I am happy to inform you about some new developments in my activities as a conductor/teacher.
As with every conductor in the world, due to the Corona crisis, all my rehearsals, concerts and tours were cancelled during the months of March until June. My concert in Nizhny Novgorod (Russia) with the Philharmonic Orchestra, didn’t take place, tours to Poland and Slovenia were cancelled and I wasn’t allowed to do my work at the Music Academy in Bremen. It was the time to make new plans.
International masterclass in conducting technique and score study
During this lockdown period, I planned to organise an international masterclass in conducting technique and score study. Finally, it took place under my leadership two weeks ago in “Château du Bois”, a hunting lodge build by Pierre Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte I, in Nassogne (Ardennes, Belgium).
Six participants with different musical backgrounds worked during 7 days very hard in a beautiful environment.
The first three days were filled with individual lessons, mainly on conducting technique and score study. The repertoire consisted of two overtures (Hebriden, Freischütz) and two symphonies (Beethoven 5, Haydn 104), but some of them worked on individual repertoire as well.
On the fourth day, we worked in small groups in the morning and in the afternoon we made a lovely walk in the woods and the village of Nassogne. On day 5 we concentrated on the repertoire mentioned above and the last two days, we worked with two pianists, making a video recording of all lessons.
Every evening, we worked in group lessons on matters like the Christ-recitatives from Bach’s Matthew-Passion.
During the day, everybody enjoyed the delicious joint meals and at the end of the day, there was some time to have a drink from the bar.
The participants and the pianists were a fantastic group. I was very satisfied about all my students and proud of my wife Astrid who cared for the meals.
Here are some quotes by the participants and pianists:
Mark: “René is a talented and experienced professor who skilfully improves everyone’s conducting technique and vision on music.”
Linda: “I learned more in this single week than I could otherwise have hoped in several months.”
Aafko: “I definitely hope to return!”
Meija: “A truly recommendable masterclass for each level!”
Lonneke: “René Gulikers knows how to motivate experienced conductors and starting conductors (professional musicians who want to start conducting).”
Uschik: “It was an instructive and intensive week with René Gulikers, and I hope for further courses with him.”
Constant (pianist): “René Gulikers’ approach was very constructive, calm, making everyone feel safe and open, but at the same time everyone was approached differently and stimulated to take a step forward on his own level.”
Mourik Jan (pianist): The way René teaches is very much tailored to each individual student: Always finding ways to best express the student’s own musical views and ideas.
After this very succesfull week, I am planning already the next masterclasses: one will be in March 2021 and the other one in August 2021. In case you are interested in participating, or in case you know someone who could be, please let me know.
Photos 1, 3: Linda van der Spaa; photos 2, 4, 9: Lonneke Regter; photos 5, 6, 14: René Gulikers; photos 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15: Constant Notten
Amsterdam VU Orchestra
Although it was not planned, I am still interim conductor with the Amsterdam VU Orchestra. I started last week with two programs: the first with Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and Beethoven’s 7th symphony, the second with Schoenberg’s Fanfare for a Bowl Concert, Bruckner’s Symphonisches Praeludium, Bartok’s Hungarian Pictures and Shostakovich’s 1st symphony. The orchestra gives me a lot of energy and I am enjoying to work with it. Besides this program, I prepared Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra overture and Shostakovich’s Second Waltz for a cooperation with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Fonds voor de Podiumkunsten
On September 1st, I reached the maximum term of six years as an advisor of the Dutch Fund for the Performing Arts (Fonds voor de Podiumkunsten). With a lot of pleasure, I have been advising the Fund during the past years. Meeting inspiring co-advisors, having positive discussions with the staff, learning about new projects in The Netherlands, listening to the newest music, reading new scores, getting introduced to business models etc., all these things brought me closer to the musical environment were I am actually living in.
Royal Conservatoire in The Hague
Also from September 1st, I stopped teaching Orchestral Conducting at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, due to some problems with the curriculum. I had a great time there, my students were/are amazing and I am grateful having had the opportunity to teach them the fundamentals of our phantastic profession.
Jury member International Music Competition
The latest news is that I will participate as a jury member of the international online classical music competition “Music and Stars Awards” https://musicandstarsawards.com/, taking place from November to December 2020. I will assess the work of conductors from all over the world and from different levels and ages. I am looking forward to it.
There will be new challenges during the coming months. Will I be able to teach in Bremen as usual? Will my guest conducting in Nizhny Novgorod (March 2021) take place? Will there be new people, ensembles, orchestras to meet? Will my latest masterclass be the first of a long-standing tradition? Etc. For now, I have a lot of energy to start the new season. In my next post, I will write about my (new) experiences.