Cantus Domus - Choir

Cantus Domus was founded 25 years ago by Lena Schoenfelder. This great, at the time almost audacious idea of forming a choir at the Haus der Jugend in Berlin-Zehlendorf was inspiring and forward-looking. On its way into the present, the choir – from the beginning under the artistic direction of Ralf Sochaczewsky – has enriched and inspired many people. Over the years, musical encounters and collaborations have taken the choir to many cities in Germany and to Belarus, Poland, Nicaragua, England, Norway, France, Georgia and the Netherlands. In the process, Cantus Domus has been accompanied by a great cultural curiosity, diverse forms of musical expression and impressive concert formats.

The Corona pandemic and its accompanying restrictions have dramatically affected the musical and cultural landscape. Like countless choirs in this country and around the world, Cantus Domus has had to cancel planned concerts and concert tours. Due to the restrictions, the choir has unfolded new formats of choral, rehearsal and recording work and thus also allowed its entire artistic creative process to take place in new ways. In a short period of time, unique digital cooperation projects have been carried out with artists such as Shara Nova, Gaby Moreno, the Georgian women’s choir Tutarchela, Nicholas Müller, Grainne Hunt and Mohannad Nasser.

Cantus Domus opens up new approaches to choral music for its audiences with immersive productions and innovative collaborations. As a classical concert choir, it often seeks ways beyond common performance routines, for example by performing in unusual concert venues (J. S. Bach: “B Minor Mass”, Kraftwerk Berlin, 2015) or by involving the audience in its concerts (J. S. Bach: “St Matthew Passion”, Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Philharmonie, 2018). One of the choir’s trademarks is the format of the so called Concept Concerts, which was developed by Paul Liebrecht in 2008 and has been constantly refined. Here Cantus Domus regularly stages elaborately choreographed and musically demanding performances in unusual spaces (Arthur Honegger: “Le Roi David” in the Vollgutlager of the Alte Kindl Brewery in cooperation with choreographer Christoph Winkler, 2017; “Synthesis” for choir, synthesiser and DJ in the Kindl Centre for Contemporary Art and Culture, 2015 or “Singingpool” in the Stadtbad Steglitz, 2008).

In the last four years before the Corona pandemic, since the premiere of a choral opera staged and excellently reviewed by Cantus Domus (Frank Schwemmer: “Macbeth”, 2016, directed by C. Rindfleisch, libretto: U. Küchler/J. Fraune), Cantus Domus performed  in five countries and cooperated with around 40 orchestras, partner choirs and bands in around 50 performances and concerts. Inspiring international encounters have recently taken place with Wood River from New York, Vox Humana (Oslo), Fahmi Alqhai and the Accademia del Piacere (from Spain, Syria and elsewhere) as well as with the Georgian choirs Shavnabada and Tutarchela. In 2018, Cantus Domus and Bang on a Can All-Stars (New York) gave the German premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize for Music-winning oratorio Anthracite Fields in Berlin.

Cantus Domus has worked with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (RSB) and Vladimir Jurowski (2019), the Kammerakademie Potsdam and Antonello Manacorda (2018), the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Neeme Järvi (2018), the Konzerthausorchester Berlin (2013), the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Jonathan Nott (2012), and the Rundfunkchor Berlin and Simon Halsey (2007), among others.

In addition to its numerous concerts with large ensembles, Cantus Domus also performs with various chamber ensembles in smaller projects. In the process, the choir increasingly moves into the border areas between classical and indie/pop, for example with performances at festivals such as People, Kaltern Pop and Haldern Pop, as well as collaborations with Bon Iver, Charlotte Greve, Damien Rice, Helga Davis, Kjartan Sveinsson, Kurt Wagner, Lisa Hannigan, Loney Dear, Mads Brauer, Shara Nova, Stargaze, The Slow Show and Tocotronic, among others.