In 2018, Matthijs van der Moolen finished his Master of Music (cum laude) in Historical Trombones at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, after studying with Charles Toet. He completed his bachelor studies in classical and historical trombone at the same institution in 2016. He studied classical trombone with Pete Saunders and Timothy Dowling. In 2021 he completed his second Master of Music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, with Catherine Motuz. Here he specialized further into the renaissance trombone and medieval slide trumpet.
Matthijs' main focus is the performance of chamber music, both early and contemporary. He is co-founder of the ensembles Ongestreken and Castello Consort. The Castello Consort specializes in the expressive and virtuosic (chamber) music of the sixteenth and seventeenth century. They recently performed in the foremost (international) concert series and festivals, including the Internationale Händel-Festspiele in Göttingen (DE), Beverley Early Music Festival (UK), Festival d'Ambronay (FR), Festival Barocco è il mondo (IT), BRQ Festival (fringe) in Vantaa (FI), Kongsberg International Organ Summer (NO), International Organ Festival Haarlem (NL), Gaudeamus (NL), November Music (NL), and the Utrecht Early Music Festival (NL). They recently recorded their debut CD with a combination of seventeenth-century chamber music and contemporary music by Martijn Padding, which will be released by Navis Classics in January 2023.
As a freelancer, Matthijs has played with a variety of other ensembles as well, including Música Temprana, Ghislieri Consort, New Collegium, Opera2Day, Apollo Ensemble, Luthers Bach Ensemble, Capriccio Stravagante, La Fonte Musica, and others.
As a teacher Matthijs was connected to Leerorkest Drechtsteden, a project that gives all children at elementary schools the chance to learn an instrument. He also taught workshops in polychoral music for Huismuziek. Furthermore, he is active as a teacher in historical trombones.
Matthijs plays on a variety of instruments, ranging from original historical instruments from the 19th century to accurate copies of earlier instruments. His most special instrument is the world's first exact copy of the only surviving renaissance trombone from Italy: the anonymous instrument that is part of the Accademia Filarmonica collection in Verona. Aron Vajna built this for him, using all the historical techniques. The instrument was made possible with the help of Stichting Eigen Muziekinstrument.
As a historical trombone player, it is necessary to have many different instruments to play in all different styles and pitches. Here is a summary of my favourite and most important instruments in my collection, sorted by time period / style.
- slide trumpet | made by Graham Nicholson (2019) | after Marcian Guitbert (Limoges, 1442) | mouthpiece: after Guitbert, same original instrument | plays in C around a'520Hz
- trombone | made by Aron Vajna (2021) | exact copy of the anonymous instrument in the Accademia Filarmonica in Verona (Italy, ca. 1560) | mouthpiece: exact copy of Schnitzer (also in Verona) | plays in A around a'470Hz, but includes crooks and bits up to a fourth, to work in any pitch as high as a'490Hz or a'520Hz and as low as a'390Hz, in any key including C, G, F, E and D
- tenor trombone | made by Aron Vajna (2022) | exact copy of the anonymous instrument in the Accademia Filarmonica in Verona (Italy, ca. 1560), but adapted with a lighter weight slide with round stays for later (17/18th-century) repertoire | plays in A around a'470Hz, but includes crooks and bits up to play in any other pitch (see above)
- tenor trombone | made by Ewald Meinl (2014) | after Anton Drewelwecz (Nuremberg, 1595) | a good standard sackbut, the modern type that is most used on concert stages these days, but with brass slide and historical bell position
- alto trombone | made by Egger (2019) | copy of Hieronimus Starck (Nuremberg, 1670), upon request Egger made some alterations to their MDC model, to make the instrument closer to the original | plays in D around a'470Hz, but includes a crook to play in Eb around a'430Hz
- natural trumpet | made by Graham Nicholson (2020) | copy of Hieronimus Starck (Nuremberg, 1680) | plays in D around a'465Hz, but includes crooks to play any lower pitch
- tenor trombone | made by Ewald Meinl (2014) | the standard 'classical' sackbut that Meinl builds, although it is highly questionable that pieces like Mozart's Requiem were actually played on such instruments (a baroque instrument is probably much more appropriate)
- tenor trombone | made by Antoine Courtois (Paris, 1866) | a very special silver trombone that was built as the prize for the winner of the Paris Competition that year (his name is even engraved in the bell) | plays in Bb around a'455Hz, but the tuning slide allows it to play around a'440Hz as well
- tenor trombone | made by J.G. Kern (Ebersdorf bei Löbau, 2nd half 19th century) | a typical German romantic instrument, without tuning slide and water key, but with a large ornamented garland | plays in Bb around a'440Hz (but prefers a slightly lower pitch)
- tenor trombone | made by Conn (Elkhart, 1954) | a small-bore Conn 4H, my favourite for modern concerts
- tenor trombone | made by Conn (Elkhart, 1942) | a small-bore Conn 44H 'vocabell', a special instrument decorated in art-deco style
- alto trombone | made my S.E. Shires (2013) | the Shires alto trombone with in-slide tuning