// ]]>Codarts University for the Arts (Dutch: Codarts hogeschool voor de kunsten) is a Dutch vocational university in Rotterdam that teaches music, dance and circus. It was established in its present location in 2000. 1 History 2 Schools 3 Building History Codarts can trace its origins to the Rotterdam Conservatorium voor Muziek (Rotterdam Conservatory of Music), popularly known as the Conservatorium Holthaus after its director, Jos Holthaus (1879-1943). In 1930 the alternative Rotterdamsch Toonkunst Conservatorium (Rotterdam Musical Arts Conservatory) was founded with the composer Willem Pijper as director. The Rotterdamse Dansschool (Rotterdam Dance School) was established in 1931 by Corrie Hartong as director and the German dancer Gertrud Leistikow as a teacher. At first the dance school was part of the Conservatorium Holthaus. In 1935 the dance school transferred to Pijper’s conservatory. Hartong remained as director. She was to stay in this position until 1961, and continued to teach until 1967. World War II broke out in 1939 and the Netherlands were invaded in May 1940. On 14 May 1940 the buildings of the dance school and the main building of Pijper’s conservatory were destroyed by bombs. It was decided to merge Pijper’s and Holthaus’s conservatories into one building on Mathenesserlaan, where Holthaus had a branch. Soon they moved again to a big old house that had somehow been spared, totally surrounded by rubble, and managed to continue day classes and early evening classes before curfew throughout the remainder of the war. Until Holthaus died in 1943 the combined conservatory had two directors. The Rotterdamse Dansschool was renamed the Rotterdamse Dansacademie (Rotterdam Dance Academy) in 1954. In 1986 the Conservatory and Dance Academy became the Hogeschool voor Muziek en Theater Rotterdam (Rotterdam University of Music and Theatre). The school moved into its present modern building next to the Doelen concert hall in 2000 under the name Codarts – hogeschool voor de kunsten (Codarts – University of the Arts). The Circus arts program was launched in September 2006.

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Masterclass Branford Marsalis

Legendary saxophonist Branford Marsalis honoured Codarts with a three-hour visit on Wednesday 19 November. He advised the students to ‘always be curious’. And to listen. Properly listen. ‘Music needs to be heard before it can be...

The product Inger Hansen

Pop singer and guitarist Inger Hansen is a Master of Music student at the Rotterdam Conservatoire. He is conducting research to discover how he can successfully promote himself as an independent artist. In other words: ‘How do I sell the product Inger Hansen?’ An introduction. Imagine this: you are a 25-year-old singer-songwriter, you do not have a contract with a recording company, and you aspire to make a living as a musician. How do you approach the situation? That is just the question that Inger Hansen – a singer-songwriter of 25, with the ambition to make a living as a musician and with no recording contract – has been asking himself. The young German decided to make this question the subject of his research in the master’s programme at the Rotterdam Conservatoire. ‘In the Netherlands, there is really no market for English-language pop music that is locally made,’ says Hansen (Cuxhaven, 1982). ‘There are pop music programmes here, but 85 percent of the Dutch music market is occupied by artists from abroad. Often something has that extra appeal factor because it comes from far away, not because it is good. Local talent has to work much harder in order to be noticed. Being good is not enough.’ Hansen graduated last year as a vocal student from the Rotterdam Pop Academy of the Rotterdam Conservatoire. He sings and accompanies himself on the guitar. The master’s degree – a two-year programme designed to meet international standards – requires students to choose a research topic that is directly related to their situation as musicians. What was more relevant to Inger Hansen than...

‘Our roots are where we find them’

He was 27 years old when he began studying music. Five years later, master’s student Jean-Christophe Bonnafous is a promising disciple of bansuri maestro Hariprasad Chaurasia and teacher Henri Tournier. The Frenchman is also co-organiser of the monthly Full Moon concerts. He relates it as though it’s the most normal thing in the world, but his story is a series of unusual occurrences: at the age of 27, Jean-Christophe Bonnafous went to India in search of the sound of the bansuri (the bamboo flute from Hindustani music), and there right away became a disciple of maestro Hariprasad Chaurasia. Six months later, the Frenchman was in the Netherlands studying at the conservatoire. Jean-Christophe Bonnafous (Perpignan, 1977), who graduated last summer from the Rotterdam World Music Academy at Rotterdam Conservatoire and is now taking the Master of Music in the same study area, tells: ‘I had studied philosophy with a bachelor’s degree in humanitarian aid and I wanted to go on in that direction. Then I discovered the sound of that flute. I set off for India and immediately fell in love with Indian music.’ In Mumbai he bought an instrument and started playing. ‘But I saw that I needed guidance,’ he relates. He sought out bansuri virtuoso Hariprasad Chaurasia. ‘In India you can do that, even if you’re not advanced. If a teacher likes you in an intuitive way, he takes you on as a pupil.’ And that’s what happened. In Chaurasia, Jean-Christophe had managed to find the greatest innovator and performer of music on the bansuri. ‘Earlier, it was a folk music instrument. Chaurasia developed the technique and sound...

