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Monteverdi-Chor Hamburg (Choir)

Founded: 1955 - Hamburg, Germany

The Monteverdi-Chor Hamburg (Monteverdi-Chor) is one of Germany's most famous choirs. Founded by Jürgen Jürgens in 1955 as the choir of the Italian Cultural Institute Hamburg, it has been a member of the Academy for the Cultivation of Music, as a part of. the music department of the University of Hamburg since Jürgen Jürgens' nomination as University Music Director in 1961.

During the long period of Jürgen Jürgens as the director of the Monteverdi-Chor (1955-1994), its repertoire was composed of the a-cappella literature from the Middle Ages to the avant-garde. Emphasis was given to the works of Claudio Monteverdi and the music of the early Italian Baroque, although oratorios from J.S. Bach to Dalla-Piccola also formed part of the programme. During that period, the Monteverdi-Chor received numerous prizes in international competitions. Excellent recordings, mainly of the works of Monteverdi, have brought international fame to the choir. It toured almost all the countries of Western Europe, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, the Middle East including Israel, USA and Latin America.

In August 1994, the well known Leipzig conductor and singer Gothart Stier became the new artistic director of the Monteverdi-Chor, with which he had already appeared as guest conductor on a concert tour to the St. Petersburg Easter Music Festival in May 1994 and in a significant performance of George Frideric Handel's Messiah in the St. Michaelis Church in Hamburg.

Besides the main works of the early music canon, the wide repertoire of the Monteverdi-Chor includes music of the romantic period and contemporary music. Concert tours have taken the choir to nearly all western and eastern European countries, the Near and Far East, Australia, the USA and Latin America.
Numerous prizes from international competitions document the choir's successful work. The choir has worked together with such well known conductors as Arnold Östman, Frans Brüggen, Gerd Albrecht, Sergiu Comissiona, Yuri Ahronovitch and Ingo Metzmacher.

The work of Gothart Stier continues the tradition of the Monteverdi-Chor as an a cappella choir, though he has extended the repertoire of the choir in his own style through a series of performances of major oratorios. For these, some of which have been recorded on CD, the choir works with such well known orchestras as the Philharmonic Orchestra Halle, Mitteldeutsches Kammerorchester and Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig. Award-winning landmark recordings, mainly of early music, established the choir's reputation world wide. The choir was awarded the Brahms Medal of the City of Hamburg for its work as a music ambassador for the city.

Highlights of Gothart Stier's work with the choir so far have been a most successful concert tour to the Israel Festival in Jerusalem in May 1996, with Felix Mendelssohn's Hymn of Praise and an a cappella programme; a performance of F. Mendelssohn's Elijah in the famous St. Thomas Church in Leipzig; Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine in the Quedlinburg Music Summer 1997; the first performance of F. Mendelssohn's St. Paul in Israel during the Liturgica Festival in Jerusalem and the Musica Sacra Festival in Nazareth in 1998; a performance of Luigi Dallapiccola's Canti di prigionia during the Händel-Festival Halle 1999; a concert-tour to Guatemala and San Salvador in September 1999; a performance of L.v. Beethoven's Missa solemnis in the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig in October 1999; an a cappella concert tour in Germany in September 2000 and a concert tour in Germany with Verdi's Quattro pezzi sacri and Rossini's Stabat Mater in January 2001; a concert-tour to the Tuba Mirum Festival of the Hermitage St.Petersburg with F. Mendelssohnís Elijah and an a cappella programme and Pendereckis Seven gates of Jerusalem in June 2001; participation in the Händel-Festival Göttingen 2002; two performances of the Missa solemnis by L.v. Beethoven in the Festival "Musiksommer Mecklenburg-Vorpommern" in 2002; a concert tour to China in October 2003; a concert tour through Germany with G.F. Handelís Messiah in December 2003 and with Dvorakís Requiem in January 2004; an a cappella-Tour in Spring 2004; a concert tour to Baltic states in September 2004 and performances of F. Mendelssohnís Elijah in the 79th German Bach-Festival Hamburg and the Mendelssohn-Festival Leipzig together with members of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in October 2004.

Source: Programme notes to The Israel Chamber Orchestra hosts The Monteverdi Choir Hamburg (1982); Monteverdi-Chor Hamburg Website (left photo is made during a concert on October 3, 2000, © Traute Scheuermann)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2001, April 2004), Stefan A. Mühlenweg (January 2005)

Jürgen Jürgens: Short Biography | Monteverdi-Chor Hamburg | Recordings of Vocal Works | General Discussions

Links to other Sites

Monteverdi-Chor Hamburg (Official Website) [German/English]


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