The Royal Conservatoire has a large pianoforte class with students from all around the world. All students have lessons from both Petra Somlai and Bart van Oort. Students following the course have five excellent fortepianos from various periods and a clavichord at their disposal. We have observed a growing interest in the Classical and early 19th century repertoire among students, which means there are diverse possibilities to perform in chamber music ensembles.

The Fortepiano course one of the courses that has been offered since the Early Music Department was established. It is an important instrument for the early repertoire and baroque music. Particularly the ‘vocal playing’, which is important for the 16th and 17th century ensemble repertoire, provides a foundation for the basic technique of a trombonist.

The Bachelor in Pianoforte in the Early Music Department at the Royal Conservatoire is a highly practice-oriented course. In addition to the elements of the curriculum supervised by teachers, you will learn to develop projects of your own and discover ways of performing them convincingly for an audience. During the academic year you will perform at a number of lunchtime and evening concerts organised by the Conservatoire

Although the course is highly practical in nature, the study of early music demands a good theoretical grounding and background knowledge of the history of music and instruments. You will therefore also study the fundamentals of basso continuo, the historic development of this instrument, as well as the practice and theory of ornamentation, diminutions, notation and analysis of style. Research is another essential feature of the programme and you will be introduced gradually to the subject with lessons in bibliography, source studies and research techniques.

You can give your Bachelor programme a more personalised profile with your choice from a range of electives, including baroque dance, style-related improvisation, advanced lessons in basso continuo and rhetoric. Master classes and lectures will be given regularly by specialists (musicians and musicologists) from the Netherlands and abroad.

The Early Music Department of the Royal Conservatoire enjoys a worldwide reputation as one of the largest and most important faculties of its kind. For more than fifty years the Department has formed a unique breeding ground and melting pot for talent in historical performance practice. Vocal and instrumental styles of music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance up to the Romantic period are taught by musicians with an international reputation as authorities in their field. Because of the high standards demanded by the international teaching staff, a degree from the Royal Conservatoire is an automatic recommendation in professional circles.

Here, you can find an overview of teachers for Early Music.





60 min/ week


4 years


Bachelor of Music

Tuition fee

Check 'Tuition fees'

Department head

Teunis van der Zwart

Introduction Royal Conservatoire