The Groot Omroepkoor, established shortly after the Second World War, is the only choir in the Netherlands that performs the great choral-symphonic repertoire in a professional manner. The choir is closely affiliated with Dutch Public Broadcasting. The majority of its concerts take place in the broadcasting series NTR ZaterdagMatinee, AVROTROS Vrijdagconcert and Het Zondagochtend Concert.
Conductors Groot Omroepkoor:
Benjamin Goodson, principal conductor
Peter Dijkstra, principal guest conductor
Michael Gläser, permanent guest conductor
From romanticism to the present
In the broadcasting series, the Groot Omroepkoor can usually be heard performing repertoire ranging from romantic to contemporary. Contemporary works often concern commissioned works by Dutch composers, like Wagemans, Visman and Vleggaar, and premieres of works by contemporary foreign composers, like MacMillan, Henze and Adams. In addition, 'classical' twentieth-century composers such as Boulez, Stockhausen, Kagel, Ligeti and Messiaen make up an important part of the repertoire, as do contemporary and nineteenth-century operas.
Cooperation at top level
The Netherlands Radio Choir performs with famous orchestras: in the broadcasting series it usually performs with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra under its chief conductor Karina Canellakis, former chief conductor Markus Stenz and guest conductors Jaap van Zweden, Edo de Waart, James Gaffigan and Vladimir Jurowski. There is also a long and highly appreciated collaboration with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Concerts with Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Chailly, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Mariss Jansons were very successful. After a performance of Mahler's Second Symphony, Mariss Jansons personally praised "the exceptionally high level of this choir."
Great musical and vocal flexibility is expected from the Groot Omroepkoor. The chief conductor plays an important role in realising this. He is responsible for the vocal and artistic development of the choir, and sees to it that a diverse repertoire is performed in style and to the wishes of the orchestra conductor.
Colourful CD catalogue
Various CD recordings reflect the versatility of the Groot Omroepkoor. Works by Tristan Keuris, Alphons Diepenbrock, Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner, Edward Elgar, Wolfgang Rihm and Francis Poulenc, among others, have appeared on CD. The recording of James MacMillan's Sun-Dogs for choir a cappella conducted by Celso Antunes was highly praised in professional journals around the world.
Highlights in the history of the Groot Omroepkoor are concerts of great works for choir and orchestra conducted by renowned conductors such as Jean Fournet, Eugen Jochum and Carlo Maria Giulini. One of the historic moments was the Dutch premiere in 1964 of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, conducted by the composer himself and Bernard Haitink.
The Groot Omroepkoor offers young professional singers the opportunity to gain experience as an intern in various productions. See here the current trainee programme and the conditions for participation.
Read more about the experiences during a learning-working path for production leader at the Groot Omroepkoor in the article 'Young people keep our organisation alert' (Sectorplan Cultuur, May 2016). The apprenticeships for young people were created at the time as part of the Culture Sector Plan with the intention of allowing recently graduated KUO students to gain relevant work experience within the sector and to bring them into contact with work outside the sector.
In September 2017 the Netherlands Radio Choir, together with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, was awarded the Concertgebouw Prize for the significant contribution they have made to the artistic profile of the Amsterdam concert hall over an extended period.
On Wednesday 25 November 2020 - in the week of the festive inaugural concert of Benjamin Goodson as chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Broadcasting Choir - the Netherlands Radio Broadcasting Choir received the municipal pin of Hilversum from mayor Pieter Broertjes. The municipal pin is awarded in special cases as a token of gratitude to inhabitants or organisations that have rendered great service to Hilversum.
"The Groot Omroepkoor is special and unique. It is the only Dutch professional choir for the large symphonic repertoire. It is also still closely affiliated with Dutch Public Broadcasting. We are proud of our professional Hilversum choir. I think it is special and beautiful that on behalf of the college I may award the Groot Omroepkoor with the municipal pin", says mayor Broertjes.