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Bob van Oosterhout: ‘Music is the common thread in my life’

In addition to his Film and Literature Studies, Bob van Oosterhout is a bassoonist with several orchestras. He is going to Milan with the student choir and orchestra ‘Collegium Musicum’.

What kind of student are you?

'A bit nerdy but ambitious, I think. Just studying is not enough for me. I always want to do more. For example, I did a board year and I am also on the programme committee. And the free time I have, I spend on music. Just because I really like it.'

What is your favourite movie? And your favourite book?

‘Those are a tough questions. We have to read and watch a lot for the course, so you see a lot of good things pass by. I have come to love stories that refer back to themselves. The book of The Phantom of the Opera positively surprised me. I thought it was going to be a sweet story, but the book turns out to be an exciting story in which the reader gets a look "behind the scenes" of a theater. As for films, it’s a tie for first place between Amadeus and Barbie and The Nutcracker. Both are classics in the field of music film.’

Speaking of music, how much time do you spend on music a day?

‘That varies from day to day. If I don’t have an orchestra rehearsal or bassoon lesson, I try to rehearse solo for at least three quarters of an hour, which often extends to an hour. But I also have days when I don’t play music at all. On the other hand, on orchestra days I can spend a whole day with nothing but music. And if I don’t play, I listen to music. Baroque from the sixteenth century for example, and you can find that a lot in my playlists.’

Is that also the music you like to play yourself?

‘No, my own preference is for modern classical music written since the beginning of the nineteenth century. This is more dramatic in nature, which I like. What I also play for fun is film music, by composers like John Williams (who has written music for such films as Harry Potter and Jaws, ed.)’

Do you manage to involve music in your studies?

‘Absolutely! Many students within the programme have a bit of a specialisation, it’s even encouraged. For example, I have written several papers about opera and even made a video essay about the relationship between music and the spoken word. For my bachelor’s thesis, I am now doing research on musical narrativity - how music can help tell a story.’

You are going to play with your student orchestra in Milan. What will you be doing there?

'With the choir and orchestra we are going to play three free concerts in Italy where everyone is welcome. It seems a very cool experience to be on stage abroad for once and to be able to make music for a totally new audience. And besides that, a week in northern Italy certainly wouldn't go amiss.'

What does your ideal weekend look like?

'My ideal weekend is never the same. Every now and then I love to immerse myself in music for a whole weekend, but I have also learned that it is important to do nothing at all from time to time, or to meet up with friends.’

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