Artistic direction

Making music and conducting both amateur and professional musicians is what I live for. In doing so I try to attain the highest possible quality, and always ask ‘my’ singers and myself to take up fresh challenges.

Experience has taught me that my enthusiasm for music, my professionalism, humour and empathy ensure that many singers and instrumentalists like to cooperate with me.


Ad van Unen started his musical career at the age of seven as a boy soprano in the renowned Sacramentskoor in Breda. He studied at the Teachers Training College Breda and the Brabant Academy of Music (School Music) in Tilburg, and he passed the state exam on the organ.

For nearly 40 years he worked as a music teacher in Delft, where he conducted the school choir and orchestra for 30 years. For 25 years Ad van Unen was the conductor of the Cantabile Choir Breda, winner of the Dutch Choir Festival 2010. He is co-conductor of the concert class of the Choir Academy Breda and is frequently active as a rehearsal director for the Leiderdorp Chamber Orchestra.

Ad is co-founder and artistic leader of the Personare Foundation and project group Qui Vive.


He conducted Dutch premieres of works by, among others, Richard Blackford, Richard Einhorn, Daan Manneke and Mikis Theodorakis. With above-mentioned musical ensembles concert trips were made to Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Croatia. Greece and China.

A few years ago, Ad started Studium55, a workshop for music and education, located in Effen.

At the start of 2010 he was awarded a knighthood in the order of Orange Nassau.


‘What a beautiful evening you have achieved! Great compliments for the whole ensemble!’  Daan Manneke, composer


‘Dear Ad, thank you very much for your beautiful, ‘passionate’ performances! To many more, I hope!!’ Richard Einhorn, composer


‘Ad is an exceptionally impassioned conductor. His enthusiasm, expertise, kindness and integrity in making music have made sure that I have been more than pleased to work with him for twenty years’ Wendy Roobol, soprano


‘Ad exudes an enormous amount of positive energy. Together with his perseverance and expertise he achieves the impossible.’ Emmy Storms, violinist


‘Ad is always open to new ideas and views. He works in a pleasant, invariably friendly way, but always towards a goal. A drive to perform, but never in overdrive.’  

Erik Klaassens, chair of the Leiderdorp Chamber Orchestra


‘Working together with you is always a great pleasure, making music with you great happiness’ Maria Kuijpers – van Leeuwen, chair of Qui Vive and Personare