The Danish National Vocal Ensemble describes itself this way: "[It] is an elite choir with a pure, transparent Nordic sound -- and at the same time each of the 18 singers is a professional soloist with a strong personal mode of expression." Its repertory extends beyond Danish music to cover Europe and the entire history of European music, from Renaissance to contemporary, including a number of works written specifically for the group. The Danish National Vocal Ensemble was founded in 2006. Its Danish name, DR Vokalensemblet, reflects its origins as part of a complex of musical groupings associated with Denmark's national broadcaster; these include a Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, a jazz band, a larger Concert Choir, and more. The Danish National Vocal Ensemble appears in a number of a cappella concerts, performances with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Concerto Copenhagen, and appears with orchestras from other countries including the NDR Elbphilharmonie, the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars.
The choir's conductors have included Olof Borman and, often in a guest capacity, Stephen Layton. In 2014, British choral specialist Marcus Creed became the ensemble's principal conductor. Their recording career began in 2008 with an album of works by Danish composer Hanne Ørvad, released on the Dacapo label. They have continued to record for that label and for OUR Recordings. A special success was the 2012 release The Nightingale, with recorder player Michala Petri, which earned an ECHO Klassik award, two Grammy nominations, a Gramophone award, and the P2 Prize from Danish Radio. The choir's repertory and recording career have been flexible, encompassing both large works like Per Nørgård's Libra and thematic collections of smaller pieces. The Danish National Vocal Ensemble took another major award, a Diapason d'Or, with its 2015 release L'amour et la foi. In 2018, they released Secret Mass: Choral Works by Frank Martin and Bohuslav Martinu, on OUR Recordings.