The VU-Orchestra was originally the student orchestra of the VU University Amsterdam, but has been an independent association since 2014. The orchestra was founded in 1962 by Berthe Smit had been conducted by conductor Otto Klap since the very beginning. In 1975 Daan Admiraal took over. He conducted the orchestra until his death in 2018. What started as a small chamber orchestra, has grown into a large symphony orchestra over the past fifty years. In the Netherlands, the VU-Orchestra is one of the largest and most pioneering student orchestra, thanks to the enormous efforts of its members and conductor.

The repertoire is compiled by the program committee. This committee consists of several orchestra members and the conductor. The wishes of the orchestra members are carefully taken into consideration when compiling the program. In addition, aspects such as “innovation” and “challenge” play an important role in the selection. Every six months a new program is rehearsed and will be performed during a series of concerts.

The VU-Orchestra often accompanies solist and choirs alongside their own repertoire. The orchestra works on a regular basis with the Haags Toonkunstkoor (HTK). Together with this choir, the overwhelming War Requiem of Benjamin Britten was performed in the spring of 2015 in both the Dr. Anton Philipzaal in the Hague and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Moreover, in the past the orchestra has accompanied Janine Jansen, Isabelle van Keulen, Ivo Janssen, Quirine Viersen, Pieter Wispelwey and many more.

Besides the concert series in the Netherlands The VU-Orchestra also performs abroad during the yearly summer tours. In recent years the orchestra has performed in Italy, Germany, France, Bulgary, England and Estonia. Furthermore, the orchestra has traveled to Russia during the Jubilee year of 2012, where they performed in Sint Petersburg as well as Moscow. The concerts attracted a vast amount of audience and laudatory reactions. Due to this overwhelming positivity, the orchestra travelled to Sint Petersburg again in 2014 to perform at the Hermitage Festival after their visit to Estonia.

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