No purer sound than the human voice, and no vocal ensemble whose sound has to be more precisely measured and balanced than a chamber choir. The Nederlands Kamerkoor knows a thing or two about that, having been a top-class chamber choir for decades. Their field of activity encompasses the entire chamber choir repertoire, from medieval to contemporary and from a cappella to accompanied. The choir is an independent organisation, not attached to an opera or broadcasting company. As well as putting on its own concert series in a number of Dutch cities, the choir regularly collaborates with ensembles such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble and the Orchestra of the 18th Century.
How multifaceted the Nederlands Kamerkoor is these days is demonstrated not only by the programmes in its own subscription series, but also by its many collaborative projects and premieres of works it has commissioned. Among the composers who have written for the choir are Sir John Tavener, Giya Kancheli, Harrison Birtwistle, Mauricio Kagel, Karin Rehnqvist and Edith Canat de Chizy, as well as Dutch composers including Jan Vriend, Elmer Schönberger, Micha Hamel and Joost Kleppe. In many of the works, singers from the choir are given solo roles, proving again and again the enormous versatility of the individual choir members. Permanent guest conductor Peter Dijkstra and choirmaster Klaas Stok play a significant part in the preparation and performance of the very demanding repertoire in which the choir is well versed.
The Nederlands Kamerkoor has released some seventy-five CDs, several of which have been awarded an Edison or a Diapason d’Or. In recent seasons, tours have taken the ensemble to countries such as France, the United States, Canada, Spain and Poland. With unusual programmatic formulas, such as a semi-staged evening of Burt Bacharach songs arranged for chamber choir, or a programme of psalms in the synagogue of the Liberal Jewish Community of Amsterdam, the choir continues its process of rejuvenation. To watch over this process, and over the preservation of the precious chamber choir culture so characteristic of the NKK, the 2011-2012 season sees the arrival of a new chief conductor: the youthful Risto Joost from Estonia.