Clari Cantus was founded on 27 January 1990 by Jan Haspeslagh as en equal-voice youth choir. In 1992 Ria Vanwing took over the baton, transforming Clari Cantus into a mixed youth choir. In the following years Clari Cantus was a frequent guest at the European Music Festival for Young People in Neerpelt, receiving first prize cum laude nine times in a row. In 1999 Clari Cantus was a finalist in the prestigious choir competition ‘Choir of the Year’ (Flanders). Clari Cantus has made frequent international appearances, including festivals.
The choir also often collaborates with other choirs. Such joint concerts have included: Missa canonica by J. Brahms (1997), world premiere of Lauda Sion by Piet Swerts (1998), the motets of J.S. Bach (2001), Vesperae Solennes de Confessore KV 339 by W.A. Mozart (2004), the premiere and CD recording of the oratorio Wij zijn wij by Jeroen D’hoe (2006) and the premiere of Waters by Jens Johansen. On their international tours Clari Cantus has performed with such leading conductors as Michael Alber, Kurt Bikkembergs, Javier Busto, Paul Dombrecht, Johan Duijck, Malcolm Goldring, Jens Johansen, Pekka Kostiainen, Vytautas Miškinis, Damijan Mocnik, Christoph Schönherr and Dirk Vermeulen.
In 2010 Michiel Haspeslagh became the new conductor of Clari Cantus. This was a natural evolution, as Michiel had not only developed a strong connection to our choir family as a singer, but as the son of Ria Vanwing, conducting was in the blood. The choir’s first appearance at the European Music Festival for Young People in Neerpelt was a moment of truth for the young conductor, but Clari Cantus came through with flying colours, continuing its tradition with another first prize cum laude.
In 2011 Clari Cantus not only won ‘Youth Choir of the Year’, but also won the highly prized ‘Choir of the Year’. This was followed by a series of concerts with their prize-winning programme. Clari Cantus also had the honour of singing for the annual commemoration of Victory Day in Leuven, singing John Rutter’s Requiem. In 2012 the choir collaborated with the Dutch ensemble ‘De Windh’, and in February 2013 it sang for the opening ceremony of the 21st conference of the International Society For Music Education.
For the commemoration of World War I Clari Cantus presented a peace-concert in Raamsdonk (The Netherlands) and in Leuven. Music was combined with strong images and stories, in a total programme put together by the young singers themselves. Several months later Clari Cantus took part in an international commemoration of World War I in the Royal Albert Hall in London, in a performance of The Armed Man – a Mass for Peace. In February 2015 Clari Cantus was a prize-winner at the Georgy Teratsuyants International Choir Festival in Petrozavodsk (Russia). Later that year the choir opened the 26th International Conference on the History of Cartography in Antwerp.