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Vic Nees: "Godfather" of Belgian Choral Music Open Access


Other title
Choral Music
Vic Nees
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Dueck, Marvin H
Supervisor and department
Ratzlaff, Leonard (Department of Music)
Examining committee member and department
Harder, Lois (Department of Political Science)
Ingraham, Mary (Department of Music)
Bashaw, Howard (Department of Music)
Cairns, Debra (Department of Music)
Apfelstadt, Hilary (External Examiner, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto)
Department of Music

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Music
Degree level
Vic Nees (b. 1936) is a prolific Belgian composer of primarily choral music who has had a profound influence on the culture of choral music in Belgium, Europe, and increasingly around the world. Through his long association with the Flemish Radio Choir, both as conductor and producer, he was instrumental in developing this chorus into one of the top-ranked professional choral ensembles in the world today. As adjudicator at many of the world’s most prestigious choral competitions he has promoted excellence in choral performance on a global level. As a composition adjudicator and clinician at many international composition competitions, he has stimulated creativity and artistic integrity within the participants, nourishing the demand for new choral music of merit. Finally, as a composer he has been recognized world-wide with numerous awards for his compositions, and honours for his contributions to choral music. Most importantly he has gifted the world with his art. This essay seeks to introduce Vic Nees and his body of work to the English-speaking world, specifically North America, where he is largely unknown. The main body of the essay includes an overview of Nees’s place in the continuum of Belgian music history, an outline of his formative music training and experience, and his contributions as a conductor and choral composer, and a discussion of his stylistic characteristics found in his music. Appendices provide interview questions provided to Nees, verbatim transcripts of interviews conducted with Nees in 2008, and a listing of his compositions. The interviews provide true insights into his philosophy, his musicianship, his artistry, and his towering intellect. Exposure to Vic Nees’s music is a rewarding experience, and if the reading of this paper entices more musicians to seek out and perform his music, this paper will have served its purpose.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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