30 years of Fall of the Berlin Wall
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
“Gran Partita” for twelve winds and and string bass in B-flat major, K 361
Mass No. 2 in E minor, WAB 27
for chorus and winds
Gijs Leenaars - Conductor
As of the 2015/16 season Gijs Leenaars has taken up his post as new Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of Rundfunkchor Berlin.
Ever since he successfully cooperated with outstanding conductors such as Simon Rattle, Christian Thielemann, John Eliot Garniner and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
In October 2017 he took over the musical direction for the genre crossing Concert performance “LUTHER dancing with the gods” with music by Bach, Nystedt and Reich in Berlins new Pierre Boulez Saal, the choir’s very first collaboration of Rundfunkchor Berlin with the renowned director Robert Wilson.
Moreover he directed a celebrated a capella programme in Autumn 2016 at the White Light Festival of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York as well as the choirs first-ever Tour through South America to Brasil, Chile and Argentina with the Brahms and Mozart-Requiem as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
Born in 1978 in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Leenaars is regarded as one of the most exciting choral conductors of the younger generation. He studied the piano, choral and orchestral conducting as well as singing in Nijmegen and Amsterdam. Directly upon completing his studies he embarked on a collaboration with the Netherlands Radio Choir (Groot Omroepkoor) in Hilversum.
From 2012 to 2015 he was the ensemble’s Principal Conductor, working with such leading conductors as Mariss Jansons, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Bernard Haitink and Valery Gergiev. He is a regular guest conductor of the Collegium Vocale of Ghent, Cappella Amsterdam and Netherlands Chamber Choir
and has also conducted orchestras including the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, The Hague Philharmonic and Turin Philharmonic.
One of his special interests is contemporary music: Gijs Leenaars conducted the Dutch premiere of Wolfgang Rihm’s „Vigilia” and prepared the choral works of György Kurtág with the Netherlands Radio Choir for a complete recording under Reinbert de Leeuw. His strikingly imaginative programming brings together the classics of the choral repertoire with seldom performed works from all periods.
Joo-hoon Shin - Intonation, Tenor
Joo-hoon Shin was born in Incheon, South Korea. He began studying classical voice at the Royal Welsh College of Music in Cardiff before later completing his studies with honors at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt Weimar in the class of Gudrun Fischer. He was already a soloist in numerous Bachcantatas and oratorios during his time as a student. Today he sings in concerts and song recitals in the Philharmonie Berlin, the Konzerthaus Berlin, the Berliner Dom and in churches in Berlin and Brandenburg. He joined the Rundfunkchor Berlin in 2014 as a permanent member and also performs as a soloist regularly.
With around 60 concerts annually, numerous CDs and three Grammys, Rundfunkchor Berlin is one of the world’s foremost choruses. Its wide-ranging repertoire, flexible and richly nuanced sound, flawless precision and enthralling delivery have made it the chosen partner of the major orchestras and conductors in its home city but also internationally, where it functions as a musical ambassador for Berlin in the great concert halls of the world. It is so much more than just a concert and studio chorus.
Along with its symphonic choral central repertoire, Rundfunkchor Berlin is constantly forging new paths by means of projects that burst the bounds of the classical concert format and allow choral music to interact with other art forms. The choreographic realization of the Brahms Requiem as “human requiem” by Jochen Sandig with Sasha Waltz & Guests represents a milestone. Following acclaimed performances in Brussels, Taipei and Hong Kong, the work was performed during the 2016-17 season in Berlin, New York and South America. In Christian Jost’s LOVER, a music-theatre piece premiered in 2014 in Berlin’s Kraftwerk, Western symphonic choral music meets a traditional Asian percussion ensemble. In its most recent project, “cosmic lights”, in 2016, Rundfunkchor Berlin presented a multimedia programme based on celestial phenomena including the Northern Lights.
Rundfunkchor Berlin is constantly developing new and unusual ways of experiencing choral music and stimulating choruses all over the world to follow its lead. In formats such as the Sing-Along Concert in the Berlin Philharmonie, the Liederbörse (Song Exchange) for Berlin’s school choirs and the project Hand in Hand, it is working intensively with committed amateur choirs. With its International Master Class for choral conducting and the Academy and Schola for young singers, it is fostering the next generation of professionals. And to help make singing an intrinsic component of the primary school day, it created the initiative SING! in 2011.
Founded in 1925, the chorus celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2015. Since its inception, it has been shaped by conductors like Helmut Koch, Dietrich Knothe (1982-93), Robin Gritton (1994-2001) and Simon Halsey (2001-15). At the beginning of 2015-16 season, Gijs Leenaars assumed the position of Principal Conductor and Artistic Director. Simon Halsey retains his ties to Rundfunkchor Berlin as Conductor Laureate and Guest Conductor. Rundfunkchor Berlin is an ensemble of Rundfunk Orchester und Chöre GmbH Berlin and is sponsored by Deutschlandradio, the German Federal Republic, the state of Berlin and Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg.
Commemorative concert with the Rundfunkchor Berlin in the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche
Concert introduction: Concert without introduction