Meesters&Gezellen (Masters & Apprentices) is a unique approach to workplace learning that’s been held annually since 2011.
During three weeks of intense studying and performing, a group of young chorists (Gezellen or Apprentices) will be introduced to the skills and requirements needed for singing in a professional a capella chamber choir. Every edition of Meesters&Gezellen is led by an internationally renowned conductor. Four experienced singers from the conductor’s own ensemble join each year as the Meesters (or Masters). The stated goal is to prepare for an ambitious series of concerts and to perform these throughout the Netherlands. Meesters&Gezellen uses a tried and tested approach, similar to what we see with young medical professionals and laywers.
With the conductor being responsible for the programming, it often reflects their background and culture. This way Meesters&Gezellen makes for a unique exchange of language, culture, singing traditions and work ethic. Previous editions have been led by conductors such as Kaspars Putniņs, Sigvards Kļava, Daniel Reuss, Nils Schweckendieck and Mathieu Romano.
The endgoal of Meesters&Gezellen is to have young singers become acquainted with a multitude of skills in an authentic context. There are four groups (soprano, alto, tenor & bass) in the ensemble, each of which consists of five students (Gezellen) and one professional singer (Meester). The best way to teach is not through repeated explaining, but through jointly working on the chosen compositions. The Meesters bring stability and comfort to the group through their presence and experience, creating the perfect environment to organically learn from one another.
Meesters&Gezellen wants to contribute to the development and prospects of young singers by offering them the opportunity to study and sing at the highest possible level. The project can thus be seen as a bridge between the conservatory, which dominantly revolves around solo singing, and the harsh reality of the outside world, where it’s expected to be as widely deployable as possible. Apart from that, Meesters&Gezellen also aims to introduce audiences to the repertoire of some of Europe’s most celebrated chamber choirs.
Young choral conductors who are also experienced in singing, have the opportunity to conduct the ensemble during rehearsals. The chief conductor will assist them in this. They’ll also function as full-fledged members of the ensemble during the entire project. Finally, it is possible for them to lead the ensemble during specific parts of the actual concerts.
Meesters&Gezellen is made possible by the financial contributions of both public and private funds, sponsors and the donations of individuals. Thanks to the proceeds of the concerts, the students don’t have to pay a fee to participate.
Using the menu bar at the top of this page, you’ll find a plethora of videos, retrospectives, biographies and more. Whether you’re an aspiring Meester or Gezel, interested in attending or looking for a way to contribute, we hope you can find the information you need and the inspiration we all deserve.