The role of the piano and its extensive and richly varied repertoire place this instrument at the heart of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. The Bachelor’s piano programme offers a dynamic environment encouraging students to develop themselves into versatile musicians who rank excellently by international standards. Many alumni of the piano section at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam are prize winners of international competitions and leading national and international pianists.
Excellent International Teachers
Our highly qualified and diverse teaching staff guarantees a study programme that covers all aspects of the repertoire. Through team teaching students can follow lessons with all teachers at the department, in addition to individual piano lessons. Moreover, each year internationally renowned pianists and educators are invited to the Conservatory. In recent years we have been honoured with masterclasses by Ferenc Rados, Robert Levin, Dmitri Bashkirov, Enrico Pace, and Murray Perahia.
The curriculum offers a strong and coherent study programme. The course ‘Keyboard Musicianship’ emphasizes the development of practical skills so that students become familiar with improvisation, sight reading, and transposition. During the last two years of the programme, the repertoire classes ‘Historical Keyboard Instruments’ and ‘Contemporary Music’ afford greater insight into the principal subject, and are taught by experts, both on an individual basis and in groups. This is followed by an intensive supplementary programme consisting of group lessons and workshops. Student contribution is significant; the Piano Student Council is involved in the planning and organisation of projects and masterclasses.
The piano section is firmly anchored in the Department of Keyboard Studies, which besides piano offers the following principal subjects: organ, fortepiano, harpsichord, and clavichord. In addition to the above-mentioned repertoire class ‘Historical Keyboard Instruments,’ students may enrol in individual elective courses for other keyboard instruments. In addition, students also acquire knowledge and skills related to all these keyboard instruments through projects.
Ensemble playing is an essential part of the curriculum. In the first year, piano students enrol in the Lied class, where they form a regular duo with a student studying singing. As of the second year chamber music is a compulsory part of the curriculum; from the second through the fourth year students are coached in ensembles comprised of various instruments.
Preparation for Professional Practice
Although the curriculum is strongly orientated towards music performance, pedagogical subjects and the subject ‘Entrepreneurship’ also form part of the curriculum. Through these subjects students become excellently prepared for all facets of their future profession.
Concluding the Study
At the end of the bachelor programme the student is capable of presenting a persuasive public recital with music from different style periods and in various instrumentations.
For many students the bachelor final exam forms the starting point of a Master’s education at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam or abroad.
* two etudes, to be chosen from C. Czerny - opus 740; M. Clementi - 'Gradus ad Parnassum'; J.B. Cramer/Bülow or etudes of similar standard
* polyphony: a three-part Invention, some movements from a suite or a prelude and fugue from Das wohltemperierte Clavier by J.S. Bach
* one or more movements from a classical sonata
* two repertoire pieces of the candidate's choice, in different styles
The development of distinguishing artistic qualities is central to the two-year Master programme, in addition to developing excellent pianistic skills.
Within the principal subject, master students can specialize in certain repertoire, such as chamber music and contemporary music. It is also possible to compile a multidisciplinary Master’s curriculum, combining piano with another keyboard instrument at the Department of Keyboard Studies.
In addition to a Master’s degree with piano as principal subject, students can also choose to continue studying for a:
Master’s Degree in Répétiteurship, vocal or instrumental
Master’s Degree in Piano Trio
After completing the curriculum the student is equipped for a professional career at an international standard.
1. The entrance exam programme includes solo works from various style periods and has a minimal duration of 50 minutes. The candidate must submit a programme proposal to the CvA study secretariat before 15 February.
2. In addition to a high level of technical ability, the candidate must demonstrate an involved, personal approach to the musical material. He/she must be able to convince the committee that these aspects in particular can be further developed.
Naum Grubert principal subject
David Kuyken principal subject
Frank van de Laar principal subject section representative &
Frank Peters principal subject
Jan Wijn principal subject
Ralph van Raat contemporary music
Olga Pashchenko period keyboard instruments
Marc Pauwels methodology
Marianne Boer Sweelinck Academy
Nino Gvetadze Sweelinck Academy