Masters Profile: Classical performers

In an interview in August 2000, Pierre Boulez said:

“If the rhythms and phrasing that are peculiar to contemporary music would be taught in the best conservatories in an intensive way, the future of contemporary music would certainly change and performers and general public would really start enjoying pieces by Berio, Xenakis or myself. The lack of accuracy in orchestras is the biggest obstacle for communication between composers and public”.

As mentioned in the introduction, the programme for classical performers addresses the problems that may arise in many contemporary music pieces from Stravinsky, Bela-Bartok or Varesse to Xenakis, Boulez, Elliot Carter, Ferneyhough or Ligeti, as well as more recent composers. The main objective is to provide rhythmic tools that will help the student  achieve a higher degree of accuracy and confidence. South Indian classical music not only makes use of one of the most complex rhythmical systems but, in addition, has very clear and practical teaching and exercise methods.


The Masters profile comprises the following elements:

  • Individual coaching in order to prepare a number of contemporary music pieces. The ultimate goals of this coaching are how to use Karnatic techniques to perform contemporary pieces and to work out a general methodology for the students to apply to a wide variety of pieces. The students are free to choose the repertoire and the coach's role is to help students with their chosen project.
  • Weekly sessions of the so-called ‘deepening sessions’, where the ‘roots’ of the material, as well as what other creators have done or are doing with Karnatic rhythmical concepts, will be listened to and analysed within a musical context.

***The students could present their own idea or project, provided that the amount of work will at least equal the amount of work foreseen for the pieces.

As long as the students wish to dedicate at least 30% of their time to prepare contemporary pieces, these will be the pieces to be coached within this master profile. Therefore, these pieces are not meant to be a workload added to what the student has to prepare throughout the year but simply a shift on focus on the material to be used for those pieces (i.e., contemporary repertoire with rhythmical content and not pieces that exclusively explore extended techniques or other aspects of the evolution of classical music in the 20th and 21st centuries)

-Alternatively, the student could also choose to follow an Improvisation ensemble and/or composition lessons. In this case, a smaller number of contemporary pieces could be worked out, and some coaching time could be used to work on creative aspects, be it compositional or improvisational in nature.

Structure of credits distribution:
-Main subject                50 credits
-Masters profile             30 credits
-Masters electives         20 credits
-Research/thesis           10 credits
-Individual credits          10 credits

The student will be awarded with 30 credits as part of the main subject (15 credits per year)

All pieces prepared in these two years can be used for the MA1 exam as well as the graduation recital

Before or during the 2nd year, the student can choose to go to India via the Jahnavi Jayaprakash Foundation (Bangalore) under the guidance of B.C. Manjunath, or the University of Mysore, under the guidance of Dr. Mysore Manjunath, for a maximum of 6 weeks in order to attain the ‘Indian’ view on the elements of the program. The student needs to choose a period of the year in which he would miss a maximum of three weeks of lessons in Amsterdam (either in the summer between 1st and 2nd years, or before and after Christmas of the 2nd year seem to be the most appropriate). This could be one of the possibilities of the Individual Credits.
The students need to find their own financial resources if they would like to travel to India and take lessons.