Rens Tienstra is a composer, orchestral and choral conductor, musicologist, orchestrator, teacher and programmer. His musical practice encompasses the entire treasure trove of musical history, ranging from the oldest known notations to newly written compositions.


Tienstra directs the Schola Cantorum Amsterdam (St. Nicholas' Basilica, Amsterdam), Ekklesia Leiden's Schola Cantorum (Hooglandse Kerk, Leiden), Schola Gregoriana Noordwijk and Cappella pro Cantibus. He is artistic director of the International Festival of Gregorian Chant in Den Bosch. In the past, he directed the seven choirs of St. Bavo Cathedral in Haarlem.


His compositions and orchestrations have been played by a wide range of performers, including ASKO|Schönberg, Nieuw Ensemble, Ensemble 10/10, Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, Cappella Breda and Hollands Vocaal Ensemble. Equally varied have been the performance venues, ranging from the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival to theatres, beaches, cathedrals and bell towers throughout Europe. Tienstra is represented by Donemus Publishing.


A much sought-after lecturer and workshop leader exploring all possible musical topics, Tienstra specialises in contemporary music, liturgical music and Gregorian chant. He is an often-consulted expert on the musical traditions of the Low Countries. Publications include studies on the late choral works of Dutch composer Ton de Leeuw, the liturgical music of Bernstein, Reger and Bartolucci, Dutch saints and manuscripts, and a critically acclaimed guide to chant interpretation and conducting.

Tienstra’s studies throughout Europe reflect his wide range of interests. He studied Conducting, Composition, Church Music and Gregorian chant at the Conservatories of Amsterdam, The Hague and at Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany. He holds a Master of Music degree (Amsterdam Conservatory), a Master of Arts degree (Birmingham University) and a magna cum laude doctoral degree in Musicology (Folkwang University Essen).