Tienstra studied conducting privately with Dick Verhoef and at Amsterdam Conservatoire. His current practice encompasses choirs, chant groups, chamber ensembles, orchestra projects and the occassional music theatre project. A recurrent repertoire is the combination of orchestral and choral forces, performing all the major works of the Classical and Romantic repertoire in combination with lesser-known pieces.

Orchestral conductor

Tienstra is regular ensemble and orchestral director in the projects of KunstKlank. Summer 2023 will see him as orchestral and choral conductor in KunstKlank's large music theatre production VAAR WEL.

Tienstra has worked with Nederlands Symfonisch Kamerorkest, Nederlands Begeleidingsorkest, Ars Musica, L'Estro Armonico, Wild Blossom Ensemble, UNI Katwijk, ensembles of the Amsterdam and The Hague conservatories and Birmingham and Essen universities amongst others.

Choral conductor

As choral conductor, Tienstra currently directs chamber choir Cappella pro Cantibus, Schola Gregoriana Noordwijk, Schola Cantorum Amsterdam,  the Gregoriaanse Kring Amsterdam and the Schola Cantorum of Ekklesia Leiden.

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Church musician

Tienstra studied Church Music at Amsterdam Conservatory, being the last Dutch conservatory student in Catholic Church Music. His extensive work experience in a wide range of church music traditions includes: directing the seven choirs of RC St Bavo Cathedral (concurrently teaching at Cathedral School Haarlem), the ecumenical Iona choir, Mass and Office liturgies with Schola Gregoriana Noordwijk, parish practice with RC parish choir 'Maria ter Zee' in Noordwijk and Schola Cantorum Oegstgeest, the Divine Office with Schola Cantorum Amsterdam, an Evensong tradition with Cappella pro Cantibus and the ecumenical Schola Cantorum of Ekklesia Leiden (Hooglandse Kerk).

The video shows an interview (in Dutch) on church music at St Peter's Square in Rome, at the end of a concert tour of St. Bavo's cathedral choir.

Workshop leader

"Workshops are a great way of introducing those interested the musical treasure trove, by tackling those elements that can make them seem daunting at first - be it one of the choral classics, newly written music, a medieval manuscript or unknown masterpieces."
Tienstra regularly gives workshops with all his chant groups, but also as a freelance choir and ensemble conductor, for organisations such as VU-Kamerkoor (Amsterdam), KunstKlank (Noordwijk), La Voix (Haarlem), Pieterskerkconcerten (Utrecht), Illustere Figuren (Leeuwarden) and Amici Cantus Gregoriani (The Hague, Utrecht, Den Bosch, Franeker).

A new initiative for monthly chant workshops in Amsterdam starts April 2023: Gregoriaanse Kring Amsterdam.