Lies Colman new principal of the Royal Conservatoire The Hague

24 November 2022

Lies Colman succeeds Henk van der Meulen as principal of the Royal Conservatoire The Hague. The board of the University of the Arts The Hague has announced that it is particularly pleased with her taking up her post on 1 February 2023.

In recent months the conservatoire conducted a search for a successor to current principle Henk van der Meulen, who will retire at the beginning of 2023. A broad delegation within the conservatoire contributed to a meticulous selection procedure, after which Huug de Deugd, as chairman of the Executive Board, was able to offer Lies Colman his congratulations this week.

Lies Colman has an extraordinary track record. With degrees in Law and Cultural Studies, she continued her Masters at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp as a pianist and violinist. After an international career as soloist and chamber musician, she joined her alma mater as visiting professor (piano), where she has been part of the artistic management team for the Classical Music and Educational Master of Music programmes since 2016. In 2021, she completed her MBA at the London Graduate School and started a Doctorate in the Arts. Her artistic and research focus is on interdisciplinary collaborations, contemporary creations, and innovative artistic practices embedded in a social context.

Lies herself describes her motivation for choosing the Royal Conservatoire The Hague as follows: "The versatility and potential of Higher Art Education has continued to inspire and motivate me since the beginning of my career: creating and practicing art in all its power and diversity; sharing and developing passion, knowledge and experience - all in an inspiring and respectful environment. I find these qualities, this enthusiasm and ambition in all sections of the Royal Conservatoire The Hague. I therefore look forward to being part of this excellent institute and will continue the work of Henk van der Meulen with great enthusiasm.

I warmly thank the extraordinary team at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, which felt like a true home for me for many years. I am not saying goodbye but look forward to our renewed future collaboration."

Stefaan De Ruyck - Head of the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp - is sad to see her go but wishes her all the best in her new position: "With the departure of Lies Colman to The Hague, the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp is losing a powerhouse in many areas. We will miss her talent, her expertise, and her enthusiasm. But with Lies we also welcome a new principal to the Royal Conservatoire The Hague with whom we have a warm and personal relationship. No doubt her arrival will give an additional boost to the already strong cooperation and rapport that exists between the two conservatoires."

The Royal Conservatoire The Hague will also appropriately mark the farewell and retirement of Henk van der Meulen. A festive gathering will be planned that does justice to the enormous contribution he has made inside and outside the University, in the national and international Dance and Music scene, as an inspiring leader, musician, composer and as a passionate and committed human being.

Photo: Trui Hanoulle

Lies Colman was born in Antwerp as the youngest in a family of five. She started music lessons in mandolin at five, followed by piano at eight, violin at ten and percussion at fourteen. From the age of nine, she gave piano recitals and concerts at home and abroad and became a laureate in several competitions.

After graduating summa cum laude from the National Music Academy of Antwerp, she began her higher studies at the age of 14 as a free student at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp with Jacques Detiège and Eduardo Torbianelli. At 17, she temporarily exchanged the conservatory for the universities of Antwerp and Ghent, where she successively became a Candidate in Law and Master in Comparative Cultural Studies. She returned to the Antwerp Conservatory in 2001, studying piano with Eliane Rodrigues and Robert Groslot, pianoforte with Bart van Oort and violin with Dejan Mijajev, and also obtained her master's degree here, this time in Music.

Lies Colman put herself on the international map as a pianist and chamber musician, performing in Germany, France, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, the Netherlands, Morocco, Switzerland, Austria, South Africa, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines, among others. She collaborated on several (inter)national radio and TV broadcasts, took to opera and musical theatre, collaborated on several CD recordings, and contributed to several art publications.

In 2013, Lies became Visiting Professor of Piano at her alma mater, the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. In 2015 and 2016, she became a member of the Artistic Management Team leading the Educational Master of Music and Classical Music programmes, and has since then devoted her heart and soul to higher arts education in Flanders and Europe.

In 2020, she obtained a degree in Strategic Management and Leadership from the London School of International Business, and graduated in 2021 as Master in Business Administration from the University of Chichester. She then undertook a Doctorate in the Arts at the University of Antwerp and Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. Her artistic and research focus is on creative and interdisciplinary collaborations, contemporary creations and innovative artistic practices, but she keeps a special place in her heart and on stage for the classical and romantic repertoire.

Since 2022, Lies Colman has served on the Board of Directors for the European Quality Enhancement body MusiQuE. She is also active within AEC, l'Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen, as co-chair for the Capacitybuilding working group within the Artemis project. Currently, Lies lives in Ghent, Flanders, with her husband, Dr Jochem van den Boogert, lecturer at Leiden University, and their two children, Oscar and Sebastiaan.