In the course of more than 30 years since it was founded, the Collegium Vocale of Ghent (or Gent) (= CVG) has established a truly worldwide reputation in the field of classical music. This is clearly no mere chance occurence but is the fruit of years of consistent and methodical effort and artistic vision.
Founded in 1970 at the initiative of Philippe Herreweghe, this group of singers was the first in the 1970’s to extend the new principles of style for the performance of baroque music to vocal music. Instrumentalists had allready been searching for a number of years for a performing style more in the line with the historical context. To this end, they referred back to original source material, which they subjected to detailed study, and made use of authentic period instruments.
Consequently, it is not surprising that musicians such as Gustav Leonhardt, Ton Koopman and Nikolaus Harnoncourt soon expressed an interest in the parallel approach which the Flemish group had adopted in the field of vocal music. This resulted in an intense cooperation, both on stage and in recordings. Philippe Herreweghe has allways been conscious of the value of such a cooperation and because of that the group still works regularly with different conductors (Sigiswald Kuijken, Paul Van Nevel, René Jacobs…) and different orchestras such as La Petite Bande, the Concertgebouw Orchestra or the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
The repertoire of Collegium Vocale can not be trapped within one style period. The ensemble made an inportant contribution concerning the rediscovery of polyphonic renaissance music. Regularly the classical and romantic repertoire is programmed, and every now and then the ensemble performes contemporary music. However the ensemble is and remains most known for its outstanding performances of German Baroque music, in particular the music of J.S. Bach.
Throughout the years Collegium Vocale has made a wide collection of recordings. A capella, together with the Orchestre des Champs Elysées, the choir of La Chapelle Royale from Paris or with other vocal and instrumental ensembles, more than sixty recordings were realized for the labels Harmonia Mundi France, Virgin Classics, Accent, Ricercar and Telefunken. Apart from that Collegium Vocale is a regular guest at all major music festivals throughout Europe. The ensemble visited the USA, South America and Israel, and and made a tour of Japan in 1998.
Since 1993 the Collegium Vocale was appointed "Cultural Ambassador of Flanders" by the Flemish Government. The ensemble is also supported by the Province of East Flanders.