Report from Timothy Ridout Masterclass

by Sofie Booy
Wednesday 15th of February, 2023

Timothy Ridout gave a masterclass last week in the conservatory of Amsterdam. Four students were selected to play for him. The afternoon was filled with beautiful viola music. The hall was filled with people listening to the masterclass.

The afternoon started with the Hindemith op. 11 No. 4 played by Connie Pharoah accompanied by Daniël Kramer. They played very beautifully. Timothy started working with her on the phrasing in the music. He gave some tips on how to keep the tension in the music while not giving it away too much. He played how he wanted it to be played and the student could try it out after that.

After the Hindemith we had the next student, Fiachra de hOra, playing Schumann’s Märchenbilder with Daniël Kramer. Timothy gave him tips to play more freely, and took the time for the student to understand and to be able to play how he explained something. Sometimes the student needed to play a passage slowly a few times before continuing with the pianist.

After  a short coffee break we continued with Anuschka Pedano, who played the César Franck sonata with Martijn Willers. Timothy worked with her on a difficult position shift in the climax of a build-up phrase. He had a lot of musical ideas for this piece, and he stayed very calm and nice.

The last masterclass student was Simon Rosier, who played Vieuxtemps with Martijn Willers. They started with the slow part of the sonata, focusing on making more sound. In the fast part they focused on intonation in combination with sound production.

Timothy was very excited to work with all the students. When each student’s time was up, he always wanted to finish the piece and give as much overall tips that he still had in his mind.

The afternoon ended with a Q&A. There was a question about what do you do to warm up? He said he started always with some exercises to get his shoulders and neck relaxed. Then he said it depends on how much time he has, differing from 5 minutes to warm up until an hour. He likes to play scales (also chromatic scales) and arpeggios. And he uses the Kreutzer etudes to get his hands and fingers working. He also plays slow scales with vibrato to make sure everything is fluent, and funny exercises like standing on one leg. He also mentioned the Dounis’ Daily Dozen, which is originally for violin. He mentioned that its good to do proper warmups when you have the time, but avoid the feeling that you have to do the same thing every day. He also talked about slow practicing and about how to maintain a piece.

He was very kind to everybody and very approachable. He gave a lot of good tips to the students that also any other musician in the public could use.