The Ghent University Choir (GUK) was founded in 2000 by a few students who explored choral music together. The choir blossomed with the appointment of Joris Derder as conductor in 2001, and today the GUK has about 75 members. In addition to its own semi-annual concerts, the Ghent University Choir annually performs at academic gatherings and congresses. 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.
Its annual concert tours abroad have already taken the GUK to New York and halfway across Europe, with highlights like a performance in the wonderful acoustics of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, and a gold medal in the International Youth Music Festival in Bratislava in 2015.
The 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 Purcell's Dido & Aeneas, the requiems of Fauré and Verdi, and sir Michael Tippett's oratorio 'A child of our time' in collaboration with the Ghent University Symphony Orchestra (GUSO). For its tenth anniversary in 2010, the GUK performed Carl Orff's Carmina Burana to a sold-out Bijloke. However, the student choir's indomitable creative energy is at its best in crossover projects approaching musical theatre, such as Johan Wagenaar's comic cantata 'The Shipwreck', the total spectacle 'iShakespeare' or the crazy, enthusiastic performance 'Beestig'.
In November 2014, the GUK took part in the '1000 Voices for Peace' project. This project was organised by the Festival of Flanders Brussels on the occasion of the centenary of the Great War. It became 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 50 countries involved in the conflict at the time. 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 great Uni Ducenti project on the occasion of 200 years of UGent: 350 musicians performed a musical tribute to our Alma Mater together in Belgium's largest concert halls. In honour of its 20th anniversary, the GUK performed Howard Goodall's Eternal Light Requiem in 2022.