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 award will give four bands the opportunity to perform within the hotel and compete for the scholarship of €5000,- offered by The Set hotels. Additionally Sennheiser, the premium headphone brand, offers the Audience Prize of €750.

By purchasing a ticket for this concert, you will be supporting the Papageno Foundation that focuses on the development of children and young people with autism by offering music therapy and a place to work. €10 of every ticket will be donated to the Papageno Foundation.

Ian Cleaver Quartet

Sunday 27 January 2019, 11:30AM - 1PM 
Ian Cleaver - Trumpet
Tommaso Perrazzo - Piano
Steven Willem Zwanink - Bass
Giacomo Camilletti - Drums

Ian Cleaver (1996) is a promising young jazz trumpeter born and raised in Amsterdam. He started improvising at a young age. Performing professionally since the age of 16, he performed with various small/big bands at venues including the Concertgebouw, BIMHUIS and at the North Sea Jazz Festival. In 2016 Cleaver won the prestigious Princess Christina Concours, which included a study trip to New York and a guest soloist appearance with the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw. Ever since, he has shared the stage with the likes of Dick Oatts, Ben van Gelder, Anton Goudsmit, Jasper Blom, Benjamin Herman and more. With his newly formed quartet (that debuted in the Bimhuis last November) Cleaver will perform a mix of original compositions and unknown gems by a.o. Duke Ellington and Misha Mengelberg.

‘In the hands of Cleaver the trumpet sounds what it was originally intended for: to shake up everybody. A great promise for the future!’ (Jazzenzo).


Stan van de Wetering Quartet

Sunday 24 February 2019, 11:30AM - 1PM 
Stan van de Wetering - Tenor Saxophone
Wouter Kühne - Drums
Cas Jiskoot - Bass
Floris Kappeyne - Piano

Stan van de Wetering is a well-known face in the Amsterdam jazz-scene, a saxophonist with a strong personal voice deeply rooted in the jazz tradition. 

His band has a classic jazz line-up consisting of Floris Kappeyne on piano, Cas Jiskoot on double bass and Wouter Kühne on drums, 3 distinguished musicians of the young jazz generation.

With thrilling solos, arrangements of fine jazz originals and Stan’s personal compositions they’re aiming for an exciting adventure with every performance.

Forest Light

Sunday 31 March 2019, 11:30AM - 1PM
Marta Arpini - Voice
Adrian Moncada - Piano
Massimo Imperatore - Guitar
Mauro Cottone - Double bass
Giacomo Camilletti - Drums

Forest Light is led by singer and songwriter Marta Arpini. The quintet works on Marta’s original material, giving life to a special microcosm of deep enchantment. With a personal and unique research on sound and storytelling, Forest Light melts evocative atmosphere and powerful interplay. After one year of work, the group is willing to go one step further, and the opportunity to perform and record in such a special occasion would be the best way to help its growth and development. 


Ben Fitzpatrick Quartet

Sunday 28 April 2019, 11:30AM - 1PM
Ben Fitzpatrick – Alto saxophone
Tommaso Perazzo – Piano
Jort Terwijn – Double bass
Giacomo Camilletti - Drums

The Ben Fitzpatrick Quartet is a group featuring some of the rising stars of jazz from around the world. Their leader Ben Fitzpatrick comes from Dublin, Ireland and has developed a name from himself not only in Europe, but America as well.

Jort Terwijn, a local of the Netherlands, plays with soul and integrity. His playing is honest and every note he plays tells a story. Last but not least, Marcello Cardillo the drummer from Naples, Italy has a fiery way of playing and robust sound on his instrument. He plays with soul, intellect and pure feeling.

If you come by to hear this quartet play, expect a full well-rounded jazz experience. You will be able to experience a soulful, fun and groovy performance soaked in the tradition of the music, but also in search of something new. This group will be sure to have you tapping your feet and grooving all night long.

Grand Finale - 26 May 2019

Join us for the Grand Finale of the Expression of Art Award 2019, where the two bands that are selected will compete for the grand prize on Sunday 26 May 2019 from 12:30AM - 1:30PM. Both concerts will be followed with extensive feedback of the professional judges and we will bring out a toast to the winning band!


Judges 2019

Edo Righini 
Associate Director Dean of Jazz and Pop Music Studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Executive Board Member Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw

Jasper Blom
Jasper Blom is a leading tenor and soprano saxophonist of the Dutch jazz scene 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 internationally recognized artists. 

Jasper Blom currently is active as a player and composer of both contemporary improvised music and jazz, can be heard regularly throughout the Netherlands and Europe as an active player in different musical settings and teaches jazz saxophone at the Conservatory van Amsterdam.

Reinier Baas
Reinier Baas is a prominent figure in the contemporary European jazz scene. As a soloist, he has performed with the Metropole Orchestra, the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw and the New Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra. As a side-man, he has worked with Gregory Porter, Dave Douglas, Hans Teeuwen and Han Bennink. Reinier's second album, Mostly Improvised Instrumental Indie Music, received the prestigious Edison Award in 2013. In 2017 he won a second Edison Award for his fourth studio record Reinier Baas vs. Princess Discombobulatrix. Currently, Reinier Baas is a member of Benjamin Herman's new punk band Bughouse. A duo album with fellow faculty member Ben van Gelder and their collaboration with the multiple Grammy Award-winning Metropole Orchestra entitled Smash Hits is released in November 2018.




