Archive museum choir


Ode an die Freude

We sing Ode an die Freude here in the exhibition Face to face with Gustav Klimt - with Bas van Beek. A spectacular part of the exhibition is a perfect full-size copy of Klimt's famous Beethoven Frieze, which was recently commissioned by the Belvedere Museum in Vienna and has its international first in Eye to Face with Gustav Klimt. The 34 meter long, symbolist work from 1902 depicts the suffering of the weak and his desire for happiness, captured in Klimt's lavish handwriting.
Van Beek turns it into a total experience in which he combines Klimt's work with furniture and giant tiles of his hand. He bases his designs on those of artists, architects and designers who were influenced by Klimt and the idea of ​​the Gesamtkunstwerk.
Ode an die Freude
is a poem by Friedrich Schiller, set by Ludwig von Beethoven in the choral finale of his Ninth Symphony.
Our a cappella version was edited for us by Mark van Platen.


Navine G. Kahn-Dossos

Hold on


Hold On by Tom Waits is performed by us in No Such Organisation, a solo presentation by artist Navine G. Khan-Dossos, part of Positions #6 (Van Abbemuseum, 2020-2021). The song was chosen by someone who is currently being held in Saudi Arabia.

The text reflects the need to stand firm in uncertain times, given the high number of arrests of human rights activists, lawyers, political parties, religious scholars, bloggers, individual protesters, as well as long-standing government supporters who have expressed only mild and partial criticism of government policies.

Our performance took place on the initiative of the artist. On her site she writes about us and the song we sing.

Echo Chamber

Musical Tour, 2017

Navine Kahn-Dossos' mural Echo Chamber (2017) is a 'portrait' of the 'white widow', a British terrorist converted to Islam. The Arabic motifs show a transition in shape and color from soft to hard, from feminine to masculine. And turn gray and pink into menacing and aggressive black and red. In this work, the Van Abbe­museum Choir sings Anthem for the Prophet's Birthday, one of the British Muslim songs, variations on old English songs. Kahn-Dossos writes on her site about our performance and about the back­ground of the song we sang.


Sound Manifestations

Van Abbemuseum Choir invites...

After having performed fifteen Singing Manifestations between 2016 and 2019 with guest choirs and guest musicians and the exhibition Who Owns the Street? in 'the tower' of the new building was replaced for the installation Woensel Supertoll! by Tijs Rooijakkers, it was also time for us to do something new.

Rapper Fresku and residents of Woensel wrote on the slats of which Supertoll! is built their motives and ambitions. The art project thus connected hundreds of Eindhoven residents and literally set them in motion.

Willy de Rooij got the idea to realize such a movement in music. She imagined concerts in which visitors are invited to come to a harmony of sound with the choir in an intuitive and spontaneous way and thus to create togetherness. She asked Hella Hertogs, who had experience organizing musical projects, to help the choir. Hella trained us during rehearsals together with soprano Rianne Wilbers. And together we performed the programs of the three Sound Manifestations that were to follow.

Hella Hertogs

In addition to her artistry as a poet, composer, painter and singer, Hella Hertogs works as a (singing) coach and teacher at schools, institutions and companies and she develops art and music projects.

Rianne Wilbers

Soprano Rianne Wilbers, who graduated cum laude in 2016, enjoys taking on challenges and attracting people. She is widely praised for her artistic vision, bravado and perseverance.


Cindy Moorman

Cindy Moorman, Tijdelijk verdwijnen (2010)
De Garage, Rotterdam

The choir has performed several times in performances by artist Cindy Moorman. We did this in Gebouw WG, Amsterdam (2016), in Gallery Garage, Rotterdam (2017) and as part of Land Art Live - Pier+Horizon at Kraggenburg in the Noordoostpolder (2017). There was royal interest in her performance on December 7, 2018 in Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar.
The last time she asked us, was for her the We  on January 23, 2020 in Paradiso, Amsterdam.

Cindy Moorman, the We (2020)
Paradiso, Amsterdam

Cindy Moorman, de Constructies (2017)


3 x 3

After we proudly presented five compositions, written especially for the Van Abbemuseum Choir, at our anniversary concert in 2018, we were allowed to add three new works to this collection on September 21, 2019. Again the Van Abbemuseum commissioned these works, so that they also belong to the museum's collection.

