With around 60 concerts a year, Grammy Award-winning CD recordings and highly acclaimed international guest appearances, the Rundfunkchor Berlin is one of the leading choirs in concert life worldwide. Thanks to its wide-ranging repertoire, flexible, richly nuanced sound, and ever-inspiring expressive intensity, the professional ensemble has been a long-standing artistic partner of the Berliner Philharmoniker.
The Rundfunkchor Berlin was founded in 1925 and, under conductors such as George Szell, Hermann Scherchen, Otto Klemperer and Erich Kleiber, provided many of the musical highlights of the 1920s and 1930s. After the Second World War, the ensemble with its chief conductor Helmut Koch made Handel's oratorios internationally known for the first time in their original form. Koch was followed by Dietrich Knothe, Robin Gritton and Simon Halsey, making the choir a precision instrument for the most demanding music and ensuring stylistically and linguistically perfect, lively and stirring performances of works from all periods and styles. Since the 2015/16 season, Gijs Leenaars, who was born in Nijmegen in the Netherlands in 1978, has been at the helm of the Rundfunkchor Berlin as chief conductor and artistic director. The Rundfunkchor Berlin has attracted international attention with its interdisciplinary projects that challenge the classical concert format and bring choral music to life in a new way. The staged realisation of the Brahms Requiem as a [human requiem] by Jochen Sandig and a team from Sasha Waltz & Guests was a major highlight. With the project [LUTHER dancing with the gods], the choir reflected on Luther’s impact on the arts and in the arts in the autumn of 2017 in a concert performance that transcended genres – with Robert Wilson and music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Knut Nystedt and Steve Reich. With numerous activities in education and outreach, such as the annual sing-along concert at the Philharmonie Berlin, the Fest der Chorkulturen for choirs from all over the world and the [Liederbörse] for children and young people, the Rundfunkchor inspires many people to sing. With the Academy and the Schola as well as the International Master Class Berlin, the ensemble is also committed to supporting the next generation of professional singers and conductors.