its cultural roots more than half a millennium back ("Arelites")

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