The Codarts bachelor and master programme in Flamenco are under the artistic supervision of Alexander Gavilán Preuss and Arturo Ramón. The programme will prepare you for a very diverse professional practice. You will learn solid techniques and knowledge of flamenco styles, as well as arrangements of guitar compositions. lessons in dance and singing accompaniment are important, even as playing in ensembles across all departments at Codarts.
A bit of Flamenco history at Codarts
Founded in 1985 by world-renowned flamenco guitarist Paco Peña, alongside guitarist Ricardo Mendeville, the then Rotterdam conservatoire was the only institution in the world to offer formal training in the art of flamenco guitar. Thanks to Paco Peña’s vision the course, which was originally planned as a side subject for the classical guitar department, became a degree course in and of itself with equivalent status. Together with the Classical Indian Music Department, it formed and established the basis of the World Music Department. Apart from the enormous amount of knowledge Paco Peña brought to the school, he developed, in collaboration with the more methodically trained guitarist Hans van Gogh, a well-founded and broad-based methodology for flamenco guitar, one of the few that exist to this day. Among the more essential elements to this methodology are, but not restricted to, a detailed analysis of its techniques and a step-by-step approach to the various rhythms and forms found in flamenco.
Codarts Flamenco department today
Not only has flamenco music developed inextricably to encompass the broadening style that we know today, but the departments original founders have recently passed their responsibilities on to a new generation of teachers – Alexander Gavilán Preuss and Arturo Ramón. Both graduates of Paco Peña’s training, they are among the leading flamenco guitarists in both the Netherlands and Belgium today. Throughout the course they provide individual guitar lessons, in which solid technique and knowledge of flamenco styles are central, as well as arrangements of guitar compositions. In doing so, they demonstrate a great commitment to the students, providing space and respect for the students input and creative direction. Alexander has been working as a flamenco guitar teacher at Codarts since 2006, acting as a link between the departments past and future. Guitar teacher Arturo Ramón is not only a performing guitarist, but also an experienced sound engineer, both in studio and live settings. Together with the students, he will pay attention to sound editing, live amplification and recording techniques, something that has become increasingly important for performing artists today.
Another important aspect of the course are lessons in accompaniment (both of dance and singing). Guest teachers Irene Álvarez (dance) and María Marín (singing), both top flamenco artists, approach the various elements of accompaniment in a structured way, collaborating with students to provide a bespoke education. The various communication codes, elements of a dance, singing lines and nuances of accompaniment are explored and practiced; here, students can show what they have to offer. Percussionist Udo Demandt is another guest teacher at Codarts flamenco department. He passes on his many years of experience in flamenco to percussionists as well as guitarists. Flamenco theory and flamenco history classes are taught online by Dr. Rolf Baecker, who lives in Barcelona and teaches at Esmuc – Barcelona’s School of Music.
Lessons in general music theory, jazz harmony and music history are shared with other Codarts students. A wide range of ensembles across all departments are available for students to join, which regularly participate in live performances, not only giving students the chance to gain stage experience, but also enjoy the fruits of their labour. As more and more musical fusions are being explored in our world today, Codarts, with its unique world music department, offers the possibility to form collaborations with a broad and diverse range of genres. Through merging different stylistic elements, new forms of music are created. Additionally, Codarts offers very concretely the possibility for professional collaboration, also at an international level. Many alumni have not only gone on to collaborate with world renowned artists, but also establish themselves as respected artists in their own right.
Flamenco bachelor and master programme
For the final exam students are expected to work out a concert programme in which their different qualities as a flamenco guitarist are discussed. This programme consists of three parts: a solo performance, an ensemble in which the arrangements are central and finally, accompanying a professional singer and dancer of top international level, who are specially invited for this occasion.
The Master programme can be followed by anyone who has a Bachelor’s degree. This can be filled in very openly and individually, so that the musician can work on their own personal profile. Artistic Research is key. The admission process consists of an audition, plus the submission of a proposal in which the candidates describe what they’d like to research and develop during their study. For example, researching the possibilities of transferring the flamenco vocabulary to an instrument that is not (yet) part of flamenco’s tradition. Someone with a background in a different music style, such as classical music or jazz, might suggest incorporating flamenco elements into their music. Further depth in singing and dance accompaniment is also possible. Based on the individual proposal, it is considered which curriculum is best for this unique Artistic Research. In many cases these will be individual lessons, but all group modules of the Bachelor’s degree program are also available for Master’s students at no extra cost.
Finally, further international connections are made by regularly inviting renowned flamenco artists from Spain. In addition, we work in close collaboration with the Flamenco Biennale Netherlands. Some of the artists booked there visit the Flamenco Guitar department at Codarts to share their vision and inspiration through masterclass’s and workshops.
Over the last years, the following artists have visited the Flamenco department:
Singers: Arcángel, Dieguito, El Chaparro, Segundo Falcón, Angel Gabarre, Ye-Ye de Cádiz, David Lagos, Antonio Campos, Silverio Heredia, David Pino, Alicia Carrasco, Inmaculada Rivero, Bernardo Miranda, Gema Giménez
Guitarists: Moraito Chico, Pepe Habichuela, Juan Manuel Cañizares, Chicuelo, Manolo Franco, Paco Serrano, Miguel Angel Cortés, Diego de Morao, Dani de Morón, Alfredo Lagos, José Manuel León
Dancers: Raúl, Loli Flores, Belén Fernández, Angel Muñoz, Charo Espino, Ramón Martínez, Daniel Navarro, Luis de Luis, Oruco
Pianists: Diego Amador, Dorantes, Pedro Ricardo Miño, Pablo Suárez
Percussion: Paquito González
Basist: Mariano Martos, Pablo Martin