From a cappella choral music to pieces with symphony orchestra, and from romantic to contemporary: with this broad repertoire, the Groot Omroepkoor is at home in all markets. As a broadcasting choir, the ensemble can also be heard in abundance in the concert series on NPO Classical. In September 2017, together with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the choir received the Concertgebouw Prize for the important contribution they have made over a long period to the artistic profile of the Amsterdam concert hall.
With over 60 members, the Groot Omroepkoor (GOK) is the only professional choir of this size in the Netherlands. Most of the GOK's concerts are part of the broadcasting series AVROTROS Vrijdagconcert, NTR ZaterdagMatinee and Het Zondagochtend Concert. The choir can mainly be heard together with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in operas, oratorios and cantatas, but also has a capella choir music on the music stand. The many commissioned works and premieres that are part of the GOK's repertoire are particularly special, such as music by Mathilde Wantenaar, Alfred Momotenko-Levitsky and Bart Visman.
The history of the Netherlands Radio Choir
After the Second World War the Netherlands Radio Broadcasting Commission was commissioned to put together new ensembles that would be available to all broadcasters. Thus was born the Groot Omroepkoor in 1945. Since then the choir has played an indispensable role in Dutch musical life. The GOK has performed premieres of great twentieth-century composers such as Boulez, Ligeti and Messiaen. Historic was the Dutch premiere of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem in 1964, conducted by the composer himself and Bernard Haitink.
Conductors of the Groot Omroepkoor
All chief conductors cherish fond memories of their time with the Great Broadcasting Choir. The first chief conductor was Kenneth Montgomery. After him came Robin Gritton, Martin Wright, Simon Halsey, Celso Antunes and Gijs Leenaars. They were succeeded by Klaas Stok (choirmaster) and Benjamin Goodson. Peter Dijkstra joined as the first guest conductor in September 2018, and Michael Gläser was permanent guest conductor since 2010.
From September 1, 2020, Benjamin Goodson will be chief conductor of the Groot Omroepkoor. After he conducted Frederick Delius' opera A village Romeo and Juliet at the NTR Saturday Matinee in December 2018, many choir members expressed a desire to appoint him principal conductor. "From our first project together, I felt a genuine connection to this amazing ensemble, a jewel in the European classical landscape," Goodson said after becoming chief conductor. "For me, the chorus is defined by the intensity of its sound - by its humanity."