Expression of Art Award by The Set Hotels

Following the roaring success of the 2016 Expression of Art Award edition, Conservatorium hotel will continue to sustain the strong relationship with the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Amsterdam University of the Arts with a second edition in 2017.

On 21 February 2016, Conservatorium started the first student concert series in partnership with the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Amsterdam University of the Arts as part of the launch of the Expression of Art Award by The Set hotels. The Conservatorium hotel gave three bands the opportunity to perform on selected dates in the Symphony Room of the hotel.  On 12 June 2016, the first edition of the Expression of Art Award was handed out to the Gideon Tazelaar trio. They won a scholarship of €5000,- provided by the hotel, which will be used to develop their musical career.


In 2017, four concerts will be organised with one jazz band performing at each session. The fifth session is the grand finale between the two best bands. This year’s participants are:

  • Sunday 29 January: Gijs Idema Trio
  • Sunday 26 February: Little Olifant
  • Sunday 26 March: Hähnlein/Muller/Lotz
  • Sunday 30 April: SunMi Hong Trio
  • Sunday 28 May: Grand finale

The welcome starts at 11 AM and the concert itself starts at 11.30AM. The event will end around 12.30PM.

A professional jury is appointed to make the final judgement on which of four jazz bands will win the award. In 2017, the jury consists of two teachers from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam together with Ruben Hein, a famous Dutch jazz singer and pianist.

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. In addition to that, his roots are synthesized into the project and for which he says, ”Travelling has had a very special impact on my life and the farther I am from home, the closer I feel to it. My perspective on the past, present and the future is constantly influencing my musical voice as I learn to accept things the way they are.”


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

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 Conservatorium hotel has established a strong collaboration with the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Amsterdam University of the Arts since the hotel’s opening in 2011. The hotel emphasizes the heritage and history of the building, which has been the house of the former Sweelinck Conservatory of Music from 1983 to 2008. Students of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Amsterdam University of the Arts are given the opportunity to perform in the Lounge of the hotel. Mostly student duo’s, often accompanied by piano (making use of the hotel’s Steinway piano) in combination with a second instrument such as bass, violin or clarinet. Furthermore, the hotel invites students to perform during special events such as a Frank Sinatra event during Christmas when a “crooner” was accompanied by piano, the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and requests from hotel guests for private dinners or events including a Chinese quartet performed during the Chinese New Year celebration.

During each concert (of approximaltey 45 minutes) and feedback session of the jury; hotel guests, local’s, family of the band and teachers of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam are invited to watch while enjoying coffee, tea and pastries. On the day of the Grand Finale: 28 May 2017, the General Manager of the Conservatorium hotel: Roy Tomassen, will hand out the award to the winner.

For reservations please email

For further information please visit and follow @conservatoriumh on Twitter and @conservatoriumhotel on Instagram.

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