Kurt Thomas CursusThe course
Utrechts Conservatorium

Kurt Thomas Course 2024, for conductors and choristers!

Unfortunately, we have had to decide that the Kurt Thomas Course will not take place this year. Despite the interest from many conductors and choir singers, we are unable to secure the funding for the course. We hope to offer a new edition of the course in 2025. Looking forward to seeing you then!

Are you a professional or amateur conductor and would you like to further your development? Or a musician who wants to explore the conducting craft? Or perhaps you are a chorister and curious about choir conducting? If so, the Kurt Thomas Course 2024 may be perfect for you. This year it will feature guest lecturer Ed Spanjaard, workshops about Russian choir music and Indonesian choir music, and new ateliers about children’s choir conducting and new choir compositions. You can read more and immediately sign up on this page.

The Kurt Thomas Course is organised in cooperation with Dirigentenwerkplaats Utrecht.

For whom?

You may be a professional or amateur conductor, or a choir singer who wants to explore conducting or focus intensively on singing for a week. You can select the level that suits you, choose the repertoire and the teacher of your preference and choose the workshops that interest and attract you. You are free to decide how long and how intensely you will participate. You can subscribe for the whole week, for separate modules or for a single day; as an active participant, hospitant or chorister. To put it succinctly, you can assemble your very own Kurt Thomas Course!

How and what will you learn?

Under the guidance of an enthusiastic team of experienced and knowledgeable teachers, you can immerse yourself in multiple ways in the various aspects of conducting and choir singing. You gain new ideas and insights and get practical tips and tools about practice techniques, baton techniques and choral formation. The course consists of various modules that each have their own theme and where you are working on a different activity every time. Meanwhile, you also get to know lots of colleagues and expand your network.

Workshop: each day starts with a workshop for all participants, each with a different subject, such as new repertoire, group dynamics, rhythm, etcetera. You start the day with singing, exercises, conducting and listening.
Reveille: during the daily reveille, you practice conducting together with all the other participants, while warming up your voice with Gregorian singing.
Atelier: the atelier form the heart of the course; you take individual turns on the repertoire pieces and form a coir with the other participants and guest vocalists. There are three 75-minute classes each day, with one of the teachers of your atelier. You are also taught by the teachers of vocal development and choir formation.
Schola: in a Gregorian Schola, you sing to unravel the secrets of single-voice music.
Grand choir: all participants sing along in the Kurt Thomas Grand Choir. Here you are guided by the students of atelier 2, under the direction of the teachers of choir and orchestra repertoire.

The teachers of the Kurt Thomas Course all have a strong practical background and offer tons of knowledge and experience. They are experts who are willing to teach you and openly discuss their profession and all related aspects.

This year’s teachers are: Louis Buskens, Rob Vermeulen, Adrián van der Spoel, Boudewijn Jansen, Hans Noijens, Lieke Geraats, Sanne Nieuwenhuizen, Matthijs Overmars, Dennis Broeders, Claudia Franzen and Fokko Oldenhuis. Additionally, we are pleased to be joined this year by guest teacher Ed Spanjaard!

Day schedule

Depending on the atelier you choose, a day of the Kurt Thomas Course looks as follows:

Ateliers 1, 2, 6 Ateliers 3, 5, 7, 9
10.30-11.45 Workshop Workshop
10.30-11.45 Schola Schola
12.00-13.00 Reveille Reveille
13.00-13.30 Break Break
13.30-14.45 Schola Class 1
14.45-16.00 Class 1 Class 2
16.30-18.00 Grand Choir Grand Choir
18.00-19.00 Break Break
19.00-20.15 Class 2 Class 3
20.30-21.45 Class 3 Schola

Ateliers 4 and 8 have slightly divergent class times. See below.

The schedule on Saturday 13 July is:

11.30-13.00 Evaluations (only for participating conductors of ateliers 1 to 9)

14.00-17.00 For all participants: general rehearsal (Nicolaïkerk)

19.00-22.00 For all participants: final concert (Nicolaïkerk)


Questions? Send an e-mail to ktc.muziek@hku.nl.

Kurt Thomas CursusAteliers
Kurt Thomas Cursus


The Ateliers: levels, repertoire and formation

The ateliers are offered at three different levels.
- Level I: For professional conductors, choral conducting students, and professional musicians with experience in conducting.
- Level II: For professional musicians without experience in conducting, trainee music teachers, and experienced amateur conductors.
- Level III: For starting conductors.

