Behind the Scenes of Hidemi Suzuki's Masterclass

4 maart 2020

We are very excited to kick-off the 2020 edition of Side by Side. For an entire week, we will host the Orchestra of the 18th Century and this year’s conductor Hidemi Suzuki. Suzuki who is not only an acclaimed conductor but also an outstanding cellist, came to the Netherlands in 1984 to study with Royal Conservatoire cello teacher Anner Bijlsma.

He started the week by giving a Masterclass to our Early Music cellists. In the Beethoven Year, many students chose for a Cello Sonata by the German composer. Suzuki starts with: ‘Playing Beethoven is never easy. Pianists complain, violinists complain, so cellists are allowed to complain as well. Looking at a Beethoven Sonata is like building a house. You first examine the construction. It doesn’t have to be too symmetrical in order to stand stable. But make sure the bricks are the same size’.

Suzuki speaks often in metaphors and visualizes a lot of his ideas during his classes. That makes it very easy to implement his ideas. He also shares some anecdotes of his famous teacher. From Bijlsma he learned a lot about Bach and bow techniques. Bijlsma taught him to hold the bow in a 91-degree angle instead of 89 in order to save bow space in longer passages. This was a life-changing moment for Suzuki. ‘Wherever I teach in the world, I always come back to this! I should print it on a T-shirt’.

One of the students in the Masterclass is Anna from Florida. After completing her studies at Juilliard in New York, she came to The Hague. ‘What makes the Royal Conservatoire so unique?’, we ask Anna: ‘Here, I can combine Early Music and improvisation. I really want to become better at improvisation but also grow as an Early Music cellist. My teacher Lucia Swarts teaches both the Classical and the Early Music cello, which is a rare combination that I really wanted.’ Anna appreciates the open culture at the Royal Conservatoire. ‘Teachers are approachable and help you grow as an artist’.

For more information on the Side by Side concert and to buy tickets, click here.