Get inspired by visual arts

Research Retreats at the Cello Academy 

 Draw inspiration from visual art and collaborate as cellists and composers towards a public presentation


A Research Retreat is a collaboration between the CelloWercken Foundation and Dat Bolwerck – centre of arts – both situated in Zutphen. The current exhibition at Dat Bolwerck determines the theme of the retreat. 



In this retreat composers and cellists work together. Together with the artist, the composers explore the backgrounds of the subject. Subsequently, they incorporate their inspiration into an original composition, which they share with the participating cellists.

Throughout the retreat, the work and performance are refined, and finally, all elements come together in a public performance.

PROGRAM ’23/’24

4-days course

Research Retreat with Xiaoyong Chen, Gavriel Lipkind, Jeroen den Herder and Alfian Emir Adytia

This course you will be accompanied by Xiaoyong Chen (compositon),  Gavriel Lipkind (cello),  Alfian Emir Adytia (cello, composition and sound artist) and Jeroen den Herder (cello). who will all be present in Zutphen. Hua-Hsuan Lee serves as the collaborative pianist. This Research Retreat we focus on the exhibition of Ruthi Helbitz Cohen at Dat Bolwerck. The key to her work is the female body. 

Including a performance for an audience in Dat Bolwerck

3 – 6 April ’24

Wednesday – Saturday



Composition students are each required to create a composition (or sketches) in advance, drawing inspiration from the current exhibition at Dat Bolwerck. Each composition should last for 7 minutes and can be written for 1 to 5 cellos, with or without piano. These pieces can and will be tested, refined, and completed during the retreat.

Early February: first online meeting with the artist about the exhibition theme and an open discussion about the direction, including further development of the project.

Last week February: first composition sketches are reviewed with the teachers for playability. The compositions (whether or not in rough form) will be shared with the cellists. They will be practicing under the teachers’ guidance.

We will provide in a schedule and make sure we are connected during the retreat. You can also join the presentations online.

– 6 composers
– 6 cellists
Level: Master, Post Master and young professionals. Are you a high-level bachelor student? Sometimes we make exeptions, so please contact us if you are interested.

Full attendance on all rehearsals and the concerts is mandatory.


  • Cellists: EUR 500,- (including VAT) – covering all classes, accommodation, and meals, excluding travel costs
  • Composers joining at Dat Bolwerck: EUR 150,- (including VAT) – covering all classes, accommodation, and meals,excluding travel costs
  • Composers joining online: free

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if the contribution poses a financial challenge for you. In some cases, we can offer scholarships.

We arrange accommodations with families close to Dat Bolwerck.
All meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner, will be provided at Dat Bolwerck.



Xiaoyong Chen - composer

Professor at the Xinghai Conservatory 
Chens oevre is a subtle combination of Eastern linguistic and philosophical traditions with European musical innovation. A part of his career he spent in Germany as, amongst various projects, professor of composition at the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik und Theater. He also accepted various professorships in China (Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Xi’an Conservatory of Music). He also has been composer in residence (2009) and artistic and scientific advisor of the Danube University Centre for Contemporary Music. His works are exclusively published by the Internationale Musikverlage Sikorski/Boosey & Hawkes (Berlin).

Gavriel Lipkind - cellist

Professional Cellist and founder of ConcertLab
The Israeli cellist Gavriel Lipkind began his musical career at the age of 6. He studied in Tel Aviv and Frankfurt, earning international awards in Paris, Washington DC, and Munich. Gavriel performed with luminaries such as Gidon Kremer and Yehudi Menuhin, conducted by maestros like Zubin Mehta and Giuseppe Sinopoli. He took a leading role in the documentary “The Solitude Cycle – A Journey to the Limits,” establishing himself as a virtuoso and expressive cellist with his CD recordings “Miniatures & Folklore” and Bach Suites. Gavriel frequently collaborates with pianist Roman Zaslavsky and founded the Lipkind Quartet. He has played Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto, dedicated to the renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, on stages worldwide.

Jeroen den Herder - cellist

Professor at the conservatories of Utrecht and Rotterdam – artistic director of CelloWercken
Den Herder has been a dedicated teacher ever since he took a professorship at the age of 22 at the Utrecht Conservatory. His lessons are based on a healthy development between mind and body, and a cello technique inspired by his teacher Christopher Bunting who was a former student of Pablo Casals. His approach is based on natural principles like gravity, character and playfulness. ‘Everything is music, don’t play to avoid mistakes.’  Elements as delegation of body functions and breathing are some key topics that will help you to achieve perfection in a healthy way. His main focus is on how and what people practise. He believes that being aware of one’s imagination, sensitive listening and following intuition, are elements that have proved to be the best teachers for life.

Alfian Emir Adytia - cellist, composer and sound artist

Alfian Emir Adytia is an Indonesian cellist, composer, and performer based in the Netherlands. He completed his Master’s degree in classical cello music at The Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, where he achieved an outstanding 9.5/10 grade with distinction in originality. Following his studies, Emir delved into the captivating world of live electronics, expanding his sonic interests. Since 2017, he has released six independent albums, showcasing his musical evolution and genre explorations. Deeply rooted in Indonesian folk music and European classical musical training, a fusion that adds a unique dimension to his compositions, Emir’s works have been performed on major stages. Furthermore he was honored with a special mention prize in the Calefax Composers Competition in 2022 and received an honorary mention in the Bartók World Competition for Composition. His music has been widely played from a humble community-based young cellists circle in Yogyakarta, to a film screening in FIVARS festival in Los Angeles and Montreal. 

 PROGRAM OF THE RETREAT – we will inform you in advance about the details 

Wednesday 3/4
10:00 – 11:00: welcome
Morning: masterclasses
Afternoon: rehearsals
Evening: inspiration

Thursday 4/4 and Friday 5/4
Morning: masterclasses
Afternoon: rehaersals
Evening: inspiration

Saturday 6/4
Moring: finetunig performance
Afternoon: finetunig and repetion
Evening: performance


The sky fell on her – Ruthi Helbitz Cohen

Painter and Installation artist (Tel Aviv 1969). Lives and works in Israel and abroad. The female body is key to her work. It beholds a world rich in contradictions, strong and subtle emotions, and intricate thoughts seen through a distorting mirror. Beyond the horror, disgust and pain lies a world of delicate beauty.

Lecturer at Oranim College (multidisciplinary program for teaching humanities and the arts), teaches painting in a program for art studies and lecturer at Beit Berl Art College.



The Cello Academy is situated in Dat Bolwerck, Zaadmarkt 12. It is a mixture of charming medieval times and modern art, right in the heart of the old town, just a 10-minute walk from the train station.

Have you ever been to Zutphen? If we do say ourselves: it is a delightful little town. With a charming market with cozy cafes and situated along the IJssel river – you can always find a peaceful spot to enjoy the riverbanks.


Any questions? Please contact us.