Why study composition in Rotterdam?

Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art. Claude Debussy

The Codarts Composition Interfaculty (CCI) lies at the heart of the Rotterdam Conservatory. It consists of the composition and arranging streams in both the Classical and Jazz departments of the Conservatory.

Our main mission is to offer the composition students ample opportunity to explore the many styles and possibilities of today’s varied musical landscape. Based on a solid knowledge of techniques and traditions, we encourage the development of the students' own musical aspirations.

At the CCI you have the opportunity to have lessons from all the composition teachers (team-teaching) and to work with classical and jazz musicians, dancers and musicians from the world music department. You are welcome to work in the electronic studio, combine your work with visual techniques, and have full access to the small but well equipped theater hall in order to develop your skills in writing for theater.

Students can choose from a wide range of minors and electives and you are encouraged to learn to play an instrument to a proficient level.

For more information: or

our team

Peter-Jan Wagemans

team leader and teaches composition

Paul M.van Brugge

Teaches contemporary(jazz) composing and arranging

Hans Koolmees

teachers instrumentation and composition

Robin de Raaff

teaches composition

René Uijlenhoet

electronic studio


Peter-Jan Wagemans

team leader and teaches composition

Peter-Jan Wagemans (1952) Drawing away from the serialistic methodology, Wagemans developed an alternative method of composing early on in his career. For the outer layer of his music, he designs a narrative line. Wagemans explains: “Music tells a story, like all time-bound art forms”. In the inner layer, structure and archetype are created, together supplying the composition with sound and expression; again, comparable to the language of form and image in film. Improvising at the piano, Wagemans creates an outer layer in the music which continuously levitates between intellect and intuition. This method of working results in music that is easy to follow; for example, in the case of the large Seventh Symphony (1999), where the outer layer has a spontaneous, almost improvisatory character, in which the structure (the inner layer) has been calculated to the last detail.

Peter-Jan Wagemans studied organ, composition and theory at the Royal Conservatory, The Hague, and also studied with Klaus Huber in Freiburg, Germany. His music is played at numerous festivals, among them Donaueschingen, Royan, Warsaw, Venice and Prague. The last ten years have seen his works performed by (among others) The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, with Ricardo Chailly and Maris Jansons; The Residentie Orchestra, with Reinbert de Leeuw; the Rotterdam Philharmonic; the Dutch Radio Orchestras; the Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg; Südwestfunk Orchester, and the chamber orchestras of Genève and Wintertur.

In addition, Wagemans has composed music for the ASKO/Schoenberg Ensemble, the Notabu ensemble Düsseldorf and the DoelenEnsemble. For pianist, Tomoko Mukaijama, he composed Het Landschap (The landscape): an expansive cycle of works for piano solo. In February 2011, Wageman‘s opera Legende was premièred and enjoyed much success at the Amsterdam Music Theatre. Between 1990 and 2012, he has been the leading artistic manager of the Rotterdam-based contemporary music ensemble Het DoelenEnsemble.


Paul M.van Brugge

Teaches contemporary (jazz related) composing and arranging

Paul M. van Brugge studied both classical and jazz composition. As a jazz pianist he toured with different ensembles, for whom he also wrote the music. Since 1986, van Brugge‘s composing has included writing contemporary classical- and jazz music, along with composing music for film, dance and theatre. His orchestral works are performed by international ensembles and orchestras such as Clazz Ensemble, Doelen Ensemble, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra, Holland Symfonia, Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra at Temple Square and the Westdeutschen Rundfunk Orchestra. He composed over 100 film scores for features and documentaries by internationally acclaimed film directors such as Alejandro Agresti, Sonia Herman Dolz, Ramon Gieling, Nana Dhordhadze and Michael King. He was awarded the Condor de Plata Best Music 2004 in Argentina for his ‘Valentin’ score; the Golden Calf Best Music 2005 in Holland for his ‘Alias Kurban Said’ score, and the USA BIFFY Best Soundtrack Award 2011 for his symphonic score of ‘The Rescuers’. 

Paul M. van Brugge teaches at Codarts since 1997.

Content wise, Paul M van Brugge‘s composition lessons are student driven, with a clear focus on (horizontal and vertical aspects of) the work to be composed. Although most jazz music is in many aspects still based on traditional jazz forms and their melodic/harmonic content, contemporary jazz music has been influenced by 20th Century composers and their composition techniques. For those who want to contribute compositions to the contemporary jazz area, these lessons present an investigation in 20th Century classical music, with a focus on narrative jazz composing. Nowadays we find more and more ensembles in which both jazz and classical performers unite and work together, combining composition and performing techniques from both worlds.

