Expression of Art Award

By The Set hotels for the Art of Musical Expression

The Conservatorium hotel has established a strong collaboration with the Conservatorium van Amsterdam; Amsterdam's University of the Arts, since the day of its opening in 2011. The award emphasises the heritage and history of the building, which has been the house of the former Sweelinck Conservatory of Music from 1983 to 2008. As well as giving the students of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam a podium to perform every weekend in the Lounge of the hotel, the 2016 award gave three bands the opportunity to perform on selected dates in the Symphony Room of the hotel. Would you like to be part of the audience for an upcoming concert? Click the button below to RSVP.



For the 2017 award, the jury consists of:

  • Edoardo Righini; Associate Director at Conservatorium van Amsterdam and head of Online Learning and Continuing Education. He is also the author of the highly-praised book: Guitar Lessons. 
  • Ruben Hein; singer and pianist, graduated from the Conservatorium of Amsterdam. Ruben has collaborated with many well known artists and is currently working on his fifth album. 
  • Maarten van der Grinten; guitarist and most well known for his duet with Jesse van Ruller and the Van der Grinten Herman Quartet. He studied at the Hilversum Conservatory and the Manhattan School of Music. He is currently a professor and coordinator of the guitar department at the Conservatorium of Amsterdam.

Concert schedule

  • 29 January 2017: Gijs Idema Trio
  • 26 February 2017: Little Olifant
  • 26 March 2017: Hähnlein/Müller/Lotz 
  • 30 April 2017: SunMi Hong Trio
  • 28 May 2017: Grand Finale


Gijs Idema Trio- The Gijs Idema Trio, consisting out of Gijs Idema (guitar), Cas Jiskoot (contrabass) and Tim Hennekes (drums), is grounded in the jazz tradition but is also known for exploring the modern field. The trio is often praised for their unique sound which can be classified as dynamic and lyrical with a lot of room for interpretation.

Little Olifant- At the heart of 'Little Olifant' lies a restless desire to create, curate and collaborate. The project is led by bassist Abhishek Mangla with an intention of using some of the socio-cultural aspects of Indian society as an inspiration for his music.

Hähnlein/Müller/Lotz- The trio of Thomas Hähnlein (saxophone), Christian Müller (bass) and Clemens Lotz (drums) was founded shortly after the three German musicians met at the Amsterdam University of the Arts in September 2016. Already at their first relaxed get-to-know-jam, the three master students discovered that their playing styles matched easily. This was also confirmed by their conservatory who selected the trio to play as one of four bands at a special bands night. Motivated by the great joy they had playing together, they now meet regularly and dedicate their time not only to the traditions of jazz, but also developing a modern sound which is influenced by each musicians personal tastes and background.

Sun-Mi Hong Group- During her time in Amsterdam, Sun-Mi didn't assimilate only musical craft, but also experienced a different culture with people from all over the world. There is a lot of sensitivity in her playing and a well-tempered swing feel which shows her personal identity within the music. Her trio presents new compositions that have a strong connection to her life. Sun-Mi’s music is free-spoken, honest and intense in a very organic way.



The first concert on the 21st of February was by Mateusz Pulawski, guitarist and composer of the jazz band the Lunar Quartet. The second concert on the 10th of April was by the Gideon Tazelaar trio, who are inspired by music of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. The final concert and day of the award ceremony was held on the 12th of June with the final performer being Tom Ridderbeekx, trumpeter who made his debut at the North Sea Jazz festival in 2011. The award consisted of a €5000,- scholarship to be used by the winner to further their musical career. 

Expression of Art Award Judges

The professional jury which was appointed to make the final judgment included: 

  • Jasper Blom, a leading tenor and soprano saxophonist of the young Dutch jazzgeneration and one of the most versatile players in the Benelux. Jasper has performed with the likes of Lee Konitz, Chet Baker, Nat Adderley, Bob Brookmeyer, George Duke, Randy Crawford, David Liebman, Conrad Herwig and many other international reknowned artists.
  • Edoardo Righini, teacher at Conservatorium van Amsterdam and head of Online Learning and Continuing Education. He is also the author of the highly-praised book: Guitar Lessons. 
  • Juan Martinez, General Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra at the Royal Concerthall.

2016 Winner

On the 12th of June, our judges were proud to hand the Expression of Art Award and the winning prize of a €5000,- scholarship to the Gideon Tazelaar trio. The trio are known for taking a simple repertoire as a starting point to investigate the playfully melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements. The trio consists of:

Gideon Tazelaar (1997) - Started with saxophone lessons at the age of seven and at the age of eight he performed at the Royal Concert building in Amsterdam. When Gideon turned 11, he contributed to the North Sea Jazz Festival with his quartet and has played along side some big names such as Simon Rigter, Peter Beets, Martijn van Iterson and Joost Patocka. Gideon will graduate at the end of 2016 from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.

Ties Laarakker (1989) - Has been playing the double bass since the age of 14 and got accepted to the Conservatorium van Amsterdam when he was only 16 years old. In his spare time he studies Mathematics at the University of Amsterdam.

Wouter Kühne (1996) - Had his first drum lessons at the age of seven and when he was 16 he entered the North Sea Jazz Festival. He is currently in his second year of his Bachelor degree at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. 

  • The SET
  • Hotel Cafe Royal - London
  • Lutetia - Paris
  • Conservatorium - Amsterdam
  • Lutetia - Paris
Check In Check Out
1 Room, 2 Adults
Book Now Best Rate Guaranteed
Adults Children
Book a Stay
View map