Coryn studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Ghent, now Hogeschool Gent Conservatorium, where he successfully completed the theoretical and instrumental sections. In fact, he completed the theory with a first prize for composition, and finished the instrumental section with a first prize for piano and a Higher Diploma in viola and chamber music.
In the period from 1960 to 1975, he was mainly active as a performing musician. He played the viola in the Belgian Chamber Orchestra, where he came into contact with modern music, and was a founding member of the Flemish Piano Quartet, which focused on works by well-known composers and Belgian masters. From 1986 to 1997, he conducted the Nieuw Conservatoriumensemble in Ghent, with which he mainly performed contemporary music.
As a teacher, he worked at the music academies of Harelbeke, Izegem and Ostend. In 1979, he was appointed director in Harelbeke and from 1974 to 1996, he taught harmony, counterpoint, fugue and composition at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent. As conductor of the Nieuw Conservatoriumensemble and as composition lecturer, he gave his students the opportunity to hear their compositions grow live during rehearsals and then present them to the public. A formula that not only his students but also the lecturer experienced as utterly compelling and useful. On 1 September 1997, he took early retirement in order to be able to devote himself fully to his compositional work.
In addition to many chamber music works, Coryn also composes works for orchestra and since 2000 an abundance of choral compositions for various combinations. Among his best-known works are Per piano Solo (1972), 13 miniaturen voor fluit en strijkkwartet (1979), the oratorio Opus: Mens uit 1987, Pain (1993), A letter to the World (uit 1993, based on poetry by Emily Dickinson) and Winds of Dawn - Missa da Pacem (2000). His work shows a strong preference for absolute music. As a composer, he has won various prizes, including the Tenuto Prize in 1973 for Quattro Movimenti, the Jef Van Hoof Prize in 1974 for Triptiek, the Koopal Prize in 1986 for his chamber music oeuvre, and the Visser-Neerlandia Prize in 1999 for the totality of his oeuvre. In 1993, he was elected member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and Arts.
Choral works (selection)
- The sick Rose, for SATB, published by Höflich, order via www.svm.be.
- Let down the Bars, O Death, for SATB, published by Höflich, order via www.svm.be
- Safe in their alabaster chambers, for SATB and sopranino recorder (optional), published by Da Vinci Publishing scores, download via www.coryn.be
- Drie kerstliedbewerkingen, for SATB and SSATB, published by Euprint.
- Ster, for SATB, unpublished, download via www.coryn.be
- De geliefden, voor SSA, published by Koor&Stem, available via koorklank.be (Dutch version of Choral Music from Flanders)
- La Tortue (from Une Ménagerie minuscule) voor SSA, published by Euprint.
- This is my Letter to the World for SATB, published by Höfflich, order via www.svm.be
- Sleep Now, O Sleep Now for SATB, published by Höfflich, order via www.svm.be
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