‘The freedom in this study programme, isn’t it fantastic?'

Ambience photo Fontys

Tilburg, 27 March 2018 This article in Dutch, dit artikel in het Nederlands.

Marcel Andriessen new head of studies Master of Music

"My parents managed the village hall in Duivendrecht. The rehearsals of the local fanfare band were held there. As a child I would sit and listen and when I was old enough, I was allowed to join. I also saw the rehearsals of the theatre society there. The magic, the story that is told, the music that sounds, perhaps that was the seed for my career.”

Marcel in action as a percussionist (I)

Marcel Andriessen is a personality in the world of percussion. He has travelled the globe with diverse ensembles and theatre groups to treat audiences with new music and theatre/dance performances.

Ambience photo Fontys

That time is mostly behind him: since 1 March the 52 year old from Amsterdam works four days a week as head of the Master of Music department at FHK, comprised of some 125 students.


A pity to be missing those performances? No. “As percussionist I’ve been able to do some really great things. What I really enjoy now is to be able to teach those things to others.” He is also realistic. Marcel has always worked in experimental circles. “Young people work there with new ideas. At a certain point you’re the oldest wherever you perform and it becomes time to go. I was already working at FHK and discovered that I really enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experience. The transition from performer to what I am doing now feels very natural to me.”

In 2007 he began teaching in Tilburg as a teacher in classical percussion at what is now known as the Academy of Music and Performing Arts (AMPA) and in the two year Master of Music. His leadership position here has been a slowly growing ambition. “I’ve played with Slagwerk Den Haag for fifteen years and in the end I was a player as well as production leader. Then you organise tours and concert series’. What happened with the Master programme is something similar. You start as a teacher, then you organise projects for your students, you get asked to work as a career mentor; slowly but surely you get to know the structure and organisation of a study programme and a drive develops to put more and more of your own effort into it.”

Marcel in action as a percussionist (II)


A great study programme, says Marcel. He gives credit to the team and to his predecessors Marlon Titre and Nico Vis. Master’s students receive a budget with which they can put together their own programme according to their personal insights. “They receive lessons from our teachers, but can also go in search of a specialist in a particular subject, outside of our institution, and buy lessons there. Isn’t that freedom just fantastic.” sketches the head of studies. The success of the programme is also noticeable within the walls of FHK. “There is a group of students from all over the world, who are always at school, who are always studying and perform often. That creates a great atmosphere and dynamic in the building, music sounds everywhere and people are busy working. Enormously inspiring.

Marcel also sees the work field changing. A new generation of classical musicians is growing that want to develop themselves more broadly and sometimes have other ambitions than a place in an orchestra or a career as soloist. This kind of musician may, for example, start their own ensemble and/or compose their own music. An interesting development he finds. “It is important that the student has an inquisitive and entrepreneurial attitude. There are also subjects included in the curriculum for this. My goal is to keep a close eye on these, to look at what is happening in the work field and what we can give students to support them in their future career. But don’t forget”, he says finally, “it is a music programme. The basis is of course to learn to make music at a high level.”

Since 1991 Marcel Andriessen has focused on modern music and (musical) theatre. As a freelance percussionist he has been part of a broad range of ensembles and theatre groups and has played in countries from Japan to the USA. As musician he is particularly interested in the experiment and discipline of transcending art forms. From 1998 to 2012 he was a permanent member of Slagwerk Den Haag.


More news?