Who are we?

The Ghent University Choir (GUK) was founded in 2000 by a few students who explored choral music together. The choir flourished with the appointment of Joris Derder as conductor in 2001, and the GUK now has about 75 members. In addition to the semi-annual concerts under its own management, the Ghent University Choir annually attends academic sessions and conferences. In the provincial tournaments of East Flanders, the GUK has been honoured with the class of excellence for years, since February 2013 even with distinction.

The annual concert tours abroad have already brought the GUK to New York and half of Europe, with the highlights being a performance in the wonderful acoustics of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, and a gold medal at the International Youth Music Festival in Bratislava in 2015.

GUK's repertoire ranges from early Renaissance polyphony, through Baroque and Romantic works, to 21st-century choral literature. The GUK also regularly ventures into larger works, including Dido & Aeneas by Purcell, the requiems of Fauré and Verdi, and the oratorio 'A child of our time' by Sir Michael Tippett in collaboration with the Ghent University Symphony Orchestra (GUSO).For its tenth anniversary in 2010, the GUK performed Carl Orff's Carmina Burana for a sold-out Bijloke. However, the indomitable creative energy of the student choir comes into its own in crossover projects that approach music theatre, such as the comic cantata 'De Schipbreuk' by Johan Wagenaar, the total spectacle 'iShakespeare' or the crazy, enthusing performance 'Beestig'.

In November 2014, the GUK participated in the project '1000 Voices for Peace'. This project was organized by the Festival of Flanders Brussels on the occasion of the centenary of the Great War. It was the world premiere of a large-scale oratorio for peace, written for symphonic orchestra and more than a thousand singers. The singers came from Belgium and from a selection of the more than fifty countries that were involved in the conflict at the time. The GUK had the honour of hosting the Irish choir BA Voice and Dance Choir from the University of Limerick. In 2017, the GUK was part of the large Uni Ducenti project on the occasion of 200 years of Ghent University: 350 musicians brought together in the largest concert halls in Belgium a musical tribute to our Alma Mater.

Vision and mission

The GUK brings together students with different interests, study backgrounds, … Through one common hobby, namely singing, a connection is created. The GUK therefore wants to be first and foremost a group of friends who make music together. In addition, the GUK wants to challenge its members, lift them to a higher level and introduce them to the great diversity of music from different style periods. The conductor, Joris Derder, fully supports this vision by constantly looking for new enrichments.

However, the GUK not only wants to enrich its members musically but also the listener. Thanks to the prices used, the student audience can get acquainted with choral music in a budget-friendly way. Culture and specific choral music are thus offered to both Ghent students and other culture lovers.