History of the Flamenco Department

As a flamenco guitar student, I was extremely fortunate to have had access to experts in many musical fields, alongside world class instruction in my chosen subject. Below you will find some historical information about the Flamenco Department in the Conservatory of Rotterdam. I cannot thank my teachers enough for what they taught me during my student years. It is entirely appropriate that their time and effort receive due credit.

Hans van Goch (1932 – 2016)

Hans van Goch

Photo by Arno van Goch

Prior to training as a guitar teacher, Hans frequently collaborated on music projects with flamenco artists including the young Manolo Marín, his sister Dorita and guitarist Fernando Carranza. He also attended concerts by touring artists such as the then quite old dancer Vicente Escudero, the still young Mario Escudero, Rosario and Antonio.

From 1966 to 1970 Hans studied Classical guitar at Rotterdams Conservatorium, where he took lessons with Koos Tigges, who had developed a series of mathematical technical exercises covering all playing movements (Tigges' sequences). Shortly after graduation, Hans had to replace Koos due to unforseen circumstances. The following year Hans was permanently appointed as teacher of classical guitar and methodology at the Conservatory of Rotterdam (until 1997).

In 1985, Hans became co-founder of the flamenco guitar training at the Conservatorium of Rotterdam. He taught flamenco guitar students in Rotterdam until 2006. His classes included general guitar technique, reading music notation, the history of the guitar and flamenco guitar methodology. During this period he wrote more than 1200 pages of musical examples for all the flamenco forms to be studied.

Paco Peña

Paco Pena

Photo by Rafael Montilla Moya

Paco Peña is one of the most highly respected and knowledgeable flamenco guitarists in the World. Born in Córdoba (1942), Paco began playing the guitar when he was six years old and made his first professional appearance at the age of twelve. He founded the now‑celebrated annual Córdoba Guitar Festival and received an honorary title in 1997 from King Juan Carlos of Spain – in recognition of his contribution to Spanish culture.

After meeting Hans van Goch at a guitar congress (Mettmann Germany 1984), Paco paid a visit to the Conservatory of Rotterdam where he was introduced to the director John Floore. It was soon agreed; together with Paco Peña, John Floore, Hans van Goch, Ricardo Mendeville and Erica de Wijs that they would set up the World's first professional flamenco guitar training (the first world music course in Rotterdam). The flamenco guitar methodology taught at the conservatory was based, for the most part, on Paco's specific instruction. Paco would visit the conservatory once per month to give group lessons to students on the foundation course (vooropleiding) and private lessons to the more advanced students.

Ricardo Mendeville

Orignally from Chile, Ricardo attended many of Paco Peña's early guitar courses and also studied methodology as one of Hans' students. In the flamenco department, Ricardo was responsible for teaching flamenco guitar, flamenco accompaniment and the history of flamenco. Later he took over from Erica de Wijs as coordinator: organizing projects with singers and dancers from Spain.

Paco Serrano

During the late '80s and early '90s, Paco Serrano won several national prizes, including the prestigious competition 'Concurso Nacional de Arte Flamenco de Córdoba' – taking first place in two categories: Premio Manolo de Huelva (guitar accompaniment) and Premio Ramón Montoya (solo guitar). Paco came to the Conservatorium in Rotterdam both as a teacher and as a music student. Paco Serrano is currently the Professor at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Córdoba.

Other Guest Teachers

Over the years Rotterdams Conservatorium has hosted various guest teachers and flamenco artists including: Vicente Amigo, Fosforito, Pepe Habichuela, Carmen Linarez, Luis de Luis, and in more recent times Dani de Morón, Arcangel and Irene Álvarez to name a few. [We also attended special courses in Córdoba 1993 and 1994 with Manolo Franco, Loli Flores, Paco Serrano, Luisa Serrano, El Chaparo and flamencologist Augustin Gomez – N. Wilkinson].

Further Acknowledgements

In addition to the teachers and artists mentioned above, I would also like to express my gratitude to the following people for their support and encouragement: Noël Bertels, Gaspar de Hollanda, Erik van Goch, Tino van der Sman, Gerard Postma, John Filmore, Jacco Muller, Adrian Elissen, Ramon Maronier, Ruud Stoop, Robert Randwijk, Marianne Penning de Vries, Ben Zwanink, Rini Kersten, Rian van Holland and Linda Chase Broda. This list is not complete.

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