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About the Bavarian Radio Chorus

Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks 2018 (Foto: Astrid Ackermann)

The Bavarian Radio Chorus enjoys a sterling reputation all over the world, thanks to its homogeneous sound and stylistic versatility, which covers every area of choral singing from medieval motets to contemporary music, and from oratorio to opera. Its main points of focus are the great choral symphonies, contemporary vocal music and collaborations with period performance ensembles, such as Concerto Köln and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

In recent years the chorus’s guest performances have taken it to Asia, Hungary, Croatia, Switzerland, Italy and France, not to mention southern Germany, where it has appeared at the Ansbach Bach Festival, the Nuremberg International Organ Weeks, the Würzburg Mozart Festival and the Rheingau Festival. It is regularly featured at the Salzburg Festival, and in January 2017 it took part in the inauguration of the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie.

The Bavarian Radio Chorus is a welcome partner among Europe’s front-rank orchestras, including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Dresden Staatskapelle. Recently it has concertised with conductors of the stature of Andris Nelsons, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Riccardo Muti, Riccardo Chailly, Robin Ticciati, Franz Welser-Möst, Iván Fischer, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph Eschenbach, Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla and Christian Thielemann.

Founded in 1946, the Bavarian Radio Chorus initially owed its artistic rise to its close ties to the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, with Mariss Jansons serving as the principal conductor of both ensembles since 2003. Besides the position of principal conductor, the chorus also has its own artistic director, Howard Arman. Among his predecessors were Michael Gläser and Peter Dijkstra. The chorus regularly distinguishes itself with world premières in the Musica Viva series and in its own subscription concerts.

In keeping with the educational mandate of Germany’s public broadcasters, the Bavarian Radio Chorus is frequently involved in outreach projects. It promotes the careers of young soloists and conductors through concert engagements and choral conducting forums, and creates opportunities for joint music-making with amateurs in its “cOHRwürmer” sing-along concerts. Its CD label, BR-Klassik, regularly releases great works of the oratorio repertoire with informative introductions, most recently Mozart’s C minor Mass.

The Bavarian Radio Chorus has received numerous prestigious awards for its CD releases, including several Echo Klassik Prizes. In 2016 its CD of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, conducted by Bernard Haitink, was nominated for a Grammy Award as best choral performance. One year earlier, in 2015, the chorus was awarded the Bavarian State Music Prize in the category of professional music-making. Its CD of Mahler’s Third Symphony, conducted by Iván Fischer, received an Opus Klassik Prize in 2018 as the audiophile multi-channel recording of the year. Its DVD edition of Bach’s St John Passion was included in the best recordings shortlist of the German Record Critics Prize in February 2017. The CD of Rachmaninoff’s The Bells won a Diapason d’Or and was nominated for a Grammy in 2019 for best choral performance.

Among the CDs that have arisen in conjunction with artistic director Howard Arman are two releases of Christmas Surprises and Handel’s Occasional Oratorio, Bach’s motets, Rossini’s Stabat mater and Mendelssohn’s large-scale psalm settings.

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