A SHORT INTRODUCTION ...
The chamber choir Incantatio was founded in January 1994 by Jos Venken with the purpose to discover interesting choir literature with a small group of motivated singers, eager to continuously assure a homogenous sound. The repertoire contains almost all stylistic periods, from renaissance works to modern compositions.
The choir has for example performed works by J.S. Bach such as the Christmas Oratorio, the St. John passion, Magnificat and the Missa in g BWV 235. It sang the Markus-Passion by R. Keiser, the Gloria by A. Vivaldi, the Messiah, Dixit Dominus and Laudate Pueri by G.F. Händel, Mozart’s Requiem and the great Mass in C minor KV 427 and the first performance in Flanders of the Missa Concertata nr. 9 by J.D. Heinichen.
Modern music however, especially by the Flemish composers Raymond Schroyens and Vic Nees, is also sung with pleasure. Rudi Tas’s Magnificat and Salve Regina (creation) were performed on the jubilee concert of the choir’s 10th anniversary, Joost Termont’s Ave Maris Stella was created on the choir’s 15th anniversary and Rudi Tas' Pater Noster created on the choir's 20th anniversary.
For the 25th anniversary of the choir the young Flemish composer Martin Slootmaekers wrote a modern, challenging but interestingly renewing piece ‘Beatus Vir’ for choir and orchestra. Together with these settled names Incantio also enables the own young chorister – composers to perform their works.
Incantatio is regularly asked to sing masses, e.g. in Tongeren, Ghent and Brussels. It also cooperated in a cd-recording of the province of Limburg with versions of the Limburg provincial anthem, a Christmas-cd with songs by Geert Malisse and a cd-recording with works by Martin Slootmaekers a.o. set to lyrics by René Geldof.
We also like to participate in choir encounters and larger choir projects. In Flanders we cooperated in the Requiems by G. Fauré, J. Brahms and M. Haydn, the Stabat Mater by G.B. Pergolesi and the Funeral Anthems by H. Purcell; abroad in the ‘Quattro Pezzi Sacri’ by G. Verdi.
We regularly take part in choir contests, in Flanders and abroad. Taking part in the Choir Contest of the Province of Limburg has always been successful. The choir won in the category ‘Excellence’ in 2001, obtained the second place in 2003 and 2006, the first place in 2009 and the third place in 2012 and 2015.
The next step was participation in prestigious international choir competitions with excellent results in St-Petersburg, Vienna, Rome and Prague. In spite of corona Incantatio will take part in the Wiorld Choir Games in Antwerp with the creation of ‘Un clair jour d’ été’ by Kurt Bikkembergs on a tekst by Paul Verlaine.
CONDUCTOR JOS VENKEN
Jos Venken was born in Lanklaar in 1942 and is currently living in Genk. He studied Germanic Filology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Until his retirement he carried on the profession of language teacher at the St.-Jan Berchmanscollege of Genk. He obtained the gold medal for violin and chamber music at the Town Conservatory of Hasselt in 1964. Furthermore, he finished singing courses at the Music Academy in Maasmechelen in 1986.
He became the conductor of the mixed choir Cantabile from Dilsen in 1979. He attended several choir conducting courses and improved his knowledge of choir singing in quite a number of choir meetings, both national and international. From 1984 till 2016 Jos Venken was the conductor of the youth choir Lirica in Genk and from 1986 till 2018 he was president of the choir federation Koor&Stem Limburg.
In 1994 he founded the chamber choir Incantatio, which is up till now still under his direction. In 2005 and 2006 he conducted the vocal ensemble Pro Arte in Eupen.
He is also president of the International Choral Festival Flanders-Genk.