For over 80 years (since 1937), students from Nijmegen have enjoyed singing all kinds of classical works, since 1974 under the name Nijmeegs Studentenkoor Alphons Diepenbrock. On average the NSKAD gives a large concert twice a year. It sings a variety of works, from modern experiments to classical masterpieces. Sometimes overwhelmingly with an orchestra, sometimes intimately a capella. Besides our own major concerts, the NSKAD also gives a number of smaller performances every year, ranging from singing Christmas carols to enlivening various activities in and around Nijmegen with our music. Since September 2019 the NSKAD is under the inspiring leadership of Gilles Michels.
Besides musicality, we find social activities very important. In the first place, this means that every week after the rehearsals we have a drink at café De Kluizenaar to talk (about music). Besides that, the choir has a rich club life with many committees that organise activities, write a choir magazine and take care of the trips abroad. Students, also from outside Nijmegen, are always welcome to come and sing with our choir! Feel free to drop by during our Tuesday night rehearsals and you can find more information here. We hope to see you at one of our concerts or rehearsals!
In 1937 the association ‘Alphons Diepenbrock’ was founded in Nijmegen, consisting of a choir and an orchestra. The society was named after the Dutch composer Alphons Diepenbrock. The first conductor was Max Prick van Wely. During the Second World War the association disappeared. After the war, the Studenten Muziekvereniging Dr. Alphons Diepenbrock was founded.
In 1952 the orchestra separated and continued as the Nijmeegs Studentenorkest Collegium Musicum Carolinum (CMC). From then on the choir called itself the Nijmeegs Gemengd Studentenkoor “Dr Alphons Diepenbrock”. Both choir and orchestra were conducted by Father Ben Kahmann. In 1963 the name “Gemengd” was dropped from the choir’s name; in 1969 the title “Dr.” was dropped too.
In April 1956, the choir performed the Dutch premiere of The Fairy-Queen by Henry Purcell, in collaboration with student orchestra Collegium Musicum Carolinum and classical dance group Les Précieuses Ridicules. In 1964 the Nijmegen student choir could be heard several times in the KRO radio programme U hebt voorrang (You have priority). In 1966 the choir took part in a radio recording by the AVRO, from which a self-released LP was later released. On this record the piece Geldeloos, je doet me pijn (Moneyless, you hurt me) by Joop Voorn, which was dedicated to the NSKAD, was performed. At the sixth lustrum in 1967 the Quattuor Antiphonae Finales by Anton van Deursen, dedicated to choir and conductor Kahmann, was premiered.
On 2 September 1967 the Nijmeegs Studentenkoor “Dr. Alphons Diepenbrock”, conducted by Father Kahmann, enlivened the baptismal ceremony of Prince Willem-Alexander. At the seventh lustrum in 1972 the world premiere of Den Spieghel der Salicheit by Elckerlyck student Kahmann on a text by Guus Pikkemaat was performed. At the celebration of the tenth lustrum of the Catholic University of Nijmegen in 1974, the choir took part in the performance of the occasional work Il Principe by Louis Andriessen.
In 1981, the choir performed Kortsluiting (Short circuit), an opera by Hans Glas on poems by Paul van Ostaijen, written especially for the NSKAD. In June 1997, on the occasion of the lustrum, the work Denkend aan Holland (Thinking of Holland) by the Nijmegen composer Theo Hoek was performed in collaboration with the Nijmegen Student Orchestra CMC. At the anniversary concert in June 2007, the NSKAD performed the Dutch premiere of the Missa Solemnis in E by Luigi Cherubini in Concertgebouw de Vereeniging.
Since 2000 the choir has its own magazine entitled Bianca Castafiore, which appears twice a year.
The choir has had a total of ten conductors, including Ben Kahmann (1953-1974), Gijs Leenaars (2001-2006), Hans de Wilde (until 2016) and Fiona Ellis (2016 to 2019). From 2019 until today, Gilles Michels has been the conductor of the NSKAD.
In 2012, the choir celebrated its 75th anniversary. This 15th lustrum year opened with a concert in Concertgebouw de Vereeniging, where Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and Igor Stravinsky’s Mass were performed. Furthermore, Il Principe by Louis Andriessen was performed, exactly 37,5 years after the previous performance (in 2012 half of the Nijmeegs Studentenkoor’s existence).
In May and June 2012, the choir also gave concerts in the Netherlands and Denmark in exchange with the Copenhagen student orchestra SymfUni, performing Dvorak’s Te Deum and Elverskud by Danish composer Niels Gade. In the autumn of 2012, a scratch day was organised, during which a concert to celebrate the anniversary was rehearsed in collaboration with both members and former members, during which Puccini’s Messa di gloria was sung.