The blind pianist Thomas Böttcher (1977) studied Latin piano and jazz composition/arranging at the University of the Arts “Codarts” in Rotterdam. Since 2005 he has been working at Codarts as a teacher for Latin piano, practical harmony, ensemble director and accompanist. Böttcher has earned broad respect by those who enjoy salsa and Latin jazz not only as an outstanding pianist but also as a gifted composer/arranger, lending his talents among others to Latin jazz band “Nueva Manteca”, percussionist “Gerardo Rosales”, singer “Luisito Rosario”, trumpetist “Maite Hontele”, the “New Israeli Vocal Ensemble” and the “Augsburg Opera House”.
As a sensitive accompanist and song writer he collaborates with a great variety of singers, touching a wide range of genres from Afro-Cuban and Brazilian to chanson and cabaret.
Since 2016 Böttcher has been based in Cologne, Germany. Here he became the co-founder of his most recent musical project, the international Latin Jazz quintet “Eh’Neeky!”, which almost exclusively features Böttcher’s original compositions.
Why do you believe students should come to Codarts?
Codarts can offer you deep insight into very diverse musical traditions. With its world music programme it really stands out! You can literally hear the different departments right next to you, and they can provide you with the necessary expertise to broaden your musical horizon. It is a vibrant and inspiring place for students and teachers.
What are you going to teach them?
I hope to contaminate my students with my own profound love for Afro Cuban music, along with the necessary musical skills to play it. This means much more than a pure transfer of knowledge. You really PLAY your instrument, when you use it to authentically express, what you hear and feel inside. That is why I want to teach my students to always listen consciously when making music.
How are you going to teach them?
A child will learn a language purely by listening and talking. I use the same practical approach when teaching a musical language by e. g. helping the students to transcribe and play solos to get new musical ideas for their improvisation. My aim is to provide them with material that inspires and challenges them on a personal level and will stimulate them to make their own artistic choices.
Scholarship in 2005 (Stichting Vrienden van Codarts)