Aftermovie 20 Years of Pop Music

20 Years of Pop Music at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam

In 2003, the Conservatorium van Amsterdam started a study programme in pop music. Now, twenty years later, we can proudly state that the pop department's right to exist as a springboard for creative and innovative pop talents has been proven time and time again.

Our pop musicians release remarkable albums and make international careers with projects such as Dewolff, WIES, Jungle by Night, EUT, Nusantara Beat, MY BABY and many others. Bands from the pop department play at festivals such as Eurosonic Noorderslag, Pinkpop, Best Kept Secret, Lowlands, Down the Rabbithole, Reeperbahn Festival (D), Glastonbury (UK) and SXSW (USA). Additionally, the work of pop students and alumni is regularly honoured with prizes and distinctions such as the Sena Pop NL Award, the Grote Prijs van Nederland, 3FM Awards, Gouden Kalf, the Amsterdam Popprijs and Edisons in various categories. Furthermore, our alumni and students perform with bands such as Spinvis, Maan, Kensington, Blaudzun, Goldband, Bløf and Van Dik Hout.

Alumni of the Pop Department are also active in other branches of the music scene. For example, songwriter and composer Tessa Rose Jackson wrote the music of three films, including the opening film of NFF 2021 Mijn vader is een viegtuig, and NINGDU, which made the IFFR Tiger selection. The song "Wat een dag" by Okke Punt, for Unox's winter commercial, was voted the most popular commercial music of 2015. Romano Wijnstein collaborated with artists such as Typhoon, Mr. Probs, Wende Snijders and Ronnie Flex, for which he received two Grammy nominations and won an Edison. Songwriter and composer Gyo Kretz has won multiple gold and platinum awards for songs for Rolf Sanchez, Vic9 ft. Ronnie Flex, Zefanio ft. Jayh, Tabitha and Sevn Alias.

The pop department has expanded to include a two-year master's degree, the Young Pop Academy for young talents, and an electronic music programme, the Amsterdam Electronic Music Academy (AEMA). During this two-year Associate Degree, students are trained to become electronic artists and producers. Alumni and teachers of AEMA can be seen in clubs and at festivals such as Club Basis, the School, Tomorrowland, Thuishaven, Mysteryland and many other venues.

We invite you all to celebrate 20 years of Pop Department with us on 5 October 2023!

Looking back on the past 20 years, I'm incredibly thrilled by the high-quality music our students are producing. It's been astounding to see how quickly they've been able to perform at major festivals like Pinkpop and even Glastonbury. Initially, I thought it might take longer for them to reach such stages.
Jack Pisters - coordinator of CvA Pop

5 October 2023 - Melkweg

A trip down memory lane with bands that have studied at the Pop department for the past 20 years. You'll see: Nusantara Beat, Sue The Night, Josphine Odhil, Parker Fans, Carceri, Meis, Schoppenheer, Swan, Klankspoor, The Great Communicators and Kitchenette!

Line-up update: DeWolffJungle by Night and Loupe will also perform.

Thursday 5 October
19.30 - 02.30h
Melkweg, Amsterdam
Tickets €15,- | Student tickets €10,-

Book your tickets here

CvA Pop has broadened my horizons and opened new worlds for me: without CvA Pop, I would not have become the musician, writer and storyteller I am today.
Xillan Macrooy

