Jazz Festivals, Concerts, Projects
We believe music festivals will play a major part in every performing musician’s career, and therefore it should play an equal part in your education.
The Conservatorium Maastricht organizes two recurring festivals, the Jazz Night in November and the Graduation Jazz Fest in May and June. The Jazz Night presents our own student bands in a festival setting at the Muziekgieterij, reaching over 1000 visitors every year.
The Graduation Jazz Fest makes graduating less of a school activity and launches our future alumni into the professional world of performing musicians. In collaboration with the Theater aan het Vrijthof, AINSI and Muziekgieterij we aim to find the fitting venue for every concert and open the graduation process up for the Maastricht audience and your friends and family.
In addition to our own productions, we continue to be in close contact with the various festivals in the Eu-region. With our students presenting their own projects at smaller festivals like Yellowtime, performing showcases at Injazz Rotterdam or Jazz Juan in France or major projects like Fringe Orchestra performing at the world-famous North Sea Jazz Festival.
Big Band & Orchestra
The traditional Big Band is at the core of jazz history. Besides offering our weekly big band rehearsals featuring historic original arrangements from Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Count Basie and others, we typically offer a Big Band Projects every semester. We have been honoured to feature American artists like Dave Mackrel, John Clayton and John Beasley, but also invite European guests like Ack van Rooyen and our own Reiner Witzel.
After previous collaborations between Jesse Passenier’s ‘Fluid Orchestra’ and our students, in 2018 we officially founded the ‘Fringe Orchestra’. Featuring guest artist Bex Burch (UK), they made their debut with ‘The Science of Groove’ at international festivals North Sea Jazz, Rotterdam, and Music Meeting, Nijmegen.
New York Trip
Each January we invite 10 students on a 1-week trip to New York City. Master students prioritized.
During this week we visit the Jazz Congress, featuring lectures on all topics related to the jazz industry. We visit historic venues like the Village Vanguard and the Blue Note. The Public Library of the Performing Arts welcomes our students for a private tour and hands-on with exclusive originals from the early 20th-century, supporting Master students with their research paper. The New School of Music offers a workshop and tour. We end our week with the Winter Jazz Fest Marathon, featuring the best upcoming jazz acts New York City has to offer. Students are able to explore the city and its jam sessions throughout this week
Jazz Congress 2019: exchanging ideas to nurture & grow the jazz community
During the congress, many topics were discussed during interesting panels. Especially for the students, this congress was a great fit in their development. The panels were inspirational, philosophical but also very practical, making it easy for the students to apply the new information they've heard. Below, we'd like to zoom in on a few panels which were relevant. Do you want to continue the discussion, or hear more about the experiences? Feel free to open up conversation!
Many panels were live streamed on Facebook during the congress and are still available to watch.
Ready, Set, Go!
Young, working musicians shared their keys to success for those entering the freelance jazz world. Creating a market for yourself and your skills is hugely important. A discussion incorporating the worlds of performance, education, composition, technology, recording, producing, marketing, networking, and more. In the ever-changing world of technology and independent music, it is necessary now more than ever to put your best foot forward and define your goals and strengths. The panelists set great examples of how a performing musician can use their expertise in music to recognise and develop new tools. It set a great example of how the theory of our Your Art as a Business course could be put to practice in infinite ways.
Gender, Race, Culture: Safe Spaces
Members of the We Have Voice Collective spoke about the WHV Code of Conduct and the issues that are experienced regularly. The goal remains to develop an understanding of and working toward equity and the creation of safe(r) spaces in the performing arts.
Transgender and gender fluid artists had an open conversation about acceptance, support, and challenges to diverse voices. Transgender artists have been present in jazz for decades, but voices and stories are often suppressed.
Also, an inspirational panel was led about the social, cultural, and racial factors that come in to play that affect an individual's perception, acceptance or rejection of the concept of swing as a rhythm or swing as a feeling or verb. Especially Wynton Marsalis made a point towards “black culture” and how he feels it should be treated.
These topics raised new questions for us as well: How does the American tradition of jazz translate to our European culture? What is the tension in our society when it comes to race and racism? As an international school we should be aware of opinions on these topics not only from our point of view, but from others as well.
