As one of the most renowned choruses in the world, the Rundfunkchor Berlin is among the most sought-after partners of famous orchestras and conductors, including Kirill Petrenko, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle, Christian Thielemann and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Their three Grammy Awards alone testify to the ensemble’s great artistic importance for the music scene. Their work is particularly distinguished by their precise culture of sound, flexibility in repertoire and style, and willingness to embark on new and cross-genre directions. The programmes range from major symphonic works with chorus to a cappella concerts to transdisciplinary projects that break up the classical concert format and create new ways of experiencing choral music.
In Berlin, the choir works together on a regular basis with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. Numerous tours take them around the globe, including most recently to North and South America, Australia, Asia and Turkey.
Founded in 1925, the Rundfunkchor Berlin looks back on a history of more than 90 years shaped by conductors such as Helmut Koch, Dietrich Knothe and Robin Gritton. In the fall of 2015, the Dutchman Gijs Leenaars became the principal conductor and Artistic Director of the chorus. His predecessor Simon Halsey remains associated with the ensemble as Conductor Laureate and regular guest conductor.
For many years, the ensemble’s transdisciplinary projects with new approaches to choral music have attracted international attention, above all the “human requiem”, a staged presentation of Brahms’s “Requiem” by Jochen Sandig and a team of Sasha Waltz & Guests; in the meantime, it has been performed in Berlin, New York, Hong Kong, Paris, Adelaide and Istanbul. In 2017, there followed “LUTHER dancing with the gods” directed by Robert Wilson. For the transdisciplinary concert installation THE WORLD TO COME in 2020, the Rundfunkchor Berlin created a Berlin Festive Mass based on Beethoven’s “Missa solemnis”: contemporary music genres engage in a dialogue with the masterpiece, including national and international artists such as Birke J. Bertelsmeier, Colin Self, Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, Moor Mother and Planningtorock. At the RundfunkchorLounge with a presenter, socially relevant themes are presented with musical contributions that range from chamber music groups to full ensemble sound, and from Baroque music to the Spice Girls.
With its community projects for various target groups – the big sing-along Concert in the Berlin Philharmonie, the Festival of Choral Cultures for choirs from around the world and the Liederbörse (Song Exchange) for Berlin school pupils – Rundfunkchor Berlin would like to bring as many people as possible to singing. Its large-scale education programme SING! brings together a range of partners to make singing a natural part of everyday school life in Berlin’s elementary schools. With its Academy and Schola and the Berlin International Masterclass for choral conducting, the ensemble supports the next generation of professional singers and conductors.