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Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks 2018 (Foto: Astrid Ackermann)

The Bavarian Radio Chorus

Thanks to its special homogeneous sound and its stylistic versatility, covering every area of choral singing from the medieval motet to contemporary music, and from oratorios to operas, the Bavarian Radio Chorus enjoys top prestige throughout the world. Its main points of focus fall on the great choral symphonies, contemporary vocal music and joint performances with such period ensembles as Il Giardino Armonico, Concerto Köln and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

In recent years the chorus’s guest performances have taken it to all the musical hot spots in Europa and Asia as well. It is regularly featured at the Salzburg Festival, the Easter Festivals in Salzburg and Baden-Baden, Lucerne Festival, Deutsches Mozartfest, Maggio Musicale Firenze and the Rheingau Music Festival, to mention only a few.

Top-calibre European orchestras, such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics and the Dresden Staatskapelle, value their working relations with the Bavarian Radio Chorus. Most recently the chorus has given concerts with conductors of the stature of Giovanni Antonini, Andris Nelsons, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Riccardo Muti, Riccardo Chailly, Robin Ticciati and Iván Fischer as well as Herbert Blomstedt and Christian Thielemann.

Founded in 1946, the Bavarian Radio Chorus will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2021. Its rise to supreme artistry took place in close conjunction with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, both of which were headed by their principal conductor Mariss Jansons from 2003 to 2019. It has maintained its own successful concert series in Munich since 1998. Today its artistic director is Howard Arman.

The BR Chorus distinguishes itself on a regular basis with world premières in the Music Viva series and its own subscription concerts. In keeping with the educational mission of Germany’s public broadcasters, it often takes an active part in projects with an educational slant. It promotes young soloists and conductors by arranging concert engagements or inviting them to its Choral Conducting Forum. It also frequently opens its ranks to performances with amateurs in its ‘cOHRwürmer’ sing-along concerts. Furthermore, it regularly releases recordings of the great oratorios with knowledgeable introductions on its own CD label BR-KLASSIK, most recently Mozart’s Requiem.

The BR Chorus has received countless prestigious prizes for its CD recordings, including several Echo Klassik awards. Its CD with Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, conducted by Bernard Haitink, was nominated for a Grammy as the best choral performance of 2016. One year earlier it received the Bavarian State Music Prize in the category of professional music-making. Its 2018 CD of Mahler’s Third Symphony, conducted by Iván Fischer, was honoured with an Opus Klassik award as the audiophile multi-channel recording of the year; and its DVD edition of Bach’s St John Passion was included in the winners’ list for the German Record Critics Prize (February 2017). Finally, its recording of Rachmaninoff’s The Bells received a Diapason d’Or and was nominated for a Grammy as the best choral performance of 2019.

Among the CDs that the BR Chorus has released under its artistic director Howard Arman are two editions of Christmas Surprises, Handel’s Occasional Oratorio, Bach’s motets, Mendelssohn’s large-scale psalm settings, Mozart’s C minor Mass and an early version of Dvořák’s Stabat mater.

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