The Quink Vocal Ensemble has become one of the most popular singing groups of serious music from the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries. Typically, they sing a cappella and their repertory is amazingly broad, taking in Renaissance-era music, Baroque, Romantic, Impressionistic, modern (especially contemporary Dutch), and folk-inspired works. Thus, their concerts and recordings might contain a mixture of compositions by Sweelinck, Byrd, Morley, Monteverdi, Stradella, Debussy, Poulenc, Britten, and Vaughan Williams, as well as Christmas carols and folk songs.
The Quink Vocal Ensemble debuted in 1978 at Amsterdam's Holland Festival. In 2006 its members were Mariët Kaasschieter (soprano), Mariette Oelderik (soprano), Elsbeth Gerritsen (alto), Harry van Berne (tenor), and Kees-Jan De Koning (bass). Gerritsen had joined the group in January 2006 as one of the many personnel changes over the years. Previous members include sopranos Machteld van Woerden, Paula da Wit, Marjolein Koetsier, and altos Marlene Goldstein and Corrie Pronk. All the members of the group have simultaneously maintained distinguished solo and/or operatic careers.
Soprano Machteld Van Woerden explained that the group's name is derived from a combination of Dutch words: 'kwink' (joke) and kwetteren (to chirp). The members have thus viewed their style as light and not always serious in approach.
The ensemble progressed slowly in its early years, but by the mid-'80s it had attained a good measure of international acclaim. In 1984 its first important recording was issued featuring Hymn to St. Cecilia and other works by Benjamin Britten on the Etcetera label. The following year the group made its premiere tour of the United States and has since returned numerous times, often twice in the same concert season. Quink debuted in Italy in 1987 and thereafter made regular tours of major concert venues throughout Europe and the Far East.
Among the group's more successful recordings was a collection of madrigals on the Telarc label (1993) and Ain't Misbehavin' (1998) on the Ottavo label, which featured works by Sweelinck, Debussy, Poulenc, and Britten, and various arrangements. The ensemble made a string of popular recordings for the former label in the 1990s and early 2000s while maintaining a heavy schedule of concert tours. In 1998, for example, it appeared at numerous European locales, as well as at festivals in Singapore and Tel Aviv. Among later recordings is the 2003 release Renaissance Madrigalson Telarc.