Tienstra studied conducting privately with Dick Verhoef and at Amsterdam Conservatoire (Lucas Vis, Sam ten Velden, Jos Vermunt). An experienced conductor in the classical and contempory repertoire, 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.

Always eager for the performance of new music, he has premiered works by (a.o.) Daan Manneke, Wim Henderickx, Bob Zimmerman, Ad Wammes, Geerten Liefting, Valentin Villard, Job Greuter, REINDIER, Wilma Pistorius, Andys Skordis, Ji Youn Kang and his own compositions.

Orchestral conductor

Tienstra is ensemble and orchestral director in the projects of KunstKlank. With chamber choir Cappella pro Cantibus, he regularly performs choral/orchestral works. 

He has worked with Nederlands Symfonisch Kamerorkest, Nederlands Begeleidingsorkest, Ars Musica, L'Estro Armonico, Wild Blossom Ensemble, UNI Katwijk, student orchestra's of the Amsterdam conservatoire, The Hague conservatoire 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. He is former conductor of the seven choirs of St. Bavo's Cathedral, Haarlem.

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 ensembles and as a freelance choir and ensemble conductor, for organisations such as VU-Kamerkoor (Amsterdam), KunstKlank (Noordwijk), La Voix (Haarlem), Pieterskerk-concerten (Utrecht), Illustere Figuren (Leeuwarden) and Amici Cantus Gregoriani (The Hague, Utrecht, Den Bosch, Franeker).

He initiated monthly chant workshops in Amsterdam in April 2023: Gregoriaanse Kring Amsterdam.

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Church musician

Tienstra studied Church Music at Amsterdam Conservatory. 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, Schola Gregoriana Noordwijk, RC parish choir 'Maria ter Zee' in Noordwijk, Schola Cantorum Oegstgeest, Schola Cantorum Amsterdam, 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.