January 28th, 2017. The Open Day at the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague. That means a lot of excitement, music and dance. All Departments of the conservatory present themselves in their way. I see some 6-year olds being taught by a inspiring ypungster in a playful way to play their tiny double basses. I hear roaring saxophones playing steaming hot jazz. But the concert of the Composition Department brings me to this place. To the Arnold Schönberg Hall to be precise. The Head of the Department, Martijn Padding, held a passionate recruiting speech. In which he said:"In the whole scala of professions being a composer is by FAR the most beautiful profession." The great loyality and team spirit among the students is what makes the Composition Department special. This is a direct reflection of the internsive manner of the team of teachers lectures and collaborates on the development of the education. The education focuses on the practice of composing and everything conncected with it. Much attentention is paid to the development of a present/day music practice, mto the collaboration with musicians and the performance of own compositions.
Pianist Ivan Pavlov kicked off the concert and played the for him written composition 'A piece for Ivan' by James Alexandropoulos-McEwan. A former student at the Birmingham Conservatoire and now in The Hague he evolved from the pop scene. After a serene start the patterns get more complex and demands a lot of the viruosity of Ivan Pavlov. The piece then becomes more tranquil, but with sudden outbursts of disruption. Leading to an uptempo finish. A very mature piece.
Sara Zamboni and Alexandre Kordzaia
Ivan Pavlov makes way behind the piano for Sara Zamboni, while Swiss composer Alexandre Kordzaia takes place behind the table with a small ARP. An electronic instrument. On the layer of a stately piano play the electronic sounds gradually surfaces and intensifies. Leading to a kind of crescendo. The finale is a solemn piano solo.
Thomas van Dun´s Left was next on the programme. Three percussionists (Inês Lacerda, Marin Lambert en Lodewijk Bles) and a dancer realise a kind of symbiosis in this pictorial composition.
Marin Lambert (front) and Antoine Josselin
A lively and - in the positive meaning- heavy piece 'Screaming' by Sami Strazimiri follows. In which percussionists Marin Lambert and Antoine Josselin duel/accompany electronics of sounds and (screaming) voices. And percussion in this piece means also using a bow to play the cymbals. By the way Sami is a French speaking Belgian from Brussels.
The final piece is by Vitali Karagkezidis: Keep coming back. A solo percussion composition (Lodewijk Bles) with electronics and a recorded voice. A very rythmical piece. And in all a very interesting display of the level of compositioning at the Conservatoire.