Flávio Silva

Flávio Silva North Sea Round Town, the main warm-up to the North Sea Jazz Festival, is swarming with young talent. Codarts is very well represented. In the coming weeks, a number of musicians will introduce themselves on This time: Flávio Silva. Introducing: Flávio Silva (São Paulo,1985), final examination year jazz guitar. What characterizes your music? ‘It’s modern jazz with influences from various genres. You can hear Latin, soul and traditional Brazilian music in it. I sometimes call it jazz fusion too. I like to mix and blend.’ Where do you get your creative inspiration from? ‘From everywhere. From music to paintings, people and situations – like a sunny day. I observe details and try to capture my feeling in a composition.’ What can the audience expect from you in North Sea Round Town? ‘An energetic performance. I’m performing with my band twice, on both 3 and 8 July. We’ll perform music from my debut album (released in February 2014, ed.). And alternate it with our own arrangements of traditional Brazilian songs and jazz standards.’ Why did you choose to come to Codarts? ‘Because of the broad study programme. I enrolled for jazz, but could fully collaborate with students from other departments. For instance, last year I played in an ensemble with Latin-American music students from the World Music department.’ In 10 years’ time… ‘That’s a really long time! I’m hoping to reach a broad audience. And that people will feel something from what I play. Whether that’s cheerfuless or anger; it’s about releasing something. I also want to help others in the field of music. For example, by...

Marianne Svašek wins award

Women in Dhrupad,  Marianne Svašek and Céline Wadier, were awarded with the Best Newcomer Award during the Varanasi Dhrupad Mela on the 27th of February. Singer Marianne Svašek studied dhrupad with Ustad Fariduddin Dagar who passed away last year. She is teaching at Codarts, Rotterdam. Céline was one of her...

Snarky Puppy in the WMDC

Recently the American top band Snarky Puppy came to Codarts to give workshops for the Jazz, Pop and World Music students. The musicians, who won a Grammy Award this year, shared their virtuoso playing artistry, experiences and advice with their audience for a whole afternoon. ‘The best grooves are simple.’‘Chikka, chikka, chikka,’ is the sound coming from one corner of the room. Deep bass voices sing a ‘dum, dum, de-dum’ on top. With a melodious ‘ee-ee-ee’, a few students add a guitar imitation to the whole. Dissecting music has never been so dynamic. Michael League, bassist and bandleader of Snarky Puppy, has installed himself with laptop and bass guitar in one of the classrooms of the WMDC, the building where Jazz, Pop and World Music students receive their lessons. He plays various songs to his listeners – around thirty students – from funk to rock. Afterwards comes the challenge. ‘You five, can you sing this bass part?’ The students start out, apparently effortlessly. A few beats later, drums, guitars and other instrument groups follow. Michael LeagueWith this exercise, Michael wants to emphasize the importance of listening. ‘Are these parts easy or difficult?’, he asks after a funk song. ‘Easy’, responds a student. Others nod in agreement. Michael: ‘Exactly. And therein lies the beauty of a good groove. By taking a simple melody as a starting point, you allow yourself so much space. Space to improvise, to play to each other and listen to each other. This last is essential.’ In other words: ‘The best grooves are simple. Just listen to James Brown.’Apart from Michael, eight other band members are present, including...
After graduationSo you want to learn your trade in the jazz city in the Netherlands. You want to dive into the rich tradition of jazz and improvise to your heart’s content. You want to not just perform but also create and produce music. At Codarts you can become a technically robust and creative musician in four years’ time. You take classes from renowned teachers and guest teachers, you play in ensembles, you learn how to compose and orchestrate, and you become familiar with a great variety of styles in music. Be inspired by the lively jazz scene of Rotterdam, home of the world-famous North Sea Jazz Festival and the Jazz Day. There are many jazz sessions in the city every day: great opportunities for gaining stage experience. Our main subjects are: bass guitar, double bass, drums, flute, guitar, piano, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, and voice.
The first year is a broad introduction. The focus is on developing your technical skills.

  • You play with two ensembles every week. One concentrates on instrument technique, the other on creating (composition/orchestration).
  • An important subject this first year is solfège. A well-trained hearing is indispensable in improvisation.
  • You work at crossovers with students of Latin music to stimulate your versatility as a musician.
  • You study recording techniques and engage in repertoire research. Your new knowledge is immediately put to practical use.
During the second year you will become increasingly independent as a performing musician.