With Jaw with Vocalising, Yael Davids wrote an investigation into singing, guided by the teachings of Moshé Feldenkrais. The jaw makes a prescribed movement while singing, whereby the concentration of the singers must be on the movement and not on the sound.
Jacques van Erven, together with John Thomas, adapted part of William Blake's poem Auguries of Innocense into the four-part Grain of Sand.
Racism plays an important role in Patricia Kaersenhout's work. She based the text of her song Promises from another world on a fantasy she had in her youth to arm herself against this. The music is by her daughter Bongi Breukers.


Van Abbe on tour

From November 4, 2018 to May 12, 2019, the Van Abbemuseum was on tour at seven locations of Vitalis residential care institutions for seniors. A total of 15 master­pieces from the museum's collection, of which exact replicas had been made (including work by Picasso, Mondrian, Van Doesburg, Warhol, Kandinsky and Lissitzky), form a traveling exhibition during this period. At each location, a regular part of the festive closing day was a performance by the Van Abbemuseum Choir, with songs that matched the traveling works.


5 x 5 x 5

On Sunday, March 25, 2018, the Van Abbe­museum Choir celebrated its own party. Our choir existed for 5 years.
To celebrate this, the Van Abbe­museum commissioned five artists to write a composition especially for us. We are proud that these compositions are now part of the museum's collection.

Hans de Wit arranged with John Thomas the song Poem with lyrics by Paul van Ostaijen for 4-part choir.
Iris Kensmil made a song compilation with composer Rocco Brunori. The form of a compilation is essential to Kensmill to link up with her visual work, in which she evokes and celebrates history through visual quotes. She switched a number of more and less well-known melodies and lyrics from the black art movement to Darker than blue, a composition for five voices and body percussion.
For the Constructions (the Objects) by Cindy Moorman, the 21 choir members were each allowed to come up with a sound. In the exciting and surprising performance, in the form of 'I'm going on vacation and I'm taking with me ...', each choir member had to sing his or her tone at exactly the right moments.
Inspired by Brexit, Laure Prouvost created the swinging composition UKstaywithusEU with composer Frederic Macpherson.
The Russian Gluklya wrote an avant-garde performance entitled Manifesto for the utopian union of the unemployed people.


Performance City Hall Eindhoven

At the request of the Municipality of Eindhoven, we have performed several times in the town hall. The last time was on December 18, 2017 at the festive gathering of 500 status holders who had signed their participation statement. The songs we sang for them derived from Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran and Noord-Brabant, among others. It was an emotional and heart-warming performance, where the visitors spontaneously sang the songs in their own language with us.


Van Abbe and De Stijl


Theo van Doesburg is central to the Van Abbe and De Stijl exhibition. De Stijl operated at the interface of art, architecture, design and literature. The Van Abbemuseum Choir livens the opening of the exhibition up with a number of sound poems by I.K. Bonset (Van Doesburg), Kurt Schwitters, Till Brugman and Antony Kok.



On February 15, 2017, the Code Cultural Diversity (CCD) Award 2017 was presented in the Melkweg in Amsterdam. The jury had placed the Van Abbemuseum on a shortlist of five nominees. The presentation with images of various projects of the museum, such as guided tours for the blind and deaf, was supported by a performance by the Van Abbemuseum Choir, Het Nederlands Gebarenkoor and several Syrian musicians. The museum received an honorable award.


John Cage

Musical Tour

During the Musical Tour on February 23, 2017, 4'33 composed by John Cage in 1952 was performed by us for the first time. Cage called it Silent piece and shows that absolute silence does not exist. The performance took place standing on the artwork Twenty Fifth Steel Cardinal by Carl André from 1974. The works of composer and visual artist coincide perfectly.


Singing Manifestations

Van Abbemuseum Choir invites...

Willy de Rooij thought that the choir was ready for a new challenge and with the opening of the exhibition Who owns the street?  in 'the tower' of the museum's new building, she saw an opportunity to do so.
The four floors of the tower showed four different visions on the use of the street as a public space. In the basement, the Refugee Republic project provided insight into daily life in a refugee camp. On the first floor, under the title Do you hear the people sing? one could see a contribution about public space as a place for protest. And at the very top of the tower, a space was reserved for smaller, changing project presentations about public space in Eindhoven.

