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Danish ­National ­Vocal Ensemble

A choir with many facets

The Danish National Vocal Ensemble is an elite professional chamber choir, acclaimed internationally both for its virtuoso choral technique and the beauty of its transparent Nordic sound. Each of its 18 members functions both as a singer in the full ensemble and as an individual soloist in their own right.

The performances of the Danish National Vocal Ensemble can lead their audiences through the whole span of the choral repertoire – from the Renaissance polyphony of five centuries ago, through the classics of the Romantic era, to the brand new scores of our own time: the choir has premiered and commissioned works by many of the leading Danish and Euro­pean composers of today.

Each season the Danish National Vocal Ensemble presents a series of a cappella concerts in Copenhagen and across Denmark and is frequently invited to perform abroad. In addition, the choir regularly performs accompanied repertoire, joining forces with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Other collaborations have included performances with the period-instrument Concerto Copenhagen, with contemporary music groups such as The Nash Ensemble and Bang on a Can All-Stars and with ensembles from across Europe.

The Danish National Vocal Ensemble has released a substantial catalogue of outstanding and award-winning CDs. In 2015 their recording of Olivier Messiaen’s virtuosic Cinq Rechants, won the Diapason d’Or de l’Année and the Danish Radio P2 Prize, and in 2012 The Nightingale – recor­ded with Danish recorder virtuoso Michala Petri – won the prestigious German ECHO award.

Other highly-praised releases include recordings of music by Bent Sørensen, Carl Nielsen, Francis Poulenc. In November 2018, Årstiderne – a collection of traditional Danish Songs – was commended by Classics Today (USA) as ‘exemplary choral singing’.

The Danish National Vocal Ensemble sings Carl Nielsen at BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall

Marcus Creed – Chief Conductor with a world reputation

Marcus Creed became Chief Conductor of the Danish National Vocal Ensemble in 2014, and in him the choir has found the perfect partner: an ambitious and experienced musical director, in the front rank of elite choir conductors, and a master of the Vocal Ensemble’s extensive and wide-ranging repertoire. He is at home in everything from the choral works of the Renaissance onwards, but his passions lie particularly in the field of newer music and more complex modern works.

Marcus Creed has a distinguished background in the English choral tradition as a former student at King’s College Cambridge, Christ Church Oxford, and the Guildhall School of Music in London. Today he lives in Germany, where he has directed several of Europe’s other leading professional choirs, includ­ing SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart.

I look for the greatest possible perfection in the interpretation and execution of the music. But the most important thing for me is to try to make life more interesting for my audience.

The singers of the Danish National Vocal Ensemble

Meet the 18 singers of the Danish National Vocal Ensemble

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The Danish National Concert Choir – A symphony of singing voices

The Danish National Concert Choir consists of 57 professional singers together with the 18 members of the Danish National Vocal Ensemble. The resulting 75-voice choir brings the expertise of professional voices to the large-scale choral repertoire with thrilling effect and the broadest spectrum of sounds, sonorities and colour.

As well as the great symphonic works of the Classical-Romantic period, from Mozart to Mahler and beyond, the choir’s repertoire has always included adventurous excursions into less-familiar territory – the choral music of composers such as Franz Schmidt, Ruud Langgaard and Claude Debussy have all featured in recent seasons. But new music also plays an important part: Per Nør­gård’s Symphony no. 3 is just one of the pieces composed specially for it.

The repertoire of the Danish National Concert Choir also embraces the music of modern masters such as Henze, Sandström, Stockhausen and Ligeti, and recent performances have included works by Luigi Dallapiccola (Il Prigioniero) and Sir James MacMillan (St Luke Passion).

Singers in the Danish National Concert Choir