The Rundfunkchor Berlin has published the new season’s events. In a total of 52 concerts and 25 programmes, during the coming season it will be possible to experience the choir under the direction of 15 conductors at 18 venues in Berlin as well as elsewhere in Germany and abroad.
The Rundfunkchor Berlin is delighted to be able to continue its extremely successful collaboration with principal conductor Gijs Leenaars, who is extending his contract for another five years beyond the coming season. Leenaars will again conduct some of the concert highlights: e.g. the new transdisciplinary choir project »TIME TRAVELLERS« in April 2020, based on Jonathan Dove’s »The Passing of the Year«, for which the Radialsystem will be transformed into a walk-through time tunnel with a video installation, performance and music. He will also conduct Bruckner’s Mass in E minor at the special concert to mark the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in Berlin’s Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, also to be recorded on CD. The Rundfunkchor Berlin’s new CD with vocal works by Brahms made under Leenaars’ direction was released recently by Sony Classical.
The choir continues to present its broad spectrum in close cooperation with Berlin’s orchestras. Kirill Petrenko starts his tenure as principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra together with the Rundfunkchor Berlin: in performances of Beethoven’s Ninth in the Philharmonie, open air at the Brandenburg Gate, and in Salzburg and Lucerne. He will also be conducting two concertante performances of Beethoven’s »Fidelio« with the choir. Beethoven’s »Christ on the Mount of Olives« offers another opportunity to work with Simon Rattle. Under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel, the choir will be heard in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Yannick Nézet-Séguin will conduct Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, and the choir will sing in Berlioz’s »Roméo et Juliette« under conductor Daniel Harding. Robin Ticciati partners the Rundfunkchor Berlin for Dvořák’s »Rusalka« and Berlioz’s »La damnation de Faust« together with the German Symphonic Orchestra Berlin. In addition, the choir will present Mozart’s Requiem conducted by Roger Norrington, and the women can be heard in Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 7 under the direction of Andrew Manze. Together with Vladimir Jurowski and the Berlin Radio Symphonic Orchestra, concertante performances of Strauss’ »The Woman without a Shadow« and Verdi’s »Messa de Requiem« are on the programme, as well as New Year’s concerts featuring Beethoven’s Ninth conducted by Karina Canellakis.
After three seasons, the RundfunkchorLounge has long since emerged as a must-hear event for many fans: on three evenings, the Rundfunkchor Berlin will present a unique mix of talk, chamber music and a cappella singing in silent green Kulturquartier. This season’s topics range from Pulse of Europe and »Spice Girls« to the second important anniversary in the coming year: that of Hölderlin’s birth. Gayle Tufts, US-American entertainer with a great affinity for classical music, will act as presenter.
Shortly before Christmas Eve, the Rundfunkchor Berlin will be preparing for the festive season with its Christmas concert in Berlin Cathedral. Conducted by Benjamin Goodson, this time a purely British programme will alternate between a cappella choirs and powerful organ sounds. In addition to Vaughan Williams’ splendid Mass in G minor, it will be possible to hear only music by living composers such as Judith Weir, Herbert Howells and Judith Bingham. In addition, a specially commissioned composition by Owain Park will fill the huge domed space of the cathedral with sound.
On the occasion of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, in cooperation with Interkultur the Rundfunkchor Berlin is inviting nine outstanding choirs from all over the world to Berlin for the Festival of Choral Cultures on 1st May 2020. »Ever Us«, a commissioned work by British composer Roxanna Panufnik, will be performed at the Philharmonie. Jessica Duchen has condensed texts by Beethoven, Schiller, Goethe and others into a libretto for this piece. Its world premiere leads directly into the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth symphony, which is also the »sing-along concert« 2019/20. In May, singing enthusiasts from all over Europe will come together once more for the sing-along concert on tour: This time the choir will be inviting participants to Milan, also in cooperation with Interkultur. Honorary conductor Simon Halsey will conduct Puccini’s »Messa di Gloria«. Under the motto »The Stars«, over 1500 children and young people will bring the Chamber Music Hall and, for the first time, the Great Hall of the Philharmonie to life at the Liederbörse – the sing-along concert for Berlin school choirs. In the Symphonic Mob the choir will be heard once again together with the DSO and amateur musicians on the Piazza of the Mall of Berlin.
The new season will also be a season of travel: Together with Kirill Petrenko and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the choir will perform Beethoven’s Ninth at Salzburg Festival and Lucerne Festival. The choir is planning its first tour of China with an a cappella programme featuring Brahms conducted by Gijs Leenaars, when it will visit Zhuhai, Changsha, Shanghai and Tianjin. A concertante performance of Strauss’ »The Woman without a Shadow« with the RSB takes them to the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest. At the Elbphilharmonie, the choir will perform Beethoven’s »Missa solemnis« under Kent Nagano and Verdi’s Requiem under Alan Gilbert. After acclaimed guest appearances around the globe, the »human requiem« will make another appearance at Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele.
In the context of the Rundfunkchor Berlin’s Schola, voice students are able to gain direct experience of professional choir practice. As part of the chamber ensemble they will develop a demanding a cappella programme including works by Schubert, Britten and Holst, which will be performed in their own special concert. They will also be involved in Berlioz’s »La damnation de Faust« with the DSO Berlin under Robin Ticciati’s direction.
Since 2011 the Rundfunkchor Berlin has been introducing primary school students and teachers to singing with its educational programme SING! and in 2017 it received the Junge Ohren Preis, the best renowned award for music teaching in the German-speaking world. Thanks to the regular support of the Berlin Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family, it has been possible to involve 10 primary schools in 8 districts in the programme in cooperation with the city’s district music schools.