20 Years of Pop Music - A Timeline

  • start of the pop programme
  • Signe Tollefsen – Grote Prijs van Nederland ‘Best Musician’ and ‘Listeners Vote’
  • Fabiana Dammers - Grote Prijs van Nederland ‘Singer/songwriter’
  • Two Way Radio - Grote Prijs van Nederland ‘Pop/Rock’
  • Marnix Dorrestein - Grote Prijs van Nederland ‘Best Musician’
  • Klopje Popje - Amsterdamse Popprijs
  • Uri Dijk - Grote Prijs van Nederland ‘ Rock/Alternative’ and ‘Best Musician’
  • The Fudge - second prize Grote Prijs van Nederland ‘Rock/Alternative’ and ‘Listeners Vote’
  • Nicole Bus - Grote Prijs van Nederland
  • Ethereal - Grote Prijs van Nederland
  • Yori Swart – Amsterdamse Popprijs
  • Yori Swart - Grote Prijs van Nederland ‘Singer/songwriter’ and Sena Performers POP NL Award
  • David Stapel and Paul Bos from Evant Garden – Grote Prijs van Nederland ‘Best Musician’
  • Chris Kok & Civil Union – Mooie Noten Award
One thing that has helped me enormously is music theory. Before my studies I didn't understand anything about it but during my studies I found out that I find it very interesting, like a hundred puzzles that all fit together in a logical way. I still use it every day!
Pablo van de Poel (DeWolff)
  • Über-Ich - Grote Prijs van Nederland ‘Bands’
  • Lucas Hamming – Mooie Noten Award
  • Cirque Valentin – Sena Pop NL Performance Award
  • Tessa Rose Jackson - 3FM Serious Talent Award
  • The Silverfaces – Amsterdamse Popprijs
  • Jett Rebel - 3FM Serious Talent Award
  • Sarah Jane – Amsterdamse Popprijs
  • Bixby – Mooie Noten Award
  • Jeanne Rouwendaal - Grote Prijs van Nederland ‘Listeners Vote’
  • Kensington – Edison ‘Best Rock Artist/Record’
  • The Brahms – Amsterdamse Popprijs
  • Pitou – Mooie Noten Award
  • Okke Punt - finalist Best Singer/ Songwriter of the Netherlands and Best Commercial Song for 'Wat een dag’ (Unox)
  • Blupaint – Grote Prijs van Nederland
  • My Baby – Edison ‘Best Alternative Artist/Record’
  • Eelke Ankersmit – Mooie Noten Award
  • Kensington – Edison ‘Best Rock Artist/Record’
  • Indian Askin – Edison ‘Best Newcomer’
  • Tape Toy – Amsterdamse Popprijs
  • Jana Mila – Mooie Noten Award
The opportunities to develop and emerge as an autonomous musician and artist. That making music is more than just mastering your instrument. I have had lessons from so many different teachers that this has greatly enriched my image of what a musician can be.
Reinier van Harten (Reindier)
  • launch of the Amsterdam Electronic Music Academy (AEMA)
  • Wies – Amsterdamse Popprijs
  • Meis – Mooie Noten Award
  • Gyo Kretz - Gold Award ’77 Nachten’ (SFB)
  • AEMA - Associate Degree accreditation
  • Wies – Grote Prijs van Nederland
  • My Baby – Edison ‘Best Alternative’ and Gouden Notekraker
  • DeWolff – Edison ‘Best Rock’
  • Susann. – Mooie Noten Award
  • Gyo Kretz - Gold and Platinum Award ‘Altijd Op Tijd’ (Vic9 ft. Ronnie Flex); Gold Awards ‘Bewegen’ (Zefanio ft. Jayh), ’Het spijt me niet’ (Tabitha) and ‘Seeka' (Sevn Alias)
  • Darlyn - Zilveren Notenkraker 2020
  • Kensington – Edison ‘Best Rock’
  • Pitou - 3Package Deal Amsterdam Fund for the Arts
  • Gyo Kretz - Gold en Platinum Award ‘Más Más Más’ (Rolf Sanchez)
  • launch of AEMA Hybrid
  • launch of Young Pop Academy
  • Ella van der Woude - Gouden Kalf ‘Beste Muziek’
  • Cloud Café – Amsterdamse Popprijs
  • Juliet - Mooie Noten Award
  • Darius Timmer & Tessa Rose Jackson - Buma Music in Media Award category 'Podcast'
  • Kaya - Mooie Noten Award
  • Darius Timmer & Tessa Rose Jackson - Buma Music in Media Award category 'TV series'
  • DeWolff - Gouden Notekraker
  • Time to celebrate!
CvA Pop is leading for the growth and development of pop talent in the Netherlands, for the city an important creative breeding place and for Paradiso an important partner in the promotion and presentation of pop talent. The energy and experience that Jack Pisters and his people put into it resonates through to our stage.
Geert van Itallie - director of Paradiso
We have had so many great moments at CvA Pop. For example, the grunge show at the open day at the CvA Blue Stage in the conservatory; those faces of the jazz and classical musicians! Horror!
Suus de Groot (Sue the Night)
What has stuck with me most from my time at CvA Pop is the guidance that is offered to promote your authenticity. From the moment you audition, they focus on your unique qualities. So I think every student has a unique experience because the study is largely based on who you are as an artist and person.
Mano Yeah (Romano Wijnstein)/Badjekkah/Typhoon
At the midterm exams we got to perform our new songs for the teachers in Meander. Those were golden evenings. The whole atmosphere was special. There were rockers, hip-hoppers, house heads, indie artists, everything mixed together.
Eva Simons