Level I

Professional conductors, choral conducting students, and professional musicians with experience in conducting

  • Teachers: Ed Spanjaard and Rob Vermeulen

    • R. Escher, from Songs of Love and Eternity
    o Wild Nights!
    o To make a Prairie
    • R. Escher, from Ciel, Air et Vents
    o Sonnet
    • M. Duruflé
    o Notre Père
    o Ubi caritas et amor
    • V. Kallinikov
    o Nïñe otpushcháyeshï (Lord, Now Lettest Thou)
    o Blazhén muzh (Blessed Is the Man)
    • A. Gretchaninov: Na zarje (In the Glow of the Day)
    • M. Ippolitiv-Ivanov, from All-Night Vigil op.43:
    o Blazhén muzh (Blessed is the Man)
    • S.I. Tañejev from Twelve Chorusses:
    Pagârâm dv’e chmurych tutshi

    Class hours: Sunday 7 July preparatory rehearsal for the chamber choir by the teachers, 14:00 – 17:00, followed by daily rehearsal from 14:45 to 22:00 and Saturday on 11:30 – 22:00. Costs: € 895 (includes participation in grand choir, reveille, workshops and schola)

  • Teachers: Ed Spanjaard and Boudewijn Jansen

    • L. Cherubini, from Requiem in c-minor
    o Introitus
    o Dies Irae
    o Offertorium
    • I. Stravinsky, from Mass for Choir and Wind Instruments

    o Kyrie
    o Gloria

    Class hours: 14.45-22.00, Saturday 11.30-22.00
    Costs: € 895 (includes participation in grand choir, reveille, workshops and schola)

  • Teachers: Louis Buskens and Fokko Oldenhuis

    • J. S. Bach, from St. Matthew Passion guided recitatives
    o NBA No 2, 4E, 9C, 11, 14, 18, 24
    • C. Franck, Quare fremuerunt gentes
    • L. Dykstra, La Neige
    • L. Larssen, from The Seasons
    o Part 4, Juncos

    Class hours: 13.30 - 20.15, Saturday 11.30-22.00
    Costs: € 895 (includes participation in grand choir, reveille, workshops and schola)

    You can also participate in level 1 as hospitant. You will be actively joining in the ateliers, but won’t get any individual turns when working with the ensembles.

  • Teacher: Fokko Oldenhuis
    Repertoire: 5 or 6 new choir compositions SATB a cappella, written especially for this atelier; the compositions are sent to you in early June.

    Conservatorium students of composition and other composers are invited to write a choir piece for SATB a cappella of max. 3 minutes. Fokko Oldenhuis selects 5 a 6 works that are suitable to put at the centre of this atelier, which has an ensemble of 8 vocalists at its disposal. The deadline for sending the compositions is 15 May. Next to working on the new compositions, you as a conductor gains insight in the process of working with a composer, who are also present during the classes. Additionally, you can sing along in the vocal ensemble.

    One day of classes in this atelier goes as follows:

    Atelier 4
    10.30-11.45 Workshop
    12.00-13.00 Reveille
    13.00-13.30 Break
    13.30-14.45 Schola
    16.30-18.00 Grand Choir
    18.00-19.30 Break
    19.30-21.30 Class

    NOTE: more experienced amateur conductors are also welcome in this level 1 atelier.

    Class hours: 10.30 -21.30, Saturday 11.30-22.00
    Costs: € 495 (includes participation in grand choir, reveille, workshops and schola)

    You can also join level 1 as hospitant. This means you actively participate in the ateliers, but don’t have any individual performances when we work with the ensembles.

Level II

For professional musicians without experience in conducting, trainee music teachers, and experienced amateur conductor

  • Atelier 5. Choir, string quartet and organ, with assistance from members of RBO-Sinfonia

    Teachers: Louis Buskens and Rob Vermeulen


    • W. A. Mozart, Misericordias Domini KV 222
    • J.S. Bach, from Johannes Passion (NBA)
    • 14. Petrus, der nicht denkt zurück
    • 15. Christus, der uns selig macht
    • 22. Durch dein Gefängnis
    • 40. Ach Herr, laß dein lieb Engelein
    • F. Schubert , from Mass in G:
    • Kyrie
    • Gloria
    • Sanctus
    • Agnus Dei

    Class hours: 13.30-20.15, Saturday 11.30-22.00

    Costs: € 895 (includes participation in grand choir, reveille, workshops and schola)

  • Teachers: Dennis Broeders and Hans Noijens


    • L. Berio E si fussi pisci
    • H. Distler Selig sind die Toten
    • F. Mendelssohn Die Nachtigall
    • F. Obispo Chua ay
    • P. Hindemith from Six chansons: Verger
    • H. Alfvén Uti vår hagen

