The four-year programme ‘Contemporary Music through Non-Western Techniques’ and its trimester-long introduction 'Advanced Rhythm' taught at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, supply the training to meet the rhythmical demands of 20th and 21st Century music.  

'Contemporary Music through Non-Western Techniques' is intended for students from both classical and jazz departments, and structured for performers and composers.


The expansion of rhythmical possibilities has been one of the cornerstones of musical developments in the last hundred years, whether through western development or through the borrowing from non-western traditions. Most classical musicians, whether in orchestral or ensemble situations, will have to face a piece by Ligeti, Messiaen, Varèse or Xenakis, to mention just a few well-known composers, while improvisers face music influenced by Dave Holland, Steve Coleman, Aka Moon, Weather Report, Irakere or elements from the Balkans, India, Africa or Cuba. Read more


This approach within the programme revolves around rhythmical devices/complexities and microtonal concepts (the latter are optional) derived from the theory of classical South Indian (Karnatic) music, in order to use them within a western contemporary context. The final goal for the student is to achieve a higher degree of understanding of these concepts and its subsequent utilisation in today's music and never to merely copy the Karnatic tradition. Read more

The following students can take either approach:
  • Bachelors: From the second year onwards as part of the elective package.
  • Masters: As a masters subject.
  • Students of other Dutch conservatories: Any student inscribed in any Dutch music center could take any of the subjects and transfer the credits to his/her dossier. 
  • Contract students: Any student who has finished a bachelors or masters degree anywhere in the world could follow any of the subjects. Former Amsterdam Conservatory students get a reduction on the regular price (this possibility cannot provide a student visa to those who may need it).
For credits and frameworks, see the specific explanation for each approach.