Improvisation Workshop

Ernst Reijseger

Ernst Reijseger Masterclass at CDM San Michele
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The workshop is open to composers and instrumentalists, singers. Electronics are welcome. Practitioners with interest in improvisation, preferably practically active and equipped with an already developed level of technical-instrumental mastery, regardless of background and discipline.
Advised age for participants is over 18 years old.

The course will focus on how to execute and practice improvisation. Solo or in different ensemble settings. Ernst Reijseger’s guidance aims at inspiration and ways to approach the work, whilst enjoying the discipline of it.

The workshop gives the participants a creative opportunity to work on form, co-compose and finding ideas for practice strategies and future composition. The course is generally organised in study days of five/six hours divided between morning and afternoon.
In addition to the organised gatherings, there will be enough informal moments in which to talk about desired topics.

Ernst Reijseger

Dutch cellist, composer & improvisor Ernst Reijseger is an influential improvising musician who developed a personal vocabulary on his instrument. Ernst Reijseger is a genre bender. His compositions and collaborations transcend musical styles and art forms. He is a creative partner of film and theatre makers, actors, storytellers, poets, dancers, dj’s, painters, sculptors, photographers, glassblowers, inventors and horses.

Since 2004, Reijseger has scored films for Werner Herzog, Alex and Andrew Smith and others. In 2013 Reijseger played in dialogue with paintings by Jerry Zeniuk by making a tour through the gallery whilst playing (album Crystal Palace). Spring and summer 2017 he scored and performed his music to Shakespeare’s Hamlet at The Public Theatre in New York City.

His musical collaborations include many styles: improvised and jazz music – Harmen Fraanje, Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, Steve Lacy, Uri Caine, Deborah Brown – classical and baroque music – Yo Yo Ma, Giovanni Sollima, Erik Bosgraaf, Dutch Wind Ensemble,

Forma Antiqua – and traditional music – Trilok Gurtu, Tenore e Concordu de Orosei, Groove Lélé, Nana Vasconcelos, A Filetta, Mola Sylla, Ceylan Ertem.
Reijseger’s live performances challenge expectations and provoke communication. Reijseger likes to incorporate the acoustics and reflections of the performance space.

“I’m a non-repertoire cellist, following a non-traditional path. From when I was very young, music from all over the world inspired me. I intuitively played in a way that I later found out is called improvisation. Although I was always interested in the traditional cello technique and aware of the cello repertoire, I became more and more self-taught in playing and composing. My pizzicato techniques are inspired by plucking and fingerpicking of (bass) guitar players. Drummers from all over inspired my rhythmical approach. Pianists, guitarists and saxophonists influenced my phrasing. I’ve always worked with musicians deriving from different traditions.”

Ernst Reijseger

Reijseger is regularly invited to teach at music academies Accademia Musicale Chigiana (music&media), Amsterdam Conservatorium (all disciplines), Koninklijk Conservatorium The Hague (thesis supervisor), Prins Claus Conservatorium (European Master of Music NAIP – New Audiences and Innovative Practice), Kronberg Academy Festival.

“Ernst Reijseger has studied the cello rulebook, absorbed it thoroughly, and thrown it out the window. Never restricted by others’ concepts of genre or application, the Dutch master has consistently recast the instrument as his own. Working within virtually any format he fancies, Reijseger has always challenged himself to reach out toward the unanticipated, to move the music around corners in order to reveal unforeseen vistas. His technique is superb, his improvisational skills masterful, and his compositional virtuosity unquestionable, but Reijseger’s music also projects warmth, depth, and splendor—even at its most extreme. Whether pushing the limits of jazz, world music, or modern classical—working solo or with an ensemble— Reijseger never settles for the obvious. With each piece he writes, and in each project he undertakes, Reijseger sets out to explore the myriad tones, colors, and moods available to him, envelops them, then steps around them to investigate possible alternatives. His music is not always easy, but it’s always satisfying. About the only thing one can expect from Ernst Reijseger is the unexpected.”

Jeff Tamarkin, aprile 2010, Carnegie Hall


Attendance as an actual student is €300; free access for auditors (subject to availability).

Lessons begin on 03/07/2024 and end on 07/07/2024 (total no. 5 effective days).

The course will be held in English.

Lessons will be held at CDM’s premises.


The cost of the course includes:

  1. Daily Group/Individual lessons with Ernst Reijseger

  2. The possibility of attending all the lessons and/or seminar and lectures held during the course

  3. The performance of the pieces presented during the masterclass in a public concert organised by Foresty International Music Festival

  4. The use of study spaces, whose hours will be self-managed by the students and coordinated with the activities taking place.

  5. Issue of certificates of participation authenticated by the teacher and the organisation

  6. The possibility, in the days following the course, to rent CdM San Michele studio at an advantageous price. For further information, please write to


Deadline for registration is: 26 April 2024.
A fee of €50 must be paid at the time of registration.


Payment details

Account holder: Associazione Montaldeo Musica

IBAN: IT02V0326848450052776248700


Reason of payment: Name and Surname, music masterclass


By 30 April you will be informed about the selection of the participants to the masterclass; in case of non-selection, the registration fee of €50 will be refunded.

Payment of the course fee, amounting to €300, must be made by the 6 May.

The accommodation fee of €225 will be paid on site, upon arrival. Any payment and bank charges are the responsibility of the applicant.

In the event of late payment, for which bank transfer date of sending is decisive, a late payment fee of €75 will be charged.

Board and Accommodation (03-07 July - €225)

Casa San Michele offers accommodation in affiliated facilities (flats) for the duration of the course. If necessary, the flats are available to those who wish to stay the night before the beginning of the course (upon reservation) at an additional cost of €25 per night. The cost includes accommodation in a shared flat with a room with bed linen; it also includes dinner, served at the CDM facility. Water, fruit and snacks are always available in the common area of CDM; other consumptions will be considered extra. The lunch break is at your own discretion: all the flats are equipped with a basic kitchen. An affiliated resturant is within a short car/bike distance (3.4 km); should it be needed, the organisation can offer a transfer service to-and-fro the restaurant (free of charge and upon reservation). The cost of lunch is not included in the accommodation cost; however, the use of the SPA is included, limited to the times agreed on the occasion of the course and in accordance with current regulations. Rubber slippers (non-slip), towels and a swimming costume are compulsory for use of the SPA.

The balance of any extras can also be paid on the spot by credit or debit card or bank transfer.
Please note that in the village of Montaldeo there are no tobacconists, pharmacies, grocery shops or ATMs; all necessary services are easily accessible by car or bicycle in the neighbouring villages.

Upon request, at the beginning of the course, the organisation offers to buy and provide (free of extra-charge) any needed product (such as groceries, tobaccoes, toilet articles, etc.).

How to reach us

The nearest railway stations are Ovada, Novi Ligure, Arquata Scrivia; a transfer service is available from the arrival station to Montaldeo at a cost of €15. The nearest airports are Turin, Milan, Genoa, with respective train connections. For those travelling by car, Google Maps shows the exact location by searching for “Casa San Michele Montaldeo”; the nearest motorway exits are Ovada (A26), Novi Ligure (A26/A7), Arquata Scrivia (A7).


Registration fees, net of bank charges, will not be refunded under any circumstances (save for the initial fee of €50 in case of non-selection), except in the event of cancellation of a course due to force majeure or failure to reach a minimum number of participants. The accommodation fee will not be charged in the event of cancellation by the member.