Since the “Château du Bois” was no longer available for rent, I decided to rent the accommodation “Des Fées au bord de l’eau” in the small village of Chiny in the Belgian Ardennes.
The advantage of this accommodation was that every participant had his own bedroom with shower and toilet. For those who wanted to, there was a free, luxurious sauna.
Unfortunately, one participant had to cancel at the last minute. The other seven participants arrived in Chiny in the evening of Friday 25 February after a longer or shorter flight, train and/or car journey. The group was very international: Erik (Canada), Cristian (Colombia), Maren (Germany), Petromila (Croatia), Michiel (Netherlands), Stanislav (Russia) and Christian (Germany).
Unlike previous editions of the master class, this time there was a group lesson every day in the morning (30 minutes) and one in the evening (60 minutes).
This proved to be a good structure for the day. During the first three days, all participants had a daily individual lesson of 50 minutes.
On the fourth day, there were technique lessons in small groups in the morning and in the afternoon we went for a joint walk through the woods of Chiny.
From the 5th day onwards, we had the two excellent pianists Mourik Jan and Evert-Jan at our disposal, who played the repertoire worked on earlier in the week, consisting of the 1st movement from Beethoven’s 1st symphony, Fauré’s “Pelléas et Mélisande” and Debussy’s “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune”, in an outstanding manner in the individual lessons.
The week ended with a presentation in the dining hall, which was converted into a concert hall for the occasion. Each participant conducted a part of the mentioned repertoire, played by both pianists. I was very proud of all candidates, who one by one showed an enormous progression in one week.
Partly due to the extra assignments that the participants received during the course, the master class as a whole was experienced as very intensive. Therefore, every evening, a nice drink and a snack were enjoyed to end the day in a pleasant atmosphere.
As with all previous master classes, everyone was full of praise for the hospitality, friendliness and cooking skills of Astrid, who worked hard all week to provide a generous and nutritious breakfast, a delicious lunch and a tasty three-course dinner every day.
The background and entry level of the participants, although all professional musicians, was very diverse, ranging from baroque musicians who wanted to learn how to conduct, to a conductor who already had his Master’s degree in conducting. Despite all the differences, it was a great and homogeneous group, who started the masterclass as strangers from each other and left it as friends.
“The masterclasses are the perfect opportunity to get into the technique of conducting and the study of scores, a week full of knowledge in a beautiful place with very nice people and an incredible teacher. René Gulikers knows how to guide each student in his personal search and to give the precise advice that each one needs to learn or improve his technique.”
“I was always convinced that every professional musician absolutely had to learn conducting. That contributes above all to a general understanding of music, the mere beating of bars was not my main goal. But without the right conducting technique, you won’t get very far. A conductor’s instrument is his hands, and it is important to train them correctly from the beginning. The course with Mr. Gulikers was just right for me: clear tasks, intensive cooperation, sufficient feedback. Each participant was taught at his or her individual level, and observing the lessons of others was just as exciting as experiencing my personal development day by day.”
“I wanted to thank you and Astrid for the wonderful experience in Belgium as the Masterclass was rewarding and a great learning experience for me on many levels.”
“I have learned so much. I can hardly believe it. It will take some time to process everything.
…. Memorising the score is a great thing that I have added to my daily routine. I look at scores in a completely different way. It’s really a great feeling. And it gives me a whole new sense of confidence.”
Read more about the 2022 summer masterclass here, 2021 masterclasses here and the 2020 masterclass here.
Through this link you get all information about the upcoming masterclass.