Paul M. van Brugge‘s composition lessons are especially -but not only- designed for those amongst you who have an interest in eclectively combining aspects of both worlds into their compositions.

You may want to:


Hans Koolmees

teachers instrumentation and composition

Man with woman walked through meadow, said: so neatly mowed this land is. Woman however, contrariwise, spoke: mowed is it not, but trimmed, man most adamant; now said man that mowed and woman said trimmed. Man, incensed, threw woman in water.

Now being in water and unable to speak, thrust she her hand above water, making gesture with fingers of scissors, indicating that it was trimmed.

(Velicoe Zercale, Russia 1766)

Hans Koolmees was born on the 27th of October 1959 in Abcoude, Holland. At the conservatory of Rotterdam he studied composition with Klaas de Vries, organ with Jet Dubbeldam, arranging and conducting with Bernard van Beurden, and electronic music with Gilius van Bergeijk.

Hans Koolmees currently works as a composer, as a teacher in composition and instrumentation at Codarts Rotterdam, and as an organist. His compositions have been performed by Oliver Knussen, The Hague ; Philharmonic Orchestra; The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Daniel Reuß; Cappella Amsterdam; the Schönberg Ensemble; the Doelen Ensemble, Ellen Corver, Lucas Vis, and Calefax reed quintet. From 2003 – 2008 he was the artistic director of the DoelenEnsemble. In 2009/2010 he was artist-in-residence in the Van Doesburghuis in Meudon, near Paris.

More info


Robin de Raaff

teaches composition and instrumentation

Accoustic composition: Robin de Raaff Robin de Raaff (Breda, 1968) discovered his own diverse musical world through playing classical piano as well as bass guitar as a young teenager.
He first studied composition with Geert van Keulen and later at the Amsterdam Conservatory with Theo Loevendie, graduating cum laude in 1997. In 1999 De Raaff had the special privilege of being invited to work as George Benjamin‘s only composition student at the Royal College of Music in London where he also studied with Julian Anderson.

In 2000 De Raaff was invited to Tanglewood Music Center as the ’Senior Composition Fellow’ which was the beginning of a series of commissions (Piano Concerto for the Festival of Contemporary Music and Entangled Tales for the Boston Symphony Orchestra) and performances of his septet, Ennea’s Domein and Un Visage d’Emprunt. This was the beginning of a wider exposure with performances and residencies in North America through festivals such as, The Aspen Music Festival, Cabrillo Festival (Santa Cruz) and The Banff Center, Lincoln Center (New York).

De Raaff finished his first opera RAAFF in 2004, which was commissioned by the Netherlands Opera in a co-production with the Holland Festival. His second opera, also commissioned by the Netherlands Opera - with the libretto written, in both cases, by Janine Brogt - resulted in Waiting for Miss Monroe (2012)

De Raaff‘s Violin Concerto (2008) was written for Tasmin Little. De Raaffs special interest in this genre led him to compose a Cello Concerto (2013, commissioned by Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra) and a Percussion Concerto (2014 commissioned by The New Juilliard Ensemble).



René Uijlenhoet

electronic studio, TEACHES SONIC ARTS (DIGITAL VIDEO TECHNIQUES), composition


René Uijlenhoet teaches electronic music composition and is responsable for the electronic studio. René Uijlenhoet works as composer, performer, audio-art installation designer, lecturerand researcher in the field of,  electro-acoustic music.        


Since 1997 he has been part of the composition department of the Rotterdam Conservatoire (Codarts). His music is published by MCN./Donemus, Basta and Peer-verlag. In connection with his composing and lecturing practice he conducts research on the subjects of sound synthesis and new spectralism, the relationship between timbre and colour, microtonality, spatialisation (by utilizing, for example, 'ambisonics'), algorithmic composition strategies, live-electronics in combination with acoustic instruments, the history of electronic music and analog studio-techniques, improvisation with live-programming and also sonification of medical data.  


About the Codarts electronic studio:

The composing department of Codarts has a special ‘hybrid‘ composing studio at its disposal. The  Ton-Bruynèl studio owes its name to the Dutch composer Ton Bruynèl, who pioneered the first private studio for electronic music in 1957. Thanks to the Ton Bruynèl Foundation, the conservatory has been allowed to use this cultural heritage ever since Ton Bruynèl‘s death in 1998. This enables students to work with equipment from the early days of Stockhausen and Pierre Henry, such as the beautiful filters and tape recorders, as well as with instruments from the 70s, 80s and 90s.

In those years, Bruynèl extended his studio with synthesizers such as the well-known EMS VCS3, but also, surprisingly, with polyphonic analogue instruments and digital samplers. As a result of this, a quintessential part of the evolution of electronic music has been made accessible in this former private studio.

