Corrie van Binsbergen connects musicians of all sorts of feathers

Corrie van Binsbergen graduated in 1983 as classical guitarist at HKU Utrechts Conservatorium. But instead of becoming a classical guitarist, she conquered the musical scene with her electric guitar, as band leader and composer. In her works, she connects musicians of all sorts of feathers. And that’s exactly what she hopes to do as HKU fellow.

Corrie van Binsbergen connects musicians of all sorts of feathers

In her office in Amsterdam West, this musical all-rounder talks about her plans for the future. Corrie van Binsbergen, who rose to fame with her band Corrie en de Grote Brokken and her literary concerts, will now take a step back as organiser. ‘It takes up so much of my time. And I want to spend that time on other things in the coming years: on writing music.’ But since you cannot deny your own nature, this freshly arrived HKU fellow immediately yields to her tendency to organise things. ‘A Q&A with HKU fellow Remy van Kesteren for conservatory students; I’m up for that’

Diverse input

And so, Van Binsbergen recently suggested the Q&A to HKU, as a follow-up to the online seminar she gave in May 2021. ‘In this seminar I introduced myself, presented a quick overview of my career and shared some tips. Last fall, we organised a first roundtable discussion with music students from the classical course, Jazz & Pop and Musician 3.0. The idea was to have two students (a first-year and a third- or fourth- year students) and one alumnus from each course among the participants. This would offer me very diverse input, while the number of participants remains manageable. In a smaller group, it’s easier to get to an honest conversation; you can get to the bottom more quickly than with a whole class.’


When Van Binsbergen was asked to become a fellow of HKU, her first question was: What’s a fellow? She admits that she still has no fitting answer to it. Now she has learned there are fellows from all kinds of professional fields, she would gladly meet the other six fellows as well. ‘Yes, that would be great. And useful as well. I would love to discuss with them what value we can add to HKU in general.’

Another plan of hers is to continue the roundtable conversation in the coming times. Hopefully students can learn something from me while I pass my experience on to them. I can imagine that they have all kinds of questions about stepping into the practical field.: 'How can I find work? Who should I approach?’ I will gladly tell them how I succeeded in this back then. By definition, I have pragmatic attitude. When I want something, I’ll go and get it. It’s just part of my character I think, and it’s an important mindset to have for a musician. Simply being very gifted in playing your instrument is usually not enough, unfortunately.’


Van Binsbergen is free to shape the contents of her individual fellowship at HKU. ‘There’s no assignment written down for me. However, what emerged from the first session and the questionnaire I received, is a desire for more collaboration. There are clearly still a lot of separate islands. The initiatives towards more cooperation come primarily from students, especially those of Musician 3.0. My hope is that I can make a difference in this respect by uniting more students from all the various corners.

Corrie’s tips for students:

  • Find your own voice; follow your heart.

  • Find your inner strength; develop your strong points.

  • Try everything. See everything as an experiment.

  • Take risks, but also trust your intuition.

  • Go search for opportunities. Try to turn every setback into a positive thing.

  • Expand your horizon. Inspiration is everywhere to be found.

  • A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it’s not open. (Frank Zappa)

  • Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It is lighter than you think. (10 rules by John Cage)

header image: Gemma van der Heyden / portrait picture in article: Petra Beckers