Welcome to the KonCon Family: Susanne Abbuehl

Welcome to the KonCon Family: Susanne Abbuehl

From September, the Jazz Department will welcome a new Head of Department, Susanne Abbuehl.

Up until now, Susanne was the Head of the Institute of Jazz and Folk Music as well as Professor for jazz voice, ensembles and didactics in Lucerne and will bring more than 20 years of extensive experience in teaching and research to the Royal Conservatoire. She will continue to teach next to her responsibilities as a department head.

To be exact, we are actually welcoming Susanne back, since she is also an alumna of the Jazz Department. She fondly thinks back of her time as a student in The Hague and is regularly in contact with her former fellow students who have formed an important professional network over the years.

Jazz students are typically open-minded and eager to experiment and collaborate with other genres and departments. This is something Susanne remembers from her own time as a student. ‘We were included in projects by composition students, for example. And one of the most influential classes I had as a student was Analysis of 20th Century Music. The teacher, composer Diderik Wagenaar, knew so much about each one of the composers and compositions treated in that class. Learning about the music from someone as knowledgeable as Diderik made us appreciate and love Stockhausen, Berio, Stravinsky – all the composers whose work we analyzed and listened. It also made me realize how important learning and knowing is, in order for us to appreciate musical languages, and how much good teaching can convey.’

As the new Head of the Jazz Department, she hopes to reach out to other Heads of Department and start a dialogue to explore the possibilities of future collaborations.

And how does Susanne look at her new department? ‘The Jazz Department in The Hague has a long tradition of high-quality teaching by great players. The Conservatoire is known to demand a high level of commitment by the students to really learn their craft well. I think the high level of dedication and commitment from everyone involved – students, teachers, and management, is a must.’

Susanne is looking forward to lead the department into a promising future. ‘In The Hague, we have two transversal constants: tradition and innovation. Throughout the years the school has seen many prolific alumni, which is an important marker for any school. The jazz department stands very strong.’

Still in Switzerland, Susanne heard about Ack van Rooyen, one of the teachers all the students revered back when she studied herself in The Hague, winning the coveted Buma Boy Edgar Prize 2020. An alumnus himself, Ack left The Hague after his studies to conquer the world with his talent, and later returned to be one of the most influential teachers of the department. ‘Ack is a great role model for our students. His dedication and exceptional musicality as a musician, his ongoing quest to always keep learning and developing as an artist and his modesty through it all are all exceptional.’