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WDR Rundfunkchor Köln (Choir)

Founded: 1947 - Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

The WDR Rundfunkchor Köln (WDR Radio Choir Cologne) is the radio choir of the West German Radio. It was founded in 1947 as Kölner Rundfunkchor, and appeared for the first time on September 1, 1947 of the same year at the Pfarrsaal of St. Agnes. A precursor was in Kammerchor des Kölner Senders (Chamber Choir of Cologne station) launched in 1927. In 1940 the whole ensemble of the Reichssenders Köln resolved.

The repertoire of the WDR Rundfunkchor Köln, which consists of 48 singers, includes medieval music, contemporary composition, sacred music, operetta, big oratorios occupied with orchestra, computer and movie music. A particular focus is the employment of the choir with contemporary music: more than 150 world and German premieres were on the programs, including many commissioned works of WDR. Notable premieres were Arnold Schoenberg's Moses und Aron, Henze's Laudes, Stockhausen's Momente, Nono's Il canto sospeso, Pierre Boulez' Le Visage Nuptial, Zimmermann's Requiem für einen jungen Dichter, Penderecki's Lukas-Passion, Xenakis' Nuits, Luciano Berio's Coro, Höller's Der ewige Tag, Péter Eötvöss' IMA, Hosokawa's Die Lotosblume, etc.

From 2004 to 2011 Rupert Huber was chief conductor. Through his creative, transnational program concepts originated unique concerts that opened new perspectives of listening to the public. Various CD recordings document this work. In 2012 WDR Rundfunkchor Köln was awarded the Echo Klassik for the best choral work for recording of György Ligeti's Requiem. In the 2012-2013 season the choir worked with various guest conductors, Nicholas Kok, the principal guest conductor, and the firm choir-master David Marlow.

The WDR Rundfunkchor Köln performs regularly in the North Rhine-Westphalian churches cantatas, motets and especially a cappella literature. Especially close to the audience are the free music on-noon concerts in Cologne Minoritenkirche. The choir is also sought-after internationally. In the summer of 2013, the choir accompanied the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks & Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, conducted by Mariss Jansons with Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2 at the Salzburg Festival, the Lucerne Festival and the Proms in London. In October 2013, the WDR Rundfunkchor Köln sang together with the Rundfunkchor Berlin with the Berliner Philharmoniker under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle in A. Schoenberg's Gurrelieder.

Choir Directors

Chief Conductors


Bernhard Zimmermann (1950's)
Herbert Schernus (19621989)
Helmuth Froschauer (19921998)
Anton Marik (2001-2004)
Rupert Huber (2004-2011)
Nicholas Kok (Since 2012: Principal Guest Conductor)
Stefan Parkman (Since 2014)

Godfried Ritter (1997-2000)
Jörg Ritter (2004-2007)
David Marlow (2010-2013)
Robert Blank (Since 2013)

Members of the WDR Rundfunkchor Köln:





Martina von Bargen
Benita Borbonus
Andrea Henke
Gabriele Henkel
Friedegard Herwig-Haschke
Beatrice Huber
Sabine Kallhammer
Anke Lambertz
Isabel Lippitz
Insun Min-Neuburger
Christiane Rost
Maria Ungers
Dong-Hi Yi

Beate Borchert
Pauline Bourke
Michaela Dobmeier
Elisabeth Graf
Margit Hungerbühler-Luther
Ulrike Kamps-Paulsen
Beate Koepp
Ursula Kunz
Claudia Nüsse
Marietta Schwittay-Niedzwicki

Christian Dietz
Dirk Heidingsfelder
Kay Immer
Kwon-Shik Lee
Ulrich Löns
Boris Pohlmann
Wolfgang Reisert
Giovanni da Silva
Joachim Streckfuss
Nobuaki Yamamasu

Guido Kaiser
Martin Krasnenko
Hee-Kwang Lee
Harald Martini
Alexander Schmidt
Rolf Schmitz-Malburg
Arndt Schumacher


More Photos

Source: German Wikipedia Website (September 2014), English translation by Aryeh Oron (May 2015); WDR Website & WDR Rundfunkchor Köln profile on Facebook (Photos: WDR/Kianmehr)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2015)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Ferdinand Leitner


G.F. Handel: Opera Alcina, HWV 34

Helmuth Rilling


Radio: BWV 11 [2nd],BWV 43 [2nd]

Links to other Sites

WDR Rundfunkchor (Official Website) [German]
WDR Rundfunkchor on Facebook

WDR Rundfunkchor Köln (Wikipedia) [German]

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 06:22