Rundfunkchor Berlin introduced its 2017/18 season to the public at its annual press conference in Pierre Boulez Hall on 18 May. Together with director Robert Wilson Principal Conductor Gijs Leenaars and Managing Director Hans-Hermann Rehberg presented plans for the choir’s new season.
During the coming season, Rundfunkchor Berlin is offering a total of 49 concerts, featuring29 programmes performed under 12 conductors in 10 venues in Berlin and on the international music scene.
For the Anniversary of the Reformation, the choir will collaborate for the first time with director Robert Wilson. In Pierre Boulez Hall, shortly before the actual 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his “95 Theses”, the radio chorus will present “LUTHER dancing with the gods”, a genre-crossing concert performance focusing on the reformer’s life and reflecting on its ramifications for the arts and through the arts. Four motets by Johann Sebastian Bach form the musical centrepiece, complemented by works by Knut Nystedt and Steve Reich. In Berlin’s new, intimate concert hall, Wilson’s associative and highly stylized approach to theatre – strongly characterized by make-up, costumes and lighting design – will undergo a fascinating synthesis with Bach’s sublime choral music. Advance ticket sales have begun.
Rundfunkchor Berlin continues to demonstrate its enormously wide range in collaborations with the Berlin orchestras. The choir launches the new season in spectacular fashion with the Berliner Philharmoniker, singing Haydn’s “Creation” under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle in August at the Salzburg and Lucerne Festivals as well as in Berlin. In his last season as music director, Sir Simon will also be partnering his orchestra with the radio choir in performances of Schumann’s “Paradise and the Peri” and Wagner’s “Parsifal”. Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Seiji Ozawa and Christian Thielemann will conduct both ensembles in works by Brahms, Beethoven and Ravel. During Musikfest Berlin you can experience Rundfunkchor Berlin singing for the first time with the Filarmonica della Scala, in a performance of Verdi’s “Quattro pezzi sacri” under Riccardo Chailly.
Rundfunkchor Berlin will present four programmes together with Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. The orchestra’s principal conductor designate Vladimir Jurowski will open the season directing the chorus a cappella in Schoenberg’s “De Profundis”. The singers will then join him and the RSB at New Year’s Eve concerts performing Schoenberg’s “A Survivor from Warsaw” followed by Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Jurowski will conduct the ensemble again this season in Mahler’s Second Symphony. Berlin’s Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester under its new principal conductor Robin Ticciati will continue that orchestra’s collaboration with the choir in performances of the Duruflé Requiem and Mahler’s Third Symphony. And you can hear Rundfunkchor Berlin with the Berlin Konzerthausorchester under Iván Fischer in Beethoven’s Ninthand in Pärt’s “Te Deum”, including an evening in the Konzerthaus series “Mittendrin” (In the Thick of It).
Shortly before Christmas Eve, Rundfunkchor Berlin will ring in the Yuletide with its traditional Christmas Concert in Berlin Cathedral. Principal conductor Gijs Leenaars will present his interpretations of music by Praetorius, Poulenc and Distler, with Frank Martin’s Mass for double chorus as the evening’s climax. In February the chorus and Gijs Leenaars will appear at the final concert of the Chor@Berlin festival at Radialsystem V, presenting a programme centred on Brahms’s setting of Hölderlin’s “Song of Destiny”(Schicksalslied) that also includes a cappella works by György Kurtág, Friedrich Cerha and Bruno Maderna.
Vocal music and stimulating discussion in a relaxed atmosphere: after three sold-out evenings in its premiere season, RundfunchorLounge returns in the new season. Once again you can experience the choir both in full force and in smaller groups of its soloists within the octagonal cupola of the silent green cultural quarter, with a changing lineup of guests and moderated by Gayle Tufts, Bettina Rust and Lars Redlich. The theme of each evening will be announced four weeks in advance of the event.
Following acclaimed performances in New York, Hong Kong, Paris, Brussels, Athens and other cities, the “human requiem” – the staged version of the Brahms Requiem by Jochen Sandig and his team of Sasha Waltz & Guests – will be performed in March for the first time in Australasia.
The Brahms Requiem, a work at the very heart of Runfunkchor Berlin’s repertoire, will be performed in May in the now-legendary annual Sing-Along Concert with conductor laureate Simon Halsey in the Berlin Philharmonie. For the Sing-Along Concert on Tourin June in the Philharmonie de Paris, the choir has chosen one of the best-loved of all choral works, Handel’s “Messiah” with Simon Halsey. This year entitled “Around the World”, the Song Exchange (Liederbörse), Rundfunkchor Berlin’s sing-along concert for Berlin schoolchildren, will bring more than 1,000 children and young people into the Philharmonie’s Chamber Music Hall to make music alongside the choir.
Since the beginning of budget year 2016/17, SING!, Rundfunkchor Berlin’s education initiative with Berlin’s primary schools, has benefitted from the support of Berlin’s Senate Department of Education, Youth and Family. This is making it possible for the radio chorus to instil a love of singing in primary schoolchildren and teachers at 9 schools in 6 of the city’s districts. With its Academy and Schola, Rundfunkchor Berlin continues to acquaint young vocal students with the workings of a professional choir.
Also contributing to the choir’s high profile is the new Rundfunkchor Berlin Wine Edition. In partnership with Berlin’s leading wine merchants, Weinladen Schmidt, the ensemble has launched its own wine offering, available now at all four Schmidt stores, as well as from their online shop. €2 of the purchase price of each bottle goes to the Friends and Sponsors of Rundfunkchor Berlin.
In the new season Rundfunkchor Berlin’s presentations will also be available in subscription packages: Choir & Orchestra combines six major events, including four symphonic choral concerts featuring four different orchestras. Sing-Along Concert Plusoffers you a seat at the highly sought-after Sing-Along Concert along with two other selected season highlights.