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Rudolf Kelber (Conductor, Organ, Harpsichord)

Born: 1948 - Traunstein, Bavaria, Germany

The German conductor, organist and Harpsichordist, Rudolf Kelber, began his extensive musical education already during high school in Nürnberg State Conservatory and received instruction in the subjects piano, organ, violoncello and music theory. After the graduation exam in 1967 he began to study church music at the Musikhochschule in München, later added deepened conducting and organ studies. Among his teachers were Karl Richter and Franz Lehrndorfer (organ), Maria Landes-Hindemith and Erik Then-Bergh (piano), as well as Jan Koetsier and Kurt Eichhorn (conducting). In 1972 he received the Richard-Strauss Prize of the city Munich. He went to study as Theaterkapellmeister first to Gelsenkirchen (1974) and Heidelberg (1976). Parallel to this activity he began an intensive occupation with the Harpsichord playing and generally with performance practice of early music, thus in courses with Alan Curtis and Gustav Leonhardt and with the attendance of the Salzburg lecture’s Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

In the consequence some productions of Baroque operas (of Cavalieri, Monteverdi, Stradella, Purcell, Händel and Gluck) under his direction developed, partly at the Theater in Heidelberg, partly in Hamburg, where Rudolf Kelber was appointed in 1982 as the successor of Heinz Wunderlich as Kantor and organist at the Hauptkirche St. Jacobi.

Already soon after assumption of office, the century project of a fundamental restoration of the Arp-Schnitger organ, the largest sounding Baroque organ in existence, was initiated, and supplied in Easter 1993 an all-side admired realisation. Thus a special emphasis of Rudolf Kelber’s work lies on the organ, due already alone to the meaning of this incomparable instrument. A large number of organ concerts had its high point in the two performance cycles of the entire organ work of J.S. Bach (1985 and 1993/94). An expanded international concert activity as organist is somehow limited by his Kantor activities. Nevertheless, Kelber has appeared so far as organ soloist in nearly all European countries, like Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Lettland, Russia. A first USA tour took place in summer 1995.

Source: Bell'Arte Salzburg & Kantorei St. Jacobi Websites, English translation by Aryeh Oron (May 2004)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2004)

Rudolf Kelber: Short Biography | Kantorei St. Jacobi Hamburg | Cythara-Ensemble | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Bell'Arte Salzburg / Musiker / Rudolf Kelber [German]

Kantorei St. Jacobi [German]

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