      Class hours: 14.45-22.00, Saturday 11.30-22.00

      Costs: € 745 (includes participation in grand choir, reveille, workshops and schola)

  • Repertoire:
    • L. Senfl Ach Elslein
    • J. des Prez Mille regretz
    • G. Costeley Allons gay, bergères
    • F. Mendelssohn Die Nachtigall
    • F. Obispo Chua ay
    • A. de Klerk Pater noster
    Class hours: 13.30-20.15; Saturday 11.30-22.00

    Costs: € 745 (includes participation in grand choir, reveille, workshops and schola)
  • Teachers: Claudia Franzen, Irene Verburg, and Laszlo Nemes
    Repertoire and materials: to be announced

    This workshop covers various topics if you work or want to work with a children's choir, such as: how do I teach children music, how do I teach them to sing properly and how do I organise and build a lesson or rehearsal on lessons. On Thursdays, a group of children from the National Choirs/Vocal Talent Netherlands will attend, on Fridays a children's choir from the Koorschool Limburg. The workshop looks as follows:

    Wednesday 10 July Claudia Franzen
    Session 1: The basics of conducting and organising a children's choir. Topics include: singing with younger children, songs and games, how to start and organise a children's choir, connection to musicality training, repertoire for this younger age and how to prepare children to sing at a higher level at a later stage.
    Session 2: Preparing music for Friday afternoon with turns and extra time for songs and games.

    Thursday 11 July: both classes by Irene Verburg and László Nemes jointly.
    Irene will focus on children's voice development, gestures that promote pupils' voice development and demonstrate some exercises with a group of children from National Choirs. László will focus on preparing, choosing and teaching repertoire. Participants will experience the process themselves.
    Both sessions target a higher age group and music level.

    Friday 12 July: both sessions led by Claudia Franzen:
    First session: preparation for the afternoon, time to discuss other topics, based on participants' questions. Second session: rehearsal together with the children of Koorschool Limburg

    This is the only atelier that starts on Wednesday 10 July. When participating, you can still participate in the workshops, scholas and Grand Choir throughout the whole week, including Monday and Tuesday. If you want to do this, please indicate this on your registration form. One day of classes will look like this:

    Atelier 8
    10.30-11.45 Workshop
    10.30-11.45 Schola
    12.00-13.00 Reveille
    13.00-13.30 Break
    13.30-14.45 Class 1
    14.45-16.00 Class 2
    16.30-18.00 Grand Choir

    Class hours: 10.30-18.00

    Costs: € 450 (includes participation in grand choir, reveille, workshops and schola)

Level III

Level III: For novice amateur conductors

  • Teachers: Sanne Nieuwenhuizen and Hans Noijens


    • A. Figus The banks of Doon
    • A. Harmat Exsurge
    • I. Hallström Aftonstjärnan
    • T. Luis da Victoria Ave Maria
    • K. Jenkins Healing light

    Class hours: 13.30-20.15, Saturday 11.30-22.00

    Costs: € 745 (includes participation in grand choir, reveille, workshops and schola)

    The ateliers 5, 6, 7 and 9 also include classes in musical development by Lieke Geraats.

    • To give everyone a chance to present themselves individually, the workshops will have room for approximately 8 to 12 participating conductors. This may be extended with interested choristers who want to participate for the duration of the entire atelier.
    • When any international participants attend a workshop or atelier, the main language will be English.

Please note:

• To give everyone a chance to present themselves individually during the workshops, the groups will consist of approximately 6-12 participating conductors. There may also be openings for interested choristers who are committed for the duration of the workshop series.
• When international participants attend a workshop or atelier, it will be conducted in English.

Kurt Thomas CursusWorkshops
Kurt Thomas Cursus


The workshops will introduce you to a specific repertoire or subject(s) that are within the specific field of expertise of the teacher in question. As you sing and/or conduct, you will get to know new music, musical fields, or work methods, find out more about a style or composer, and learn fascinating background information. You will leave the workshop with a wealth of new ideas for your next rehearsal.

