At Rundfunkchor Berlin’s annual press conference on 14 May 2013 at Kraftwerk in central Berlin, principal conductor and artistic director Simon Halsey and the chorus’s managing director Hans-Hermann Rehberg presented current developments as well as the most important projects of the coming season. The choir will appear in 50 concerts performing 30 programmes. It will sing under 14 conductors with 6 orchestras.
Rundfunkchor Berlin’s new season will begin on a grand scale when the chorus joins the Bamberger Symphoniker under Jonathan Nott for a concert performance of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung at the Lucerne Festival. At Musikfest Berlin with the Berlin Staatskapelle under Daniel Barenboim, it will perform Verdi’s Quattro pezzi sacri.
The chorus’s intensive partnership with the Berliner Philharmoniker continues in seven collaborative projects and joint organization of celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Scharoun building and the Kulturforum. On that occasion, in October, the two ensembles will present Peter Sellars’s acclaimed ritualization of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and will perform Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder. Together in June, under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle and joined by Berlin children and youths, they will be heard in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana in an open-air performance outside the Philharmonie. Another Bach masterwork, the St. John Passion, will be “ritualized” by Peter Sellars in the Berlin Philharmonie and at the Baden-Baden Easter Festival. Additionally there will be programmes of music by Liszt, Schumann and Mahler under Riccardo Chailly, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Mariss Jansons.
Following the completion of their highly successful Wagner cycle under Marek Janowski, Rundfunkchor Berlin will join the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin during the 2013/14 season for five concert programmes. In two of them Marek Janowski will conduct Rundfunkchor Berlin a cappella: coupling choral music by Bruckner with his Ninth Symphony and Messiaen’s L’Ascension, and preceding Strauss’s Metamorphosen with his German Motet for chorus a cappella and his lieder cycle Die Tageszeiten (The Times of Day) for men’s chorus and orchestra on the occasion of the composer’s 150th anniversary. To the traditional programming of the New Year’s Eve Concerts – Beethoven’s Ninth – will be added Verdi’s Quattro pezzi sacri and music from Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette. In two concert projects Rundfunkchor Berlin will be heard with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin: under the direction of Tugan Sokhiev both ensembles will perform Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony and, under Sir Andrew Davis, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius.
Rundfunkchor Berlin’s traditional Christmas concert in Berlin Cathedral (Dom) will be given on two evenings with music ranging from Praetorius to Vic Nees under the direction of Michael Gläser. In addition, Rundunkchor Berlin is putting on an Advent Concert in the cathedral featuring the communal singing of Christmas carols. An hour before the concert, Simon Halsey will rehearse portions of the programme with the audience. rbb TV will record the concert.
Rundunkchor Berlin’s initiative Broadening the Scope of Choral Music has attracted international attention and ever-growing interest. Collaborating with U-Theatre Taiwan, the chorus will realize its latest interdisciplinary project – Christian Jost’s new music-theatre piece LOVER – in April 2014 amid the monumental atmosphere of Berlin’s Kraftwerk. The scenic realization is in the hands of U-Theatre founder and director Ruo-Yu Liu. One of the series’ most successful productions will go on tour next season: following consistently sold-out performances of the human requiem in Berlin and at the opening of the Hamburg Theatre Festival in the shell of Elbphilharmonie, international visits are planned for this “spatialization” of Brahms’s German Requiem by Jochen Sandig/Sasha Waltz & Guests, conducted by Simon Halsey.
Broadening the Scope of Choral Music – it also means getting as many people as possible to sing and to appreciate choral singing at the highest level. Rundfunkchor Berlin’s next Sing-Along Concert in January will focus on the choral music of Ludwig van Beethoven, specifically the Choral Fantasy and the Mass in C major. In addition to the traditional sing-along concert in the Philharmonie, Rundfunkchor Berlin is inviting keen amateur singers to the Palace of Arts in Budapest for an International Sing-Along Concert in May 2014 featuring the Mozart Requiem. For the three-day event’s organization and side programme, Rundfunkchor Berlin is cooperating for the first time with Interkultur, the leading organizer of international choral competitions. In February, LeaderChor Berlin networks for the first with the choral festival [email protected], presenting its annual concert with members of Rundfunkchor Berlin to close the festival at Radialsystem V. At the Liederbörse – the sing-along concert for Berlin schoolchildren – over 1000 children from all school classes will again present three public concerts together with Rundfunkchor Berlin in the Chamber Music Hall of the Philharmonie – this year on the theme of Folksong.
The future of choral singing – fostering the next generation at every level continues to be a central concern of Rundfunkchor Berlin: the Education initiative “SING!”, launched by Rundfunkchor Berlin in February 2011, is a broad-based music-pedagogical programme for the promotion of singing in primary schools. It aims to forge long-term links between different partners, thereby regularly reaching over 2000 schoolchildren. Thanks to the sponsorship of the Berlin Project Fund for Cultural Education, the Bühler Foundation of Berlin and the GVL (Society for Musical Rights), the project – in which 10 primary schools, 7 district music schools as well as the Landesmusikakademie (Berlin State Music Academy) now participate – will be expanded in the 2013/14 season to include the fifth and sixth classes. The Academy of the Rundfunkchor Berlin introduces young singers to the varied ensemble work of a professional concert choir and allows them to experience first hand music making with notable orchestras and conductors.
In the six concerts of the popular series KammermusikPodium, members of Rundfunkchor Berlin appear in the grand hall of Friedrichsfelde Castle as soloists, presenting programmes of their own devising with music ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day.