The professional jury of 2018 which was appointed to make the final judgment included: 

  • Ben van Gelder is an authority on the alto saxophone and a composer with a contemporary view. Peers and critics alike praise him for his unique sound and originality as a writer and improviser. His music is rooted in tradition but is distinguished by a unique blend of “lyricism, energy, grace and rhythm.”
  • Edoardo Righini, Associate Director Dean of Jazz Studies at . Conservatorium van Amsterdam He is also the author of the highly-praised book: Guitar Lessons. 
  • Jan Jasper Tamboer, writer, critic and interviewer on jazz for amongst other Het Parool and Jazzism. 


  • Mo van der Does Quartet / 28 January 2018
    This young group of jazz musicians was brought together by alto saxophonist Mo van der Does. They play original music that represents the modern jazz trend. Focus points are improvisation and interaction, leading to an adventurous and challenging collaboration. The musicians have known each other for a long time from the Amsterdam jazz scene, but their debut as a group was last August during the Grachtenfestival. Their performance was a big success and with both the audience and the performers being excited about the project, they decided to continue this musical journey.
  • Casares Brothers Trio / 25 February 2018
    Lluc and Joan Casares have been playing music together since they were kids. Despite the fact that their genetic bond is irreplaceable, they have found their third sibling in Kimon Karoutzos, a double bass player from Greece. Both of the Casares brothers moved to the US to proceed their studies and are looking forward to playing in the Netherlands again, where in 2017 they received the second prize at the Keep An Eye International Jazz Award. This band has been described as ‘joyful, energetic and really swinging.
  • Matthias van den Brande Group / 25 March 2018
    This new project of saxophonist and composer Matthias Van den Brande offers an exciting new view on what jazz could be in the 21st century. By adding a classical wind quintet to his existing jazz quartet, Matthias explores new pathways of colors and feelings that provide him the inspiration to write refreshing compositions that cross boundaries of both jazz and classical music, ending up in a new and original musical universe. This way, he strives to evoke a sense of both wonder and melancholy, providing the listener a story-telling journey through the unknown.
  • Tommaso Perazzo Trio / 29 April 2018
    Genoa, Athens, Naples: the musical meeting point between these cities begins in September 2015, when the three musicians start playing together during their studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.

    The different influences and musical background of each component of the trio led to an original musical direction, creating a sound that goes from the old jazz tradition to more modern tendencies. This reflects in the repertoire that offers interpreted jazz standards as well as original compositions, developing a powerful swinging piano trio sound with a strong blues influence. 


On the 27 May, our judges were proud to hand the third Expression of Art Award and the winning prize of a €5000,- scholarship to the Mo van der Does Quartet.

In 2018 we were very happy to be able to add a second price which was sponsored by Sennheiser. They have offered the amount of €750,- for the winner of the Public Award. All voting forms of the four concerts have been reviewed and the Public Award was handed out to Matthias van den Brande Group.

The funds of the Expression of Art Award gave the Mo van der Does Quartet the possibility to record and conceptualize their debut album. This has been an important step in the career of this starting band. The album ‘Common Myths’ will be released in the Summer of 2019.



For the 2017 award, the jury consisted 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. 
  • Maarten Hogenhuis; an Amsterdam-based saxophonist. He is a member of the exhilarating powerjazzgroup BRUUT!, The More Socially Relevant Jazz Music Ensemble, the two-drummer band Krupa & The Genes and leads his own quartet and trio. 
  • 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.


  • 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.

2017 Winner

On the 28th of May, our judges were proud to hand the Expression of Art Award and the winning prize of a €5000,- scholarship to the Gijs Idema Trio. The trio is often praised for their unique sound which can be classified as dynamic and lyrical with a lot of room for interpretation.

The winner of 2017, the Gijs Idema Trio, has finished the work on their album ‘Squares’. They were already working on the album before the Expression of Art Award, but winning this great prize enabled them to take the final steps in the process, like mixing and mastering. 

Gijs Idema realized his plans to move to New York where he recently finished his Master studies at the Manhattan School of Music. In 2017, the Expression of Art Award funds aided him in financing auditions and flight tickets.

Edo Righini (Vice Director, Head of Jazz Department, Conservatorium van Amsterdam):
'Gijs is one of the brightest new stars on the Dutch guitar horizon. Rooted in the great Jazz tradition, he is astonishingly fluent and narratively elegant whenever he cuts loose on guitar.'


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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. 


The professional jury of 2016 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. 

After winning the Expression of Art Award, Gideon Tazelaar moved to New York where he got accepted in the Masters program of the prestigious Juilliard school. At this institute, Gideon studied and played with artists such as George Coleman and Wynton Marsalis, he graduated in Spring 2019.

Rick Margitza (renowned saxophone player):
“Gideon has a strong command of the jazz vocabulary and is able to use it in an organic way. He has a warm and round sound reminiscent of Stan Getz and Joe Lovano”.

Events in the hotel

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26 May 2019

26 May 2019 15:30 - 17:30

Live music in the Lounge by Joanna Rotberg Learn More

26 May 2019

26 May 2019 11:30 - 13:30

Join us for the Grand Finale of the 2019 Expression of Art Award Sunday morning Jazz concerts. Learn More

1 June 2019

1 June 2019 16:30 - 18:30

Live music in the Lounge of the Conservatorium Hotel by Tomasso Perazzo & Mauro Cottone Learn More

15 June 2019

15 June 2019 16:30 - 18:30

Live music from Jetse de Jong and Daniel Nagel Learn More

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