Flemish Radio Choir

Flemish Radio Choir

Radio Choir

• Founded 1937


The Flemish Radio Choir (Flemish: Vlaams Radio Koor) has maintained its function as a regional radio choir while gaining international renown in repertory beyond its core performances of Flemish and contemporary music. The choir was founded in 1937 by NIR, Belgium's national broadcaster. The 24-member group became independent of its radio parent in 1998 but has continued to cultivate ties with public broadcasting, participating in events on Belgian radio and television. For much of its existence it has had its headquarters in the Art Deco Flagey Building, also known as the Maison de la Radio, in Elsene in suburban Brussels. The choir's chief conductor is Johan Duijck.

The choir has gained wider exposure in Belgium itself through appearances in a variety of venues around Flanders, both conventional (the Maalbeek Cultural Center in Brussels and the cultural center 30CC in Leuven) and more unusual (the Hospital Museum in Bruges). The Flemish Radio Choir has also joined the Flemish Radio Orchestra, the Beethoven Academy, deFilharmonie, Prima La Musica, the Belgian National Orchestra, and the Flemish Opera in live performances of vocal works.

Still broader has been the exposure gained by the choir's recordings, many of them executed under the baton of frequent guest conductor Hervé Niquet. (The choir has also attracted other top-rank guest conductors from various countries, including Kaspars Putniņš, Bo Holten, László Heltay, and Paul Hillier.) Most of the choir's recordings have appeared on Spain's Glossa label or its specialist imprint Ediciones Singulares, although its debut, an album of music by André Laporte, was issued by Belgium's Fuga Libera, and an album of Holten's music appeared on Dacapo. The repertory recorded by the choir extends from the Baroque to the present day and has mainly been from regions other than Flanders. The Ediciones Singulares recordings have particularly focused on underexposed repertory such as works by the French composer Félicien David. In 2018 the choir issued a collection of cantatas and other sacred music by Charles Gounod on Ediciones Singulares.

The choir is funded in part by Belgium's national lottery.