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Robin Gritton (Conductor)

Born: England

The English conductor, Robin Gritton, attended the Royal College of Music in London and began his career as a pianist, cellist and singer. During the 1970s he was a member of distinguished London ensembles such as the BBC Singers and the John Alldis Choir, with which he undertook numerous international tours and recorded award-winning discs.

In 1980 Robin Gritton was put in charge of the Netherlands Radio Choir in Hilversum. He went on to conduct outstanding orchestras and appeared in all major European concert halls, with special emphasis on the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In Germany, he worked more and more frequently with the radio orchestras of WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, RIAS and NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg. Since 1986 he has maintained an intense partnership with the NDR Chor in Hamburg. He was principal guest conductor of this choir from 1992 and principal conductor from 1995 to 1997. In 1993 he began his association with the Rundfunkchor Berlin, serving as an inspirational principal conductor in the period 1994-2001 as successor to the legendary Dietrich Knothe.

In the course of his many years as a choir trainer Robin Gritton has acquired an unrivalled grasp of the choral repertoire from the Renaissance to the experimental avant-garde, including much out-of-the-way material. This is reflected in adventurous topical a cappella and choral-cum-orchestral programmes such as “Mozart in America”, “Spanish Impressions” or “The Star on the Horizon” (Unfamiliar German Christmas cantatas of the Romantic era), but also in monographic Johannes Brahms, Max Reger and Paul Hindemith projects. His interest in new music has brought him together with contemporary composers such as Luciano Berio, Globokar, Henze, Huber, Mauricio Kagel, György Kurtág, Messiaen, Schnittke, Stockhausen, Tippett and Xenakis. From his British vantage point he also resumed a tradition begun by Helmut Koch in the 1950s - annual George Frideric Handel performances given by the Rundfunkchor Berlin with the Rundfunk Symphonie-Orchester Berlin - and finally even tackled Monteverdi’s Vespers. The popular Christmas concerts of the Rundfunkchor Berlin at Berlin’s Cathedral became institutionalized under his direction.

The world’s foremost conductors regard Robin Gritton very highly, viewing him as a competent partner who approaches any work with sensitivity and stylistic assurance. He has brought out the best in the choir under maestros such as Claudio Abbado, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Herbert Blomstedt, Colin Davis, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Michael Gielen, James Levine, Janowski, Yehudi Menuhin, Kent Nagano, Simon Rattle, Georg Solti, Tate and many others. Under his baton, the Rundfunkchor Berlin not only performed regularly in the centres of European music, but also undertook much-acclaimed tours of New Zealand, Australia and the USA. The important, award-winning records Gritton has made with this ensemble include L.v. Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis under Georg Solti, Sergei Rachmaninov's Vespers Op.37 (CPO), a cappella music by J. Brahms, Strauss (Koch Schwann) and Paul Hindemith (Wergo), J.S. Bach's Kirnberger Choräle (Teldec), Arnold Schoenberg's Jakobsleiter (Denon and Naxos-Häussler) , György Kurtág's Songs of Despair and Sorrow and Messiaen's Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Koch International).

Now a free-lance artist living in Surrey, Robin Gritton is in great demand all over the world and regularly returns to the Rundfunkchor Berlin he once directed.

Source: Runfunkchor Berlin Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2005)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Robin Gritton


Chorales BWV 253-438, BWV 500a, 1084, 1089, 1122, 1123-1126 [w/ Rundfunkchor Berlin]

Links to other Sites

Robin Gritton (Rundfunkchor Berlin)

Profile: Robin Gritton (Hereford International Summer School)

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 05:57