top of page

Frank Kouwenhoven (高文厚, b. 21 May 1956 in The Hague) is a music researcher from Leiden, The Netherlands. He studied English Language and Literature at the University of Utrecht and initially worked as a journalist and a researcher in the fields of Western music, literature and science before engaging on Chinese traditional music research from 1986 onwards. 


He teaches Chinese music as a Lecturer at the University of Leiden, is Director of CHIME, The European Foundation for Chinese Music Research, main editor of the CHIME Journal, and author of numerous publications on Chinese music. He has written extensively on Chinese folk songs (on the basis of annual fieldwork in China from 1986 until the present), and on Chinese contemporary (composed) music. 


Much of his work has evolved in close cooperation with his partner, the Dutch sinologist Antoinet Schimmelpenninck (1962-2012). Kouwenhoven is also active as a film maker, cd-producer, organizer of exhibitions and international conferences on Chinese music, and as an archivist. He initiated the CHIME Archive, a collection of 4,000 books, and 10,000 hours of sound recordings and films, which will find its permanent home at the new Asian Library of the Sinologisches Seminar at Heidelberg University in Germany from 2018 onwards. 


At the CHIME office in Leiden, Kouwenhoven coordinates the annual international meetings of CHIME, edits the CHIME website and journal and supervises the on-going activities of the CHIME archive. He organizes regular workshops in cooperation with Chinese musicians, and teaches annual courses on Chinese music at the Sinological Institute in Leiden. For more on CHIME see


Kouwenhoven has written contributions for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and has guest-lectured at numerous universities and music conservatories in the world (including Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Fuzhou, La Sapienza in Rome, Heidelberg, Venice, Prague, Leuven, Pittsburgh, Oxford, Londen, Hannover, Brussel, Gent, Amsterdam). 


He was active during many years as a Board Member of The European Seminar in Ethnomusicology (ESEM), the Bake Society for Ethno-musicology and the Performing Arts Worldwide (The Netherlands) and European Meetings in Ethnomusicology. He has acted as artistic advisor for numerous major cultural festivals, including the Amsterdam China festival (2005), the Triënnale Köln (2007), the China Festival Carnegie Hall (2010), the Swiss Festival Culturescapes (2010) and Europalia China in Belgium (2009-2010). 



bottom of page