Klaas-Jan got his first piano lessons when he was seven years old, and a few years later he also received organ tuition. He performed in a lot of concerts, often accompanying choirs and soloists, and he played for the Dutch radio.
At the age of eight, Klaas-Jan started to sing as a boy soprano in the Kampen Boys Choir (NL) which was led by Bouwe Dijkstra. In 2007 he sang the role of ‘Dritte Knabe’ in Mozart’s Magic Flute in a staged production in Amsterdam. It was around this time that Klaas-Jan got interested in conducting, and he received his first conducting lessons in the boys choir. A few years later he conducted the gentlemen of the boys choir in perfomances with a capella close harmony repertoire.
After finishing secondary school, Klaas-Jan got accepted to study an undergraduate in the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. He studied conducting with Jos van Veldhoven, Jos Vermunt, Alex Schillings and Kenneth Montgomery. In the same institute he studied singing with Lenie van den Heuvel, piano with Katy Satur and score playing with Richard Ram. In June 2014 Klaas-Jan graduated after an exciting performance of Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms with chorus and orchestra.
Klaas-Jan conducted several choirs in the Netherlands, and performed pieces like the Magnificat by CPE Bach, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, and the Petite messe solennelle by Rossini.
In July 2014 Klaas-Jan finished his postgraduate, an MA Choral Conducting in the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where he studied under the tuition of Neil Ferris and Sarah Tenant-Flowers. He participated in masterclasses by visiting teachers Peter Hanke, David Lawrence, Paul Brough and James Burton. During his time in Cardiff, Klaas-Jan was a singer in the BBC National Chorus of Wales as well as a choral scholar in Llandaff Cathedral.
In June 2015 Klaas-Jan was a participant on the Orkney Conducting Course, where he was taught by Sian Edwards. The course included orchestral conducting lessons, and the opportunity to conduct the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
For this course Klaas-Jan was awarded a bursary from the Willem Mengelberg Foundation which is part of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
In september 2015 Klaas-Jan was a member of the BBC Proms Youth Choir, singing Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with Sir Simon Rattle and the Vienna Philharmonic in Birmingham, London and Lucerne.
In the season 2015-2016 Klaas-Jan took part in the Young Artist’s Programme at Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam. He accompanied choir rehearsals for Handel’s Ariodante production and masterclasses with Rosemary Joshua, Sandrine Piau and Sarah Connolly. He was participant in a masterclass for opera repetiteurs, during which he was taught by repetiteurs from Dutch National Opera, Royal Opera House and Staatsoper Berlin.
He was assistant conductor for the talent production of Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto, assisting conductor Benjamin Bayl with the Netherlands Youth Orchestra.
In spring 2016 he was repetiteur at Opera Zuid (Maastricht, NL) for their production of Puccini’s La Bohème.
In the season 2016-17 he worked as assistant-chorus master at the chorus of Dutch National Opera on ‘Jephtha’ by Handel and ‘Parsifal’ by Wagner, and as chorus master on Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He worked as assistant conductor and chorus master at Opera Zuid in Maastricht for their production of ‘Il barbiere di Siviglia’ by Rossini.
For the season 2017-2018 Klaas-Jan was appointed assistant chorus master at Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam. In the spring of 2018 Klaas-Jan worked as chorus master and assistant conductor for ‘Un ballo in maschera’ by Verdi. He also conducted one performance at the Vrijthof theatre in Maastricht.
In the summer for 2018 he worked as assistant chorus master at the Bayreuther Festspiele. He worked on the productions of Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Parsifal, Tristan & Isolde and Der fliegende Holländer.
During the season 2018-2019 Klaas-Jan worked as a coach for the singers of the Dutch National Opera Studio, preparing all the singers for their roles in of Il matrimonio secreto by Cimarosa. In June 2019 he was assistant conductor for this production.
In the autumn of 2018 Klaas-Jan was assistant conductor at Opera Zuid for A quiet place by Bernstein, a successful production that was acclaimed as Opera of the Year by the Dutch Place de l’opera.
In april 2019 he made his debut as guest chorus master with The Netherlands Radio Chorus for a concert performance of Verdi’s Nabucco. He immediately was invited back for Rossini’s Semiramide in January 2020.
In June 2019 Klaas-Jan conducted several performances of Fantasio by Jacques Offenbach with Opera Zuid and Philharmonie Zuidnederland.
In the Summer of 2019 he worked at the Bayreuth Festival for the second season, including the new production of Tannhäuser.