Dr Hanna Rijken

Protestant Theological University Amsterdam
Rotterdam Conservatory of Music (Codarts)/University of the Arts

Presenter Profile

Hanna, a theologian and musician, is Assistant Professor of Theology & the Arts (Church Music) at the Protestant Theological University in Amsterdam. She also teaches Liturgical Studies and Church Music at the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music (Codarts). Her dissertation, ‘My Soul Doth Magnify: The Appropriation of Anglican Choral Evensong in the Netherlands’, was published by VU University Press in 2020. Hanna’s book, ‘Choral Evensong in de praktijk. Theologisch, liturgisch, muzikaal’, was published in 2022.

She is initiator and artistic leader of the ‘Vocaal Theologen Ensemble’ choir with whom she produced several CDs, TV and radio broadcastings. She is also the musical advisor of the Dutch Church in London. In 2017 Hanna was ordained as a minister with a special task for the project she initiated: ecumenical weekly Choral Evensong & Pub on Thursday shopping evenings in monumental churches in Utrecht.

She studied Theology at Utrecht University (Bachelor) and Tilburg University (Research Master Ritual & Liturgical Studies) and at the Protestant Theological University Amsterdam (Master Gemeentepredikant). She also studied at the Conservatory of Music in Amsterdam Flute (Bachelor and Master), Church Music (Bachelor) and Choral Conducting (Bachelor), and in Tilburg Choral Conducting (Master). In 2013 she was employed as a PhD-Student at the PThU and from January 2019 she was a postdoctoral researcher in an international research project Choral Evensong Experiences (UK & NL). Hanna was a member of the editorial board of the Dutch hymnbook, ‘Liedboek, zingen en bidden in huis en kerk’ (2013). More about Hanna.

Pilgrimage to English Cathedrals

The popular practice of visiting choirs from the Netherlands singing Choral Evensong in England

In the Netherlands, singing Choral Evensong is a popular practice. Many Dutch choirs have devoted themselves to singing the English liturgy. A recent noteworthy trend has emerged, wherein Dutch choirs travel to England to participate as visiting choirs during Choral Evensong in renowned cathedrals, when the host choirs are on recess. New foundations have been established to organise these English cathedral music trips. Rijken’s research is primarily focused on understanding the motivations that drive Dutch singers, especially in a (post) secular era, to engage in the daily practice of singing liturgy in England, which is colloquially referred to as ‘the land of pure delight’. What is the inherent power of the cathedral music tradition in England, and how does it resonate with Dutch choirs? What do singers aim to bring back to their home country following their experiences and participation in Choral Evensong in English cathedrals? And what might understanding their motivations and experiences contribute to studies of cathedral music and religiosity more widely?

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