Dates: Monday 8 July through Friday 12 July

Class hours: daily from 10.30 to11.45

Dates and times

  • Monday 8 July, 10.30-11.45: Russian choir music lead by Leenke de Lege
  • Tuesday 9 July, 10.30-11.45: Advanced Rhytm & Pulse lead by Ned McGowan
  • Wednesday 10 July, 10.30-11.45: Repertoire light music lead by Tijs Krammer
  • Thursday 11 July, 10.30-12.30: Choir music from Indonesia lead by Dody Soetanto
  • Friday 12 July, 10.30-12.30: Mass by Stravinsky


In the Reveille you warm up your voice, do conducting exercises and sing Gregorian music.
Teachers: Adrián van der Spoel, Lieke Geraats and various others
Dates: Monday 8 July through Friday 12 July
Times: 12.00-13.00


Fans of Gregorian music can enjoy the schola, where you can take a week-long dive into the wonders of monophonic chant. We will be working on repertoire. There are three scholas each day. The morning schola at 10:30 is dedicated to participating choristers; the afternoon schola at 13:30 and evening schola at 20:30 to the conductors. You can sign up for one of these scholas. Each of the scholas has a maximum of 15 participants. When there are more subscribers, a selection will be made on the first day of the course, for which you will do a brief audition.

Teacher: Adrián van der Spoel
Dates: Monday 8 July through Saturday 13 July
Class times: 10.30-12.45 (morning schola), 13.30-14.45 (afternoon schola), 20.30-21.45 (evening schola), Saturday 14.00-22.00

Kurt Thomas CursusChoristers
Kurt Thomas Cursus

Especially for choristers

When participating as chorister, you will not just enjoy a whole week of singing, but also gain insights and understanding about the communication between conductor and vocalist. This in turn also enriches your own experience of choir singing.

You can participate in the Kurt Thomas Course in various ways:

• In an atelier: throughout the week, you are part of the choir of the atelier of your choice. You can choose between ateliers 4,5,6, and 9 (we expect you to properly prepare the music for the course)
• In a workshop. Each workshop is open to choristers, which offers much singing opportunities. Hours: every day from 10.30 to 11.45.
• As part of the Kurt Thomas Grand Choir. Every late afternoon you will be conducted by the course participants under the supervision of teachers. The repertoire is that of atelier 2: parts from the Requiem by Cherubini and the Mass by Stranvinski. Time: every day from 16.30 to 18.00
• In the schola. Fans of Gregorian chant will like the schola, facilitated by Adrian van der Spoel, Every day from 10.30 to 11.45

Any combination of these various modules is possible. You pay a one-time price of € 150 for the whole week, regardless of how much you want to participate.

Overview of participation options and costs

You have many options for creating your own personal Kurt Thomas Course programme. Below you see a list of all the ways in which you can participate:

1. As actively participating conductor: register for atelier, schola and workshop of your choice. For the reveille and grand choir, no separate registration is required.
The participation fee ranges, depending on the chosen atelier, from € 450 to € 895.
2. As hospitant: register for atelier 1, 2 or 3, schola and a workshop of your choice. For the reveille and grand choir, no separate registration is required. Price: € 200.
3. As chorister: register for one of the ateliers 5, 6, 7, 9, for the grand choir and/or the morning schola OR the workshops. You can participate in one module, or combine multiple modules. This has no effect on the price. Participating in reveille is free. Participation fee: € 150
4. For one day: as conductor or chorister with a day ticket, you can participate in all modules of one day: the morning schola, a workshop, the reveille, an atelier and the grand choir. Participation fee: € 95.


The participation fees have increased compared to 2023. We aspire to offer teachers and instrumentalists a fee according to the fair-practice criteria. Furthermore, we cooperate with a professional orchestra with an elaborate line-up again this year.

Sheet music

The sheet music for all of the modules (ateliers, workshops, schola and the Kurt Thomas grand choir) is made available via a link upon registration (including for day tickets). This link leads to a downloadable PDF or to the publisher where you can order the documents yourself. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the complete (and correct) sheet music during the course days.


The K&W building of HKU Utrechts Conservatorium has vending machines for drinks and snacks. As per the 2023-2024 season, the catering service has returned to HKU as well. We currently exploring with them what catering options they can offer. More information about this will follow soon. Mind that the conservatorium is located in the middle of the city centre: coffee bars, restaurants large and small, and a supermarket are just around the corner or within walking distance.

Registration and deadline - 1 June 2024

The registration form lists all of the modules, ateliers, workshops, and schola. You can select the components that you want to take part in. Don't forget to check the timetables to see if any of your activities may overlap. After your registration and payment, you receive the link to the sheet music. Once we receive your payment, your registration is official.

Sometimes it may be necessary to contact you about the atelier or the level for which you have registered, which needs to fit your knowledge and skills as closely as possible. We try to contact you as quickly as possible, and at least three weeks after your registration. You can always send us an email or ask for advice in advance.