Margriet Verzijl, lutenist, lute teacher and conductor of ensembles.
After her studies of renaissance and baroque lute at the Utrecht conservatory of music, Margriet Verzijl took master classes from Hopkinson Smith, Paul O’ Dette and others and finalized her studies as conductor of ensembles. She was a lute teacher at the Utrecht conservatory for several years and has been teaching at the UCK (Utrecht Centrum voor de Kunsten) since the 1980’s. She was chairperson of the Dutch Lute Society from 1991 to 1999.
Margriet regularly gives concerts on a wide range of lutes, from renaissance and baroque lutes to French and Italian theorbo’s and the vihuela de mano. These concerts may be in combination with lectures on the various lute-like instruments.
Margriet plays lute in several ensembles, such as Testudo, La Dispute de L’amour, and Musica Antiqua Delft. She was founder and is still artistic director of the ensemble Musica del Seicento, together with harpsichord player Karel Smagge.
Margriet has a wide experience as accompanist of choirs, singers and instrumentalists, has on many occasions worked as a consultant in the field of baroque opera’s, festivals, television and radio broadcasts, and has organised various workshops in the field of renaissance and baroque music.
At the Utrechts Centrum voor de Kunsten, Margriet teaches an extensive group of lute students; she has lutes for rent for beginners and can offer guidance with the purchase of a new lute. For many years now, her annual baroque music projects attract many enthousiastic amateur singers and players. These projects offer an ideal opportunity to play together and to get acquainted with the art of historical musical performance. Margriet not only leads the projects, but also teaches thorough bass (basso continuo) techniques to lutenists, harpsichordists and harpists.
You may know the lute from 17th century paintings. The lute was the most popular musical instrument in broad layers of the European population in those days. After a period of about three hunderd years, during which the lute had lost its attraction because of its soft sound, it regained popularity in the twentieth century and is now fully rehabilitated in the early music scene. There are many outstanding lute builders all over the world, who make wonderful instruments based on ancient plans and instructions.
If you would like to play the lute, individual lessons on renaissance or baroque lute, theorbo and vihuela are given in Utrecht on an annual basis, or on the basis of 10 or 20 lessons. There is a special (short) introductory course for those (adults) would would like to try the instrument first and there is a special short I would like to try to play the lute course for children from the age of 9.
Previous musical experience is not necessary, nor is age of any importance. In the lessons, the aim is to attain a historically sound technical playing style, the ability to read different kinds of lute tablature and to get insight into the cultural background of the various music styles and handwritings. But above all, the aim is to have fun in making music in general and in performing early music on an historical instrument in particular. Lessons may be on a weekly basis or, in the case of a busy life, perhaps every fortnight.
Apart from the individual lessons, there is always a possibility to play together with other students (there are some beautiful duets for renaissance lutes), or to learn to play from a figured bass (thorough bass or basso continuo), which enables the lutenist to accompany singers or other musical instruments. With this technique, it is possible to join the instrumentalists in the baroque opera’s which are organised by Margriet Verzijl at the UCK every year.
During the renaissance and baroque periods, the lute developed from a six-course instrument to, for instance, a 14-course theorbo, with all sorts of sizes and types in between. Each lute has its own idiom and its own individual charm. It may prove a disappointing venture to buy your own lute. To avoid spending a lot of money on a bad instrument, it may be wise to hire an instrument when you start taking lute lessons. Margriet Verzijl has both renaissance and baroque lutes for hire. During the lessons, the purchase of a student lute or a professional lute (new or used) may be extensively discussed, as well as information on lute builders.
Thorough bass (or basso continuo) lessons
This 16th and 17th century technique for the accompaniment of singers or melody playing instruments is meant for lutenists, harpsichordists or harpists, both for beginners and for advanced players. For further information, please see the UCK website: www.uck.nl