 Under the title Van Abbemuseum Choir invites... Willy devised a series of Singing Manifestations, for which she invited fellow choirs from the Eindhoven region to perform on the top floor and musicians with refugee status in the basement. We ourselves sang protest and street songs from different cultures and periods every concert on the first floor. In the three years that the exhibition was on view in the museum, from 2016 to 2019, we gave fifteen Singing Manifestations with as many guest choirs and even more guest musicians.

 The first Singing Manifestation, entitled The street, a form of living together, took place on Thursday evening June 30, 2016. The Weerts Kamer­koor sang songs by Jannequin and an arrangement by Lennon / McCartney. In the basement, Ahmet & Nart played a mix of Syrian and Western music.
The following choirs and musicians would contribute to the next Singing Manifestations:

SM 2
Strijps Kamerkoor
AMN Band

SM 3
Gestels Vocaal Ensemble
Nawras Altaky & Paul

SM 4
Eindhovens Kamerkoor
Nawras Altaky & Ahmad Ashram

SM 5
Vrouwen Vocaal Ensemble Sirena
Ehsan Kanani

SM 6
Jaber Fayad

SM 7
Zangroep ’t Slotakkoord
Ehsan Kanani & Farzam Karbasi

SM 8
Studentenkoor Vokollage
Ehsan Omari

SM 9
Kamerkoor Allegrezza
Nawras Altaky & Ahmad Ashram

SM 10
Zangroep Otherwise
Mostafa & Mohammad & Hamid (Spot light)

SM 11
Wilhelmina Mannenkoor
Mercan & Bülent Kocuroglu

SM 12
Veldhovens Kamerkoor
Sozdar Ibrahim

SM 13
Mohamad & Hamed & Ahmad

SM 14
Southern Comfort Barber Gals
Trio Nur (Hamed Alshabee, Amer Shanati, Karim Darwish)

SM 15
Southern Comfort Barber Mates
Gharib & Friends


80 years van abbe

Since 2014, guided tours have been given in the museum for special guests: blind or partially sighted, deaf or hard of hearing visitors, visitors with Alzheimer's or aphasia, etc. We came up with the idea to ask Het Nederlands Gebarenkoor to perform with us. This choir was founded in 2011 by the Plotsdoven Foundation and consists of singers without a voice, who use gesture, supplemented with elements from Dutch Sign Language, to signify music in choir.

During the celebration of 80 years Van Abbe in April 2016, we performed together for the first time at the end of this festive week. That was very special for us. But for them too, it was the first time they worked with other performers.
Since then, we have performed together on several special guest tours. But also, for example, during the symposium that the Van Abbemuseum organized at the end of 2016 on how to make the museum more accessible to people with disabilities.


The Afghanistan Project


Shafiq Kakar, one of the museum's security guards and curator of the Afghan Art Awards, asked us to sing some Afghan songs at the opening of his exhibition in the Van Abbemuseum. We chose two anthems from the two language groups Pashto and Dari. The enthusiastic singing along from the Afghan guests was heartwarming.


The Van Abbemuseum Choir

Two works of art that were on display in the museum have been at the cradle of the Van Abbemuseum Choir.
In 2009-11, the Play Van Abbe collection presentation featured the Lied van de zaalwachters (Song of the ushers) of the Russian artists' collective Chto Delat. It is a song of praise to the volunteers of the museum and an appeal to the residents of Eindhoven not to ignore the museum.
In 2012-13 the exhibition Guppy 13 vs Ocean Wave by Ahmet Ögüt was on view, an exhibition about the last works of the Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader. Ader had attempted to cross the Atlantic Ocean with a Guppy 13, one of the smallest sailboats in the world. A journey from which he would not return. Ögüt made a film in which a Guppy 13 sails backwards through the screen with constantly changing persons on board, in the background the song A Life On The Ocean Wave is played backwards. A framed score of the song hung on the wall.

After seeing these works, Willy de Rooij got the idea to set up a choir of volunteers in the museum, with the main objective of celebrating the works of art in the museum. After the museum had agreed, provided her with a rehearsal room and she gathered a dozen of enthusiastic choir members around her, she started early 2013 rehearsing. A Life On The Ocean Wave became the first song in the repertoire of the Van Abbemuseum Choir. During the opening of the new collection presentation The collection now on November 2, 2013, the choir performed it for the first time, along with a number of other songs. From that moment onward, the Van Abbemuseum not only had a collection and a building, but also its own choir.