Meeting heroes and visiting The New School and Juilliard
We were proud to see that students sunk their teeth into New York. There was not one evening where they didn't attend a concert or jamsession at jazz clubs like Smalls, Iridium, Birdland, Blue Note, Village Vanguard, The Jazz Standard or Mezzrow. One of the highlights was at the Blue Note, witnessing the soundcheck of the Jimmy Heath Big Band and meeting up with Michael Mossman.
The students experienced what it would be like to study in New York. After a tour around Juilliard we headed for The New School where we were invited to have a workshop with David Glasser. David gave them a stimulating and constructive workshop as individuals, but also about jazz in general, what it means to be a musician, and communicating musically while playing together. Singing bebop lines to train your ears on chord progressions, different routes to travel through a blues, and knowing your history on the jazz standards to name a few topics.
Marius Loer (drums): I took this picture at a double bill concert with the Kendrick Scott Oracle and Ben Wendel that I went to. Kendrick Scott is one of my favorite drummers and I also had a private lesson with him in the morning of the day of the concert. He shared a lot of knowledge and wisdom with me and explained his approach to playing the drums and the way he practises. I learned a lot from him and to see him perform in the evening was very inspiring and motivating. After the concert I met two young drummers that live in New York. One graduated from Berklee and lives in New York now and the other one studies at the Manhattan School of Music. At another concert I also met a drummer that studies at the New School. Talking with them I got a good impression of how it is to study Jazz in New York from a student’s perspective, which was really nice.
One of Katharina's highlights
Katharina Pfeifer (saxophone): An amazing moment which I won't forget! Meeting Lee Konitz after an amazing concert of the Mingus Big Band. He's 91 years old and a super sympathetic and interesting human being. We talked about fears and joy in music. Even if it was a short chat it was an honour to meet him!
The city of Maastricht offers a variety of jam sessions, changing every year with new initiatives that come and go.
We present our own monthly All Star Jam Session in collaboration with Jazz Maastricht, hosted by our trumpet teacher Carlo Nardozza. The house bands consists of our own faculty members like Matthias Nowak, Arnoud Gerritsen and Joachim Schoenecker, and features guests from Belgium, Germany and of course the Netherlands.
We continue our support for this recurring session as it offers the unique possibility for our students to perform alongside their teachers in an informal setting, open for public.
When looking for the best education, new students visit numerous Open Days. We imagined our future students would be more interested in hearing the students perform, instead of visiting the classrooms. That’s why we present our different departments on the Open Band Nights.
During the Open Band Nights, students get a chance to try-out their new band or showcase what they have been working on with their main instrument teacher. These informal nights have shown to be a great opportunity to hear your fellow students perform and gain experience presenting your own music. The frequency of these concert opportunity rely on your teacher’s preference.
Upcoming Open Nights
Monday 5 October 2020
Tuesday 6 October 2020
Monday 12 October 2020
Thursday 29 October 2020
Friday 30 October 2020
Monday 2 November 2020
Saturday 14 November 2020
Monday 7 December 2020
Thursday 21 January 2021
Monday 25 January 2021
Monday 1 February 2021
Monday 8 February 2021
We cannot stress enough how important live performing is for an education in music. Being on stage is at the center of your future profession and should be of your education. Besides the Open Band Nights, jam sessions, our Big Band concerts and festivals like the annual Jazz Night, there are still many more opportunities for students and alumni to perform.
Our Booking Agency is the place of contact for many partners we have in our region. From the local government with ‘Magical Maastricht’ during Christmas, the TEFAF to anyone looking for live music at their wedding, we believe it could be an educational experience when given the right support. As every musician will become a cultural entrepreneur, getting started making money with concerts complements our class of ‘Your Art As A Business’ which is mandatory for all students.
Music is never a competition, but jazz awards do allow upcoming musicians to get the boost to start their career. There are numerous jazz competitions that are open for everyone, available in our region, like the Eu Young Talent Award (Heerlen), Conservatorium Talent Award (Den Bosch), Dutch Jazz Competition (national) and B Jazz Competition (Leuven). Besides, those we organize our own Maastricht Jazz Award in collaboration with Jazz Maastricht, offering a category of ‘Students’ for Conservatorium Maastricht bands, and ‘Professional’ for alumni within ±100km distance.
We are proud to see our school be represented at competitions worldwide by our students and alumni.