The Orpheus Chor München e. V. (= OCM) is a chamber choir which developed out of the larger choir of the Akademischen Gesang Verein (AGV) Munich in 1982. Its founder and conductor is Gerd Guglhör. The OCM’s goal was originally to ensure stylistically correct interpretations of demanding a-cappella vocal works from various epochs with only few voices to each part. The ensemble’s musical development, above all the expansion of its repertoire to include works for two choirs, made it necessary to increase the size of the choir. Today, it has ca. 55 active singers.
In the last ten years, the OCM has made a name for itself far beyond the confines of Munich, especially in the area of early music and historic performance practice. Its repertoire includes compositions from many musical epochs and styles. It has premiered works of composers currently living in Munich (including Enjott Schneider, Kai Westermann, Heinz Benker, Laurence Traiger) as well as seldom performed works such as 4 to 40-voice works by Girolamo Frescobaldi, Francesco Cavalli, Francisco Guerrero and Thomas Tallis. The OCM’s broad spectrum is reflected in its many concerts. Not only does the OCM perform regularly in Munich’s Markus Church, it is a frequent guest in various concert series, including the musica sacra viva and subscription series of various Munich presenters as well as the Benediktbeuern summer concerts and European Festwochen Passau.
The OCM has also participated in choir festivals at home and abroad and at special themed events such as the Munich Hindemith Festival, the Messiaen Festival, Lasso Festival and the Artists’ Ash Wednesday. In 1994, the OCM won the Golden Diploma at the international choir competition in Riva; in 2000 it received the Orlando-di-Lasso medal of the Bayerischen Sängerbund for its work. In early 2002, the OCM celebrated its 20th anniversary with a performance of the B Minor Mass (BWV 232) in Munich’s Herkulessaal.
The high standing of the OCM is also documented by its intensive cooperation with the Bavarian Radio Broadcasting Corporation. Many of its concerts have been recorded in past years by the BR. In addition to new choral music by Francis Poulenc, Copland, Benjamin Britten, Ligeti, Françaix, Paul Hindemith, Debussy and other, a series on polyphony with works by Josquin, Orlando di Lasso, J.S. Bach and Ligeti was produced. In November 1994, the BR produced a six-part series on J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (BWV 245) with the OCM and the Neue Hofkapelle München on original instruments. The OCM has regularly been invited to record CDs since 1994.