Dirk De Nef




Dirk De Nef was born in 1957 in Ghent. As a young boy, he sang in a choir and played the guitar. He did not start the course of musical theory at the Stedelijk Conservatorium of Mechelen until he was fifteen. He obtained first prizes in musical theory, harmony, choral direction and music history at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. At the Royal Conservatory of Brussels he obtained first prizes in counterpoint and fugue under Rafaël D’Haene, composition under André Laporte and higher musical analysis under Frans Geysen.


De Nef only started composing in 1990 - relatively late - but in a short time won a remarkable number of prizes for composition. In 1992 his Geef mij maar de brede, trage rivieren took second prize at Harmonia-Nederland. In 1993 his composition Lucubrantiunculae was distinguished with the third prize in the Muizelhuis competition for chamber music. De Nef won that same competition the following year with Circumsonus for violin and piano. In 1995 his composition Rond’eau  was the obligatory piece for the semi final of the Queen Elisabeth Competition for piano. 

In 1996 he was the laureate of the Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten of Belgium. Dirk De Nef composed multiple pieces for large arrangements including: Stained Glass (1999) and Festivo (2012) for harmonic orchestra, Pain’things (2003) for clarinet choir and percussion ensemble, the oratorio Rodian (2001) and the Antwerp Kantate k’Zing a gèire ( 2010) for symphonic orchestra, mixed choir and soloists.


De Nef teaches musical notation at the music schools of Bornem and Heist-op-den-Berg and teaches counterpoint and composition at the Lemmens Institute (today: LUCA School of Arts) in Leuven.

Choir conductor 

De Nef is also active in the choir world. He conducts the University Choir of Antwerp, the vocal ensemble Zoveel Hertz, the men's choir Homm’eros and the Royal Song association Arti Vocali in Antwerp. He himself sings in the vocal quartet Kompakt.

Koorwerken (selectie)

  • Geef mij maar, SATB, with words by Rutger Kopland
  • Water bij dag en bij nacht, SSAATTBB, with words by Rutger Kopland 
  • Waar gaan de dingen gebeuren, SATB, with words by Herman De Coninck
  • Kleine ballade - Liggen in de zon -  ’s Nachts, SATB, with words by Hans Andreus
  • Ballade morale, SATB, with words by François Villon
  • The silver swanne, SSAATB 
  • Ein gemischtes salat, SSAATTBB - 1 rapper, cow bells and alphorn (ad libitum)
  • Sonnet, SSAATTBB, with words by Shakespeare
  • Mosselsuite, (humor gebaseerd op Jan de mosselman), TTBB
  • Rap-Sotie, voor male sextet and one rapper, with words by François Villon
  • Het water loopt al zingend, for children's choir & piano (songs about water and boating with Vic Nees' ‘het water loopt al zingend'  as final piece)
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