Conservatorium van Amsterdam Pop Department Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary at Melkweg.

Featuring the likes of Sue The Night, ZEP, Nusantara Beat, Josephine Odhil, ‘Voldemort’, and mystery guests!

In 2003, the Conservatorium of Amsterdam launched its pop music department. Now, twenty years on, it can be proudly said that the pop section has repeatedly proven its worth as a springboard for unique, creative, and innovative pop talent. On Thursday 5th October, this wonderful anniversary will be celebrated with a grand party at Melkweg, Amsterdam. Performers include alumni such as Sue the Night, Nusantara Beat, Josephine Odhil, ZEP, Parker Fans, ‘Voldemort’ and several mystery guests. Tickets for this festive pop evening are now on sale at Melkweg. General admission €15, and students pay €10.

20 Years of Pop is 20 Years of Jack Pisters
Musicians from the Pop Department of the Conservatorium of Amsterdam have released award-winning albums and have been making their mark nationally and internationally. Numerous alumni have become successful artists including DeWolff, WIES, Jungle by Night, EUT, Lucas Hamming, Kensington, Jett Rebel, Pitou, Meis, Alamo Race Track, Nusantara Beat, and MY BABY. Several acts have been invited to festivals such as Eurosonic Noorderslag, Pinkpop, Best Kept Secret, Lowlands, Down the Rabbithole, Reeperbahn Festival (GER), Glastonbury (UK), and SXSW (USA). Additionally, students have performed with and in bands such as Spinvis, Maan, Kensington, Blaudzun, Goldband, Bløf, and Van Dik Hout. Pop students have also frequently received awards like the Sena Pop NL Award, Grote Prijs van Nederland, 3FM Awards, Gouden Kalf, the Amsterdam Pop Prize, and Edisons in various categories.

Much of this success can be attributed to the tireless efforts of the initiator and coordinator of the pop department, teacher Jack Pisters. Pisters has played guitar since his youth and has had a career that has seen him collaborate with Avalon, Mina Caputo, and Anouk. He is also a composer of many soundtracks. Pisters is the chairman of the Sena European Guitar Awards, artistic director of Amsterdam Guitar Heaven, and advises national and international bands and artists on sound and production. “The past 20 years with the pop section have been a wonderful journey with an amazing team within this top institution. We created the course I would have wanted to attend myself! With room for all styles, all types of musicians, and a focus on creating new music! Let’s ambitiously build together,” says Jack Pisters.

Mystery Guests
The pop department has produced many successful talents. A few of those alumni and students will perform at the 20 Years of Pop celebrations in October, including Sue the Night (Indie), ZEP (drums, and lots of bass), Nusantara Beat (grooving beats, Indonesian roots), Parker Fans (Indie pop) ‘Voldemort’ (He Who Must Not Be Named), and Josephine Odhil (psychedelic dream pop). As a surprise, a few Mystery Guests have been added to the programme. We’ll announce more names and the schedule in due course.

Amsterdam Electronic Music Academy (AEMA)
Over the past decade, the pop department has added a two-year Master’s, a Young Talent section (YPA), and in 2018, a course for electronic music; the Amsterdam Electronic Music Academy (AEMA). In this two-year Associate Degree, students are trained as electronic artists and producers. Alumni and teachers from the AEMA are featured in clubs and at festivals like Club Basis, de School, Tomorrowland, Thuishaven, Mysteryland, and many other venues and festivals.

Conservatorium of Amsterdam
The Amsterdamsch Conservatorium was founded in 1884 and the Conservatorium of the Association Muzieklyceum in 1920. In 1976, the Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam was formed from a merger of both and the Haarlems Muzieklyceum. Sweelinck then merged in 1994 with the Hilversums Conservatorium to become the Conservatorium of Amsterdam. The Conservatorium of Amsterdam has about 1100 students and will celebrate its 140th anniversary in 2024.