In 2013 and 2014, the Ton Bruynèl studio was beautifully renovated and integrated with the computer studio of the conservatory itself, which has merged the past and future into one hybrid studio.

Major and subsidiary students realise many new compositions each year through works for ‘fixed‘ media projects (e.g pieces for the new choreograhies of the dance academy of Codarts, such as the annual project Blind Date), but every year there are an increasing number of live electronica, or electronic-acoustic pieces.

Rotterdam Conservatory


The Rotterdam Conservatory is a part of Codarts, an international university providing high level professional arts education in music, dance and circus arts. The university has about 1,000 students, of 50 nationalities, and around 340 staff members.

It provides internationally acclaimed education in: Music - Rotterdam Conservatoire Dance – specialised in modern dance Circus arts - a combination of athletics and showmanship

Along with its high standard of teaching the Rotterdam Conservatory is characterised by the broadness of styles that it offers. The conservatoire consists of five academies:

Classical Music



— comprising the departments of:

Entrance into the composition department

The students enter our department under three profiles:

Entrance requirements

Classical / Electronic music

Candidates are required to submit at least three original works (scores and/or soundfiles) these works must demonstrate sufficient talent in composition. Motivation will be tested in an interview (live or through Skype)

Composing / Arranging Jazz

Application for Jazz Composition Bachelor or Master.
In order to be able to assess your technical compositional skills and your artistic approach towards composition and arranging, the Jazz Composition Assessment Committee needs you to hand in:

1) The complete and detailed partitures (no lead-sheets) in PDF format (Sibelius or Finale files are not accepted) of minimum 2, maximum 3 ARRANGEMENTS from 'Jazz Standards' , for different  line-ups/ensembles, together with their related audio files (either live recorded or Midi versions) in MP3 Format.

2) The complete and detailed partitures (no lead-sheets) in PDF format (Sibelius or Finale files are not accepted) of minimum 2, maximum 3 COMPOSITIONS  for different  line-ups/ensembles, together with their related audio files (either live recorded or Midi versions) in MP3 Format.

3) 1 motivation letter in PDF format of Max 2 A4 pages explaining why you want to study at Codarts Jazz Composition department.

Please send 1, 2 and 3 in one file via WETRANSFER (material sent via other systems will be refused) to:


Be sure to put your name on all partitures and on the motivation letter.

Paul M. van Brugge

Codarts Jazz Composition Department 

The Bachelor

Within the main subject profile the following lessons are compulsory:

Each school year, the students choose between a number of possibilities:

The school offers a range of minors in which students can take lessons in many fields of the Rotterdam Conservatory. See under Rotterdam Conservatory.

Within the range of the general subjects, the usual are compulsive (Solfège, History of Music, etc.)

The Master

The Master consists of four parts:


Projects in 14/15

Composition projects have to be organised every year so we cannot offer a fixed program. However, to give you an idea of what is offered, we include our project calendar of 13/14:

Projects calendar

The Rotterdam – The Hague conservatory ensemble

Collaboration, mixed ensemble

CCE: Codarts Composers Ensemble

Mixed ensemble

Three projects of The Rotterdam new music ensemble

Three ensemble projects; the ensemble can vary in size from 12 to 40 instruments

Collaboration with the Piano department.

One composition student writes for a piano student and they work together

Asko projekt

Collaboration with the Asko/Schönberg ensemble

Blind Date

Yearly collaboration between our dance department and composers

Gaueamus project - Composers Ball

Mixed ensemble and electronics

museum concerts

5 chamber music concerts played in the Jewish historic museum in Amsterdam

Instant composing

4 composers and 4 jazz/pop musicians work working together

Conductor’s Week

Arrangements written by composition students. First Tableau of Stravinsky‘s Petrouchka and a selection of songs by Charles Ives.
Performed by instrumentalists, singers and conductors of Codarts.

From behind the score

Every two month an evening with presentations of newly composed works.

Metropole orchestra workshop

Arranging for Symphonic Big Band

Music in Motion

Collaboration with the Willem de Kooning Accademy for visual arts Rotterdam composing music for film

Percussive Piano Project

Writing Groove Etudes for piano


Arranging music for musical

Some allumni

Rob Zuidam

Felipe Perez Santiago

Edward Top

Sander Germanus

Florian Magnus Maier

Rodrigo Faina

Friso van Wijck

Renard Aust

Antonio Ballestin

Leonard Evers

Dimitar Bodurov

Esteve Molero

Petar Doundakov

Anna Mikhailova

Inma Galiot

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