The Early Music Department of the Royal Conservatoire enjoys a unique reputation as one of the largest and most prestigious faculties of its kind. For forty years it has provided students from all over the world with a unique environment in which to immerse themselves in all aspects of Historical Performance Practice, from the vocal and instrumental styles of the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the Romantic era. The long list of the Royal Conservatoire’s eminent alumni serves as a clear testimony to the quality of the learning experience we provide, and a degree from the Royal Conservatoire is thus universally esteemed in professional circles.

The course in Baroque violin and viola, taught by musicians with worldwide reputations both as authorities in their field and as experienced and devoted pedagogues, is primarily a practical, performance-based course that aims to guide students towards the career of their choice, be it as soloists (often through their participation in international competitions) as members of leading period instrument orchestras, ensembles and chamber groups, or as teachers and researchers.

The course is backed up by an excellent theoretical grounding covering the fundamentals of basso continuo, the practice and theory of ornamentation and diminutions, notation, rhetoric, dance, analysis of style and other topics relevant to the overall development of the informed performer.

Students accepted into the course have varying degrees of experience on the Baroque violin or viola: many are complete beginners (such candidates may choose to audition on a modern instrument) while others enter after a period of study elsewhere. Successful candidates will study a wide range of repertoire, techniques and styles, from the madrigals, chansons and ricercate of the late sixteenth century to the late Baroque masterpieces and on to the Classical and Romantic repertoire.

Given the size of the Department, there is no shortage of harpsichordists, fortepianists, or students studying wind instruments and early singing, with whom to form duos and chamber groups. There is ample opportunity for such ensembles to perform together both on their own initiative and through the many channels provided by the Royal Conservatoire, as well as in other venues in the city of The Hague.
Regular string quartet coaching is an established feature of the course, as is the series of orchestral projects led by teachers from within the Conservatoire and by visiting artists. Over the past few years, the annual side-by-side week of intensive rehearsals and concerts with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century has become something of a high point in the Conservatoire calendar, with music ranging from Rameau to Mendelssohn.

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