The Vlaams Radio Koor (Flemish Radio Chorus) (= VRK) is a professional chamber choir whose programme includes works from the entire repertoire, with a special emphasis on Flemish and contemporary music. Every season, the choir also commissions works from a number of Flemish composers. Starting in the 2005-2006 season, the Vlaams Radio Koor will be rehoused in the Flagey building.
The VRK was established in 1937 by the Belgian national broadcasting corporation, the INR/NIR. Since 1998, when the VRK was privatised, it has evolved from a studio ensemble into a concert ensemble. The 24 professional singers are led by chief conductor Johan Duijck. Leading international conductors also frequent the VRK: well-known guest conductors such as Kaspars Putnins, Bo Holten, Laszlo Heltay, Paul Hillier and Hervé Niquet enjoy working with the choir.
The VRK performs throughout Flanders. As well as its own ongoing performance cycles in Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent and Leuven, the choir works in close partnership with the Hasselt Cultural Centre, De Maalbeek Cultural Centre in Brussels,’t Getouw Cultural Centre for the Abbey Concerts series, Leuven Cultural Centre and Flagey. A number of ensembles regularly invite the VRK to work with them on their productions, including the Vlaams Radio Orkest, the Beethoven Academie, deFilharmonie, the Belgian National Orchestra and the Flemish Opera.
The VRK has also maintained its unique status as a radio choir. Its close ties with public broadcasting result in numerous studio productions and involvement in events on radio and television. Moreover, virtually all its concert productions are recorded by Klara, the Flemish classical music channel, enabling the choir to build up a unique collection of recordings, including work by Flemish composers.
Since the 2004-2005 season, the VRK has been forming a CD collection with the Glossa label based on the great chamber choir repertoire. With BMG Music Publishing, it is working on the worldwide commercial development of its score collection, while Klara remains its partner for exploring Flemish music. Thus there are plans to record a series of monographs on Flemish composers. The CD ‘A tribute to Vic Nees’ from the In Flanders Fields collection (Phaedra CD) received the Caecilia Prize in 2003 for the best Belgian music production in 2003.
The Vlaams Radio Koor is supported by the Flemish Community, the Belgian National Lottery, the province of Vlaams-Brabant and the city of Leuven.