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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
world 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’).
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 www.wmdc.nl.