  • Together with your fellow students you organise various performances and a festival in Rotterdam.
  • You take part in events such as North Sea Round Town and the Jazz Day (the biggest jazz networking day of the Netherlands).
  • You learn how to pass on knowledge in an educational setting by coaching bands of fellow students and/or doing an internship in music education, also for non-professionals.
  • You study a great variety of styles in music and take part in cross-over projects.
  • You take classes in entrepreneurship and learn how to pitch a project.
The third year’s focus is on your own unique personality as a performer.

  • You choose a number of minors that can help deepen or broaden your profile.
  • In the ensemble projects, special attention is paid to developing your own style (from traditional bebop to a modern mix of genres).
  • Your teachers increasingly become ‘coaches’. It is up to you to express what you wish to learn.
  • During the second semester you pitch an idea for your graduation research. This consists of a theoretical part (a paper) and a practical part (presentation). This combination demonstrates that you have a mature view of your profession and are capable of doing research at a high level.
During the fourth year you concentrate on your graduation. You may also choose additional minors.

  • In the first semester you complete your graduation research.
  • You produce your own music, resulting in an audio recording and (optionally) an accompanying video production. This shows what you have learned about recording techniques and new media. This project is part of the assessment with regard to your graduation.
  • In the second semester you present yourself as a performer at your graduation concert. In roughly an hour you demonstrate your skills and your own unique personality.
After your graduation you will be a great musicians with a high artistic and entrepreneurial level. You are able to create your own place in the music industry and are active across the entire musical practice. Often you combine different qualities: playing in a band or as a soloist, working on music productions or working as a music teacher. During you study you will get to know our extensive network in the music industry from which you can benefit after you graduation. Some of our students continued their studies with a Master of Music. Rafael Swiddessen (graduation year 2014), drummer with Wolf in Loveland ‘I’m a drummer in the first instance, but I’m also interested in the production side of the profession. Van beide kanten van het vak heb ik bij Codarts kennis opgedaan. Die kennis zet ik nu in als producer én uitvoerend musicus bij verschillende bands.’

codartsworld music and dance centre

Where do Cape Verdian musicians, Indian dancers, flamenco guitarists and breakdancers meet together in a dynamic metropolitan setting? In September 2006 the World Music and Dance Centre (WMDC) was started in Rotterdam.

The WMDC is an initiative of Codarts, University for Professional Arts Education in collaboration with the Rotterdam Foundation for Arts Education (SKVR). The WMDC is a platform, expertise and course centre and meeting point for music and dance from all parts of the world. In addition to neighbourhood-oriented activities in Delfshaven the WMDC offers professional courses in five world music traditions, music and dance courses for amateurs, extra training and refresher courses for professionals, research in the field of world music education and a platform for local and international talent.

At a historical location in the Delfshaven municipal district a large-scale yet intimate complex has arisen which can house both new and existing world music initiatives on a city-wide, national as well as international level. This has resulted in a unique concert venue, expertise centre and meeting point for music and dance styles from all over the world, varying from Argentinian tango to Indian ragas, from Surinam Kawina to Turkish saz music. This way the centre aligns itself with the cultural diversity of its direct environment, the developments in present-day music practice in which non-western music styles play an increasingly important role, and with the growing demand for world music courses and teachers.

The WMDC is aimed at the non-western performing arts, including (world) music and dance, and will be an inspiring environment for:

– talent development (school projects, courses, higher professional and post-academic education)
– research (theory formulation, archive and knowledge centre) and
– performance (‘the stage as a meeting place and laboratory’).

For whom?
The WMDC will become a meeting-place for everyone who is interested in world music and dance. Through community arts projects at neighbourhood level and introductory world music courses and workshops at schools, children and young people from different cultural backgrounds will get to know the centre. Amateurs (young and old) are welcome to take part in courses and workshops in different kinds of world music and dance at the music and dance school.
HBO students from Codarts take short academic courses at the WMDC. Performing and teaching musicians (from home and abroad) will be able to take part in contract training and masterclasses. Professionals (researchers, programmers, radio makers and so on) can receive extra training and refresher courses. Educational institutions will make use of the WMDC due to the increasing demand they have for world music: most schools have to contract music from outside because they no longer have professional music teachers on their staff. But most of all the WMDC stage, due to the very broad programming, is a place for a very broad audience.


The WMDC is an initiative of Codarts, University for Professional Arts Education in collaboration with the SKVR (Rotterdam Foundation for Arts Education). Additionally, both the Rotterdam municipality and the European Union invest in the centre. The SKVR and Codarts will both house their activities which fit in with the vision of the WMDC in the centre.

The WMDC has been partly made possible by the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRO) of the European Commission. With thanks to the EU, Rotterdam Municipality and the Delfshaven district council.

For more information about the WMDC see