The International Society for the Philosophy of Music Education was founded at the Philosophy of Music Education International Symposium 5 at Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois, U.S.A., June 4-7, 2003 with Estelle Jorgensen (U.S.A.) and Frede Nielsen (Denmark) as co-chairs. The current chairs are Cathy Benedict (USA) and Panos Kanellopoulos (Greece).
Since 1990, eight international symposia have been held in Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.A. (1990), Toronto, Canada (1994), Los Angeles, U.S.A. (1997), Birmingham, U.K. (2000), Lake Forest, Illinois, U.S.A. (2003), Hamburg, Germany (2005), London, Ontario, Canada (2007 and Helsinki, Finland (2010). These symposia have attracted philosophers, musicians, teachers, and others interested in the philosophy of music education from around the world to discuss important matters concerning music teaching and learning. They have been led by various prominent music educators, including Estelle Jorgensen, David Elliott, Anthony Palmer, Frank Heuser, Mary Reichling, Forest Hansen, Iris Yob, Frede Nielsen, Paul Woodford & Herman Kaiser and Heidi Westerlund & Randall Allsup. The papers and some of the responses presented have been published in essay collections and refereed journals such as the Philosophy of Music Education Review and the Journal of Aesthetic Education.
This society sponsors and conducts international symposia held biennially or triennially. It provides an international forum for philosophers of music education and others interested in their work to discuss philosophical issues having to do with music education around the world and advocate for philosophical research in music education. Music education is construed broadly to include the gamut of institutions in which it is conducted, levels of instruction from elementary to advanced, throughout life from young childhood to old age. And it offers musician-educators perspectives on the normative aspects of their lives and work. As well as nurturing philosophical scholarship in music education, it provides a vehicle for music education philosophers to converse with international policy makers.