Woodwinds play an indispensable role in symphony orchestras, chamber music ensembles, and wind orchestras. The Woodwind department at the Royal Conservatoire, Antwerp is therefore heavily focused on traditional orchestral and ensemble training, led by an experienced staff of teachers who also occupy important solo positions in the national and international orchestral and chamber music world.
The unique talents and passions of each individual student (flautists, clarinettists, oboists, bassoonists, and saxophonists) are explored and developed via intensive one-on-one coaching, group lessons and international masterclasses, leading the student to achieve advanced expertise in his or her principal discipline.
This training is supplemented with a broad spectrum of supporting theoretical subjects which ensure that the student is equipped with essential competencies required of an orchestral musician, such as sight-reading, transposition, intonation and literature study. The specialisation in the student’s own instrument can be supplemented with the study of related instruments: contrabassoon, bass clarinet, cor anglais, piccolo, etc., in order to give the student comprehensive instrumental training.
A broad range of practical experiences prepares each student for professional working life: from projects with symphony orchestra, wind orchestra, and ensembles directed by students from the conducting class, to audition training, to short courses in orchestras. Collaborations with external professional orchestras and groups (including the internationally-renowned wind ensemble in residence, I Solisti del Vento) mean that the profession is literally brought into the study programme.
Other aspects of the profession are also expressly provided for in addition to traditional orchestral and ensemble settings; interdisciplinary collaborations with the dance department, creative projects, contemporary creations, and entrepreneurship, etc., enrich the portfolio of each student.
The combination of in-depth mastery of the instrument, technical excellence, broad ensemble-playing experience, knowledge of the profession, orchestral know-how and the broad application of the study programmes shapes each student into a musician who is ready for the professional world.