Catharina van Rennes

Catharina van Rennes
(b. Utrecht, Aug 2, 1858; d. Amsterdam, Nov 23, 1940)

Van Rennes studied theory, singing and composition with Richard Hol. After completing her vocal studies with John Messchaert, she began her career as a soloist, appearing in operas and oratorios. In 1887 she founded her own music school in Utrecht, teaching singing, music theory and Dalcroze rhythmic gymnastics. Her accomplishments in music life in the Netherlands were quite influential during her lifetime and until 1960s.


Her repertoire consists of songs, choir pieces and cantatas, mostly written for children’s voices and female voices. These are the accomplishments which stands out “For the coronation of Queen Wilhelmina in 1898 she conducted her Oranje-Nassau-Cantateop.33,
with a choir of 1800 children; she also conducted a large chorus at the opening of the fourth international congress of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in 1908

The principal publishers are: J. van Rennes, J.A.H. Wagenaar, G. Alsbach, Willems-Fonds, Breitkopf und Härtel. The list of her works can be found in the book of Zes vrouwelijke componisten (Six female composers).



Drei Quartette für Frauenstimmen mit Klavierbegleitung, Op. 24 (1892)

Historical recording of Wiegenliedje
Jo Vincent, soprano
Catharina van Rennes, piano

Historical recording of Madonnakindje
Jo Vincent, soprano
Betsie Rijkens-Culp, piano

Further reading:
Marjan Berk ‘Madonnakindje : over het leven van Catharina van Rennes 1858-1940’
(Uitgeverij Atlas Contact in 2015).

N. van der Elst: ‘Catharina van Rennes’, Zes vrouwelijke componisten, ed. H.Metzelaar (Zutphen, 1991), 53–84