Coming from a musical family, Jan Kuijken studied cello and piano at the music academy in Asse.
He has already played in a wide variety of projects: Urbanised (Luk Mishalle, Trevor Watts), Fukkeduk, Variations on a Love Supreme (Fabrizio Cassol, Kris Defoort), Alice’s 5 Moons (Nicolas Thys), Daniel Schell & Karo (on the Made to Measure label) and Passages (Kris Defoort). Jan Kuijken has composed two string quartets. He wrote music for three dance performances by Karine Ponties and the Afscheidssymfonie (Farewell Symphony) for the Oxalys Ensemble.
He also wrote the music for the Karin Vyncke Compagnie dance video Tristitia, for which he received the ‘Grand Prix International de Vidéo‐danse’ in Paris in 1992.
In 2000, the Ictus Ensemble commissioned him to write a score for their Silent Movies programme.
Since 2008, Jan Kuijken has regularly worked with the Dutch actress and director Marlies Heuer, with whom he has made three productions (Dubbelconcertino, Szymborska! and Happy Days) and with whom other projects are planned in the next few years.
He has been composer‐in-residence at LOD since 2000. In the 2001‐2002 season, he wrote music for De Overstroming (The Flood), a musical-theatre production based on a play by Peter Handke.
His study of the interrelationship between words and music is expressed in the dramatic concerts he has made with Josse De Pauw; Die Siel van die Mier (2004) and Liefde/zijn handen (Love/His Hands) (2007). The next LOD production was Hoeveel jaren telt november (How Many Years in November), an encounter between installation, poetry, music and video. In April 2011, he created De Gehangenen (The Hanged) with Josse De Pauw. HUIS premiered in 2014. In 2017 Josse De Pauw is working on his trilogy, for part of which Jan Kuijken will be composing the music.