Codarts Rotterdam begins its new year this week and it is great to see new and returning students again after the summer break. In the Classical Music Department we begin with an introductory session of our Open Podium series today. The idea behind Open Podium is to offer students a regular platform to play to a supportive audience comprising fellow students, teachers and visitors.

The two-hour events usually feature between eight and ten soloists or ensembles across all instruments and voices each playing for between ten and fifteen minutes. Each performance is followed by a discussion about the work performed, issues of style and interpretation and aspects of performance technique.  The discussion is led by myself or a colleague teacher but anyone present can contribute. We discourage negative comments as much as possible and encourage all kinds of positive but searching insights.

These sessions have proved extremely useful for students who wish to try out a newly learned work, to prepare for an exam or competition or just to play one of their repertoire works. Some students have returned to play the same work again to develop their performance further and we welcome this as a useful facility. The fact that all instruments and voices take part makes Open Podium completely different from department events and masterclasses which focus on instrument specific matters.

We will hold up to thirty Open Podiums during the year. Details from Marien van der Meer at Codarts Rotterdam (

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