Chris Leenders (the Netherlands) received his degrees in percussion and brass band conduction from the Rotterdam Conservatoire in 1995 and 1998 (with honours) respectively. He studied percussion under Robert van Sice, Randy Max, Willem Heesen, Jan Pustjens, and Nick Woud, and conduction under Jaap Koops, Arie van Beek, and Jos van der Sijde. In November 1998, he received his degree in Brass Band Conduction with a graduation concert with the Marinierskapel.
Aside from his regular appointment as timpanist with the Residentie Orkest, Chris works as a freelance percussionist with various orchestras and ensembles and as a teacher with Codarts Rotterdam and Kunstlokaal in Gemert. He also conducts diverse programmes with orchestras and ensembles and leads one ensemble on a regular basis (percussion group Excelsior from Gemert). Chris was also coach with the Nationaal Jeugd Orkest and juror/examinator for various competitions and exams.
“In the ’90s, I was a member of Percussive Rotterdam. With this ensemble, I experienced various highlights, such as performances during the Internationale Ferienkurs fur Neue Musik in Darmstadt, concerts at the Microtonal Festival in London, the P.A.S. Convention in Columbus, Ohio, and at the Centre George Pompidou in Paris. I was and am also part of incredible concerts as a timpanist and percussionist of the Residentie Orkest, with conductors such as Jarvi, Van Zweden, Svetlanov, and Roshdestwenskij.”
Why do you believe students should come to Codarts?
“The classical percussion section maintains high standards when it comes to professional skill, based on classical principles derived from orchestra percussion. Codarts is frontrunner when it comes to innovation. With specialists on hand drums, marimba, and vibraphone and in the area of music theatre, the school offers students an immensely rich programme.”
What are you going to teach them?
“My lessons focus on orchestra playing and modern music. I am also one of the teachers to coach the ensembles.”
How will you do this?
“From the first lesson on, I am keen on a proper basic technique. A very conscious use of arms, wrists, and fingers is essential. I give a lot of attention to the small drum, timpani, and other orchestra percussion. As section representative, I think it is very important that students feel at home – a condition for an optimal study return. This requires constant care, and I am happy to give it.”
1993 Special percussion prize at the Internationaal Gaudeamus Vertolkers Concours (as a member of Percussive Rotterdam).