Studying in such a nurturing environment pushes you to become your best possible self

When 18-year-old Maria was standing on the platform of the train station in Lisbon, saying goodbye to her family, it suddenly hit her: She was moving to the other end of Europe, she was leaving everyone she knew behind and she was starting a new and exciting chapter in her live.

Everything started with a masterclass in Covilhã with Main Subject Teacher Classical Music Cello Michel Strauss. The gifted young cellist was accepted into several big schools in Europe, but she really liked the teaching approach of Michel and decided to study at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, a decision she never regretted.

‘I really like my teacher Michel, but in The Hague, you get more than just an excellent teacher. There are so many opportunities offered by the Classical Music Department and the school from which you can choose and there is so, so much to learn!

Maria didn’t hesitate to make the most of her studies. She participated in projects inside and outside the department and played in different ensemble- and orchestra projects at the school.

Playing in a small orchestra for the Dutch National Opera Academy was one of her highlights. ‘I just love operas. The singers of the DNOA came super prepared and were extremely professional. Working in such a nurturing environment really pushes you to become your best possible self. What I really liked was the atmosphere in the small Opera Orchestra. We worked together with the conducting students of the NMO (National Master Orchestral Conducting). The assistant conductors gave us a lot of space for communication and we learned from each other. There was a real dialogue.’

Now that Maria is in her masters, she was able to join the Ensemble Academy, a Master specialization that offers our students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in professional ensembles such as AskoISchönberg and The New European Ensemble. It is also a great networking opportunity as many students stay in touch with the ensembles and play with them even after graduation. Alumnus James Oesi for instance is now a member of AskoISchönberg.

Maria studying the cello at home
Maria studying the cello at home

One thing that Maria associates with The Hague is contemporary music. ‘It really is a legacy, if you think about all the great composers shaping contemporary music in our composition department. It was such a privilege to be working with Reinbert de Leeuw but also working with the next generation of composers is incredibly rewarding. I learned to understand it better and even appreciate contemporary music now’, she says with a big smile. ‘Working on pieces together with the composer and searching for that one sound they are trying to achieve together feels incredibly special!’

Maria performing live with AskoISchönberg
Maria performing live with AskoISchönberg

Portuguese Cello student Maria Nabeiro is a master student of the Classical Department. Click here, if you would like to learn more about the Royal Conservatoire, the Classical Music Department or the Main Subject Cello.