Brass forms an inherent part of our musical landscape, and it is difficult to imagine a symphony orchestra, brass band, or wind orchestra without a good brass section. Brass players are well-represented elsewhere, too, in a legion of other professional contexts: in brass ensembles, chamber music, musical theatre, and in the teaching of professionals and amateurs. The brass department of the Royal Conservatoire, Antwerp is therefore focused on providing the student with broad skills, so that he or she can enter the professional world at a later stage in an independent and flexible manner, whether or not within the traditional orchestral framework.
You will be trained in traditional orchestral and ensemble playing, with an emphasis on orchestral solos, repertoire and audition training. The teachers will take account of your current technical playing level and your stylistic knowledge and introduce essential skills such as transposition, sight-reading, intonation, and literature study. During your bachelor’s study, you will concentrate on mastering the essential basic technique of your instrument, and on developing a healthy and ambitious study attitude. You will apply these skills to solo and orchestral repertoire from the Classical, Romantic, and Modernist periods. In the master’s course, this repertoire is expanded to include contemporary and baroque music, always leaving room for you to develop your own profile. Performance occasions, concerts, and recitals provide you with the requisite practical and stage experience, and teach you how to enter into an artistic dialogue with the audience.
Teaching takes the form of one-on-one coaching and group-lessons, all provided by an experienced team of teachers who themselves hold important solo positions in the national and international orchestral and chamber music world. This coaching is supplemented with various masterclasses by national and international great masters, which are always open to all brass students.
Numerous practical experiences will prepare you for professional life: productions with symphony orchestra, wind orchestra and ensembles directed by students from the conducting class, specific audition training and short courses in orchestras. The brass department works on a project basis with the renowned brass ensemble, Belgian Brass, with which some of the teachers are active musicians. The department also regularly sets up one-off brass projects providing the student with even more experience, such as the international trumpet competition or the formation of the brass ensemble, Extra Large.
Other aspects of artistic practice are also expressly provided for in addition to traditional orchestral and ensemble settings: interdisciplinary collaborations with dance, drama or the visual arts, creative projects, contemporary creations and entrepreneurship, etc., enrich the portfolio of each student.
The combination of in-depth mastery of the instrument, technical excellence, artistic identity, broad orchestral and ensemble-playing experience, and the broad application of the study programmes shapes each student into a musician who is ready for the profession, at both national and international level.