Composition / Arranging

The Composition/Arranging programme focuses on writing music for both small and large ensembles. Students will fully develop their musical personalities, so that they can work as arrangers/composers in the widest possible range of fields. To this end, students will follow a varied, practice-oriented curriculum, including subjects such as instrumentation, basic composing skills, counterpoint, harmony at the piano, music history, general theory subjects, Virtual Orchestration and solfège/ear training. 

Using the orchestral jazz tradition as a basis, many musical styles will be covered, and students will be encouraged to showcase new developments and trends in their music. For the performance of their compositions and arrangements, they have a wide range of ensembles, choirs and big bands and a well-equipped studio at their disposal. 

In addition to lessons from the regular teachers, students will regularly be taught by guest teachers from home and abroad. Guest teachers in recent years have included Vince Mendoza, John Clayton, Dennis Mackrel, Ken Schaphorst, Tom Trapp, Martin Fondse and Florian Ross.

Coordinator: Johan Plomp

The subjects in the bachelor’s degree programme include:

  • harmony: developing insight into harmonic progressions and voice leading
  • writing for saxophones (woodwinds)
  • writing for brass
  • writing for combinations of saxes and brass
  • writing for strings
  • writing for rhythm sections
  • dynamics, articulation & musical phrasing 
  • drafting compositions and arrangements: form, treatment of themes and motifs, dynamics, climax
  • writing arrangements/compositions for octet and/or big band

Admission requirements
Your submitted material should show your affinity with writing for larger ensembles and sufficient development perspective to enrol in this four-year orchestral bachelor programme. 
Submitting material can only be done digitally, via the application form.

Send three (or four) of your own arrangements, at least one of which should be an arrangement of a jazz standard and one original composition. The instrumentation of your arrangements should be for larger ensemble:

  • 1 big band (strings optional)
  • 1 rhythm section with at least three melody isntruments/parts
  • other arrangements: free choice

Please note

  • send full scores (live or MIDI audio recording of max. 15 min.)
  • score reductions will not be accepted; all instruments should be on separate staffs and the piano on two
  • audio on mp3 only (other formats will not be accepted) 
  • video (optional) on mp4 or YouTube only (other formats will not be accepted) 
  • scores in PDF fomat

Based upon your submitted materials, the committee will decide whether or not to invite you to the entrance exam. We may decide on giving you additional theory and analysis tests. Important issues for the assessment include:

  • craftsmanship (in arranging and composing)
  • originality/artistic vision and the potential for its further development
  • professionality (quality of the submitted scores/parts/audio and the playability of the arrangements

The master’s programme in Composition/Arranging trains students to function at the highest level in the field of jazz and jazz-related music. Students will develop a personal style and artistic view, a high level of craftsmanship in every aspect of composing/arranging and academic qualities to reflect on their music.

Admission requirements
Your submitted material should show your affinity with writing for orchestra and sufficient development perspective to enrol in this two-year orchestral master’s degree programme. 

Send three (or four) of your own orchestral arrangements, at least one of which should be an arrangement of a jazz standard and one original composition. The instrumentation of your arrangements should be orchestral:

  • 1 large group of instruments/parts within the traditional jazz spectrum
  • one piece with extra instruments from outside the traditional jazz spectrum (such as strings/live electronics/non-Western instruments)
  • other arrangements: free choice

Please note

  • send full scores with recordings (live and/or MIDI of max. 15-20 min.)
  • score reductions will not be accepted; all instruments should be on separate staffs and the piano on two
  • audio on mp3 only (other formats will not be accepted) 
  • video (optional) on mp4 or YouTube only (other formats will not be accepted) 
  • scores and parts in PDF format

Based upon your submitted materials, the committee will decide whether or not to invite you to the entrance exam. We may decide on giving you additional theory and analysis tests. Important issues for the assessment include:

  • craftsmanship (in arranging and composing)
  • originality/artistic vision and the potential for its further development
  • professionality (quality of the submitted scores/parts/audio and the playability of the arrangements

Johan Plomp coordinator, rehearsal strategies
Rob Horsting
Henk Huizinga   
Miho Hazama regular guest teacher
Walther Stuhlmacher harmony and analysis of Classical music
Barbara Bleij counterpoint
Jelle Verstraten instrumentation

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