Musician Dean Montanaro recently completed an undergraduate course at Codarts University of the Arts in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. During the last four years, he studied with highly-acclaimed teachers, specialising in jazz music and also taking classes in North Indian classical music and Brazilian percussion. Last summer, he graduated with honours and was awarded a stipend from Stichting Vrienden van Codarts.

Thanks to the school’s network, Montanaro had the opportunity to take part in a number of projects, including Jesse Passanier’s How Flora and Fauna Became Friends, Codarts Big Band performances and the North Sea Jazz Festival fringe concerts. In addition, he formed bands and projects with whom he is still performing and recording, such as Antares Flare and Eargonauts.

For his dissertation, he conducted research about Moroccan Gnawa music, outlining the parallels between it and his main instrument: the bass guitar. His final exam took the form of a live-streamed concert of original compositions and arrangements, together with a quintet called Su Nichel.

Codarts Rotterdam is a vocational university that started as the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music in the late 19th century, which now provides high-level arts education across multiple disciplines, including music, dance and circus. Its mission is to train “performers to become dedicated and inspiring artists, leaders and facilitators”.

Montanaro’s experience at Codarts was made possible thanks to the Malta Arts Scholarship Scheme, which provides aspiring artists and musicians with financial support, enabling them to pursue career development abroad.

Currently, Montanaro is enrolled in a master’s programme at the Conservatorium of Amsterdam and working on his latest musical project, Logħob Bla Kliem.

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