In 1984 the Kettwiger Bach-Ensemble (= KBE) were created in Kettwig, a district of the ruhrmetropole Essen (Germany), by his current conductor Wolfgang Kläsener. It consists of approximately 25 young musicians (most of them amateurs). Once a month they travel from all over Germany to Kettwig for an rehearsal or concert weekend.
The repertoire KBE comprises predominantly sacred and profane a-cappella-literature of all epochs. It cover from the early part singing over renassaince madrigales and baroque motets up to contempory compositions, e.g. Gyoergy Ligeti, Arvo Pärt and Dieter Schnebel. Apart from the compositions of J.S. Bach the opera of Francis Poulenc plays an important part.
The KBE distinguishes itself by an alive interpretation of the selected opera as well as by an very transparent timbre. By rarely interpreted compositions it made itself a name in and outside of germany. Apart from regular concerts in Essen and other parts of North Rhine-Westphalia as well as in Southern Germany numerous concert journeys, festivals and competitions led the choir to Italy, Israel, Austria, France and Switzerland.
In 1991 the KBE won five awards at the international choir competition of Arezzo (Italy): 1st Prize category mixed choirs, 1st Prize category vocal ensemble (ex aequo), Special prize for the best interpretation of a solo casted composition, Special prize for the conductor, Grand Prix of the city Arezzo for the total winner of the competition. In 1993 the KBE tock part at the 3rd international chamber choir competition Marktoberdorf (Germany) and was confirmed with a 2nd Prize. Again two years later on pentecoast 1995 they participated at the 24th Florilege Vocal de Tours (France), anotherone of the important European competitions. Here they were honored with three prizes: 1st Prize category free program, 2nd Prize category mixed choirs, Special prize of the French Secretary of cultural affairs for the best interpretation of French choir music. In the summer 1995 KBE participated with great success in a performance of Henry Purcellís The Fairy Queen in the context of the castle concerts in Brühl (near Bonn).
Concert tours to international festivals and workshops. In 1996 followed a co-operation with Simon Carrington, an initial member of the Kingís Singers. He had heard KBE at the competition in Tours and had suggested a common Workshop.
Further milestones of the work were: 1997 - Performance of the Mass in B minor (BWV 232) of J.S. Bach with Berlin Baroque in the Kreuzeskirche, Essen; 1998 - Performance of the Marien Vesper of C. Monteverdi in Templin (Live in the Germany Radio Berlin) and Müncheberg (near Berlin) with L'Estro Armonico; 1999 - Performance of the Marien Vesper of C. Monteverdi in Recklinghausen, Essen and Dortmund with Concerto Vivo, Dortmund; 1999 - three appearances during the International Building Exhibition Emscherpark - Finale '99; 2000 - Tour with Uri Caine: Goldberg Variations - concerts in Wuppertal, Köln, Dresden, Munich, Luzern, Turin, Milan, Düsseldorf, 2001 in Ansbach; 2001 - Appearance at the Holland Festival, Amsterdam; 2002 - Gustav Mahler: 3rd Symphony in Krefeld.
CD recordings: 1994 - Edward Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius with Kantorei Barmen-Gemarke; 1997 - J.S. Bach: Messe in B minor (BWV 232) with Berlin Baroque; 1998 - F. Poulenc: Gloria, Giles Swayne: Magnificat, various live recordings; 2000 - Uri Caine / J.S. Bach: The Goldberg Variations.