“Faust”-Ouvertüre op. 46
“Faust. Der Tragödie 2. Teil” – Kantate für Sopran, Frauenchor und Orchester
Gesang der Geister über den Wassern D 714
Ludwig van Beethoven
“Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt” für Chor und Orchester nach Goethe op. 112
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
“Die erste Walpurgisnacht” für Soli, Chor und Orchester op. 60
Ralf Sochaczewsky - Conductor
Ralf Sochaczewsky received conducting lessons under Christian Grube and Marc Piollet at the Berlin University of the Arts. Later he studied choir conducting under Jörg-Peter Weigle and orchestral conducting under Prof. Reuter at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler”.
He directs the Berlin choir Cantus Domus, with which he won a 1st prize at the Berlin Choir Competition in 2017 and a 3rd prize at the 8th Choir Competition of the Deutscher Musikrat in Dortmund . From 1998 to 2012, he conducted the Ensemberlino Vocale choir and successfully participated in choir competitions (1st prize at Chorfest Bremen (Bremen Choir Festival) 2008).
He regularly works with choirs like the Berlin Vocalconsort, the Cappella Amsterdam, the RIAS Kammerchor, and the Berliner Rundfunkchor.
In 2016, he conducted the European premiere of the oratorio “Anthracite Fields” by Julia Wolfe, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2015, with the DR Vocalensemble and Bang on a Can-All Stars.
Ralf Sochaczewsky has performed with orchestras such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the National Radio Orchestra Bucharest, and the Chamber Orchestra of the Minsk Philharmonic. He conducted operas at the Bolshoi Theatre Moscow, the Komische Oper Berlin, the Opera National du Rhin, and the Lithuanian National Opera.
Ralf Sochaczewsky collaborated with various pop groups and artists such as Stargaze and André de Ridder, Bon Iver, Damien Rice, Lisa Hannigan, and Tocotronic. With Cantus Domus, he is a regular guest at festivals such as HaldernPop and KalternPop.
He teaches choral conducting at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler”. For his great service to the Berlin choir scene, the Chorverband Berlin awarded him the Geschwister Mendelssohn Medal in 2017.
Alice Lackner - Soprano
Alice Lackner is internationally active as an opera, concert and lied singer. She has worked closely with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski and the lautten compagney under Wolfgang Katschner. She has also sung with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Essen Philharmonic, the Russian State Orchestra Kaliningrad, the Brandenburg State Orchestra, Ensemble 1700 (under Dorothee Oberlinger), L’Orfeo, La Banda, Concerto Theresia, Stiftsbarock Stuttgart and le buisson prospérant.
Previous engagements have taken her to the Berlin Philharmonie and the Berlin Konzerthaus, the Aalto Theatre in Essen, the Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth, the Potsdam Sanssouci Music Festival, the Berlin Music Festival, the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest, the Innsbruck Early Music Festival and the Mosel Music Festival. Various recordings for Deutschlandfunk, ARTE Concert as well as her debut CD “Ernsthaft?!” (GENUIN 2021) are proof of her artistic creativity.
Alice Lackner studied singing with Prof. Kunz-Eisenlohr at the HfMT Cologne/Aachen and is currently receiving further training from Sami Kustaloglu. She is a scholarship holder of the German National Academic Foundation and a prizewinner of “cantatebach!”, the chamber opera Schloss Rheinsberg, and of the “Podium junger Gesangssolisten”. She is also a sociologist at ZOiS Berlin.
Verena Usemann - Alto
Hamburg-born mezzo-soprano Verena Usemann performed a great variety of the lyrical mezzo repertoire as an ensemble-member of the Landestheater Coburg 2010-2017. She appeared as Rosina (Der Barbier von Sevilla), Varvára (Káťa Kabanová), Romeo (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), Olga (Yevgény Onégin) as well as in the leading role of Handel’s Rinaldo.
During the 2013/2014 season Verena was nominated for “Nachwuchssängerin des Jahres” (young artist of the year) by Opernwelt for her performances of Mélisande (Pelléas et Mélisande) and Orpheus (Orfeo ed Euridice).
Following maternity leave, she returned to the stage in 2016 as Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier), Dido (Dido and Aeneas) and was critically acclaimed for her interpretations of Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro ) and The Raven by Toshio Hosokawa (German premier).
From 2008-2010 Usemann was engaged at the Theater für Niedersachsen (Hildesheim) where she started building up her repertoire with Frau Reich (Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor), Mercedes (Carmen), Zaida (Il Turco in Italia), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Prinz Orlowsky (Die Fledermaus), Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel) and Magdalene (Die Meistersinger).
Usemann also appeared as Hänsel with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra in Doha and as Dorabella (Cosí fan tutte) at the Opernfestival Gut Immling.
The young mezzo-soprano takes special interest in contemporary music. In December 2018, she jumped in a Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin production at the Konzerthaus Berlin under the baton of Vladimir Jurowski singing the mezzo part of John Adams´ “El Niño“.
She has performed with the LINOS-Ensemble, the ensemble risonanze erranti as well as with the Kammerensemble für Neue Musik Berlin and made her debut with the NDR symphony orchestra in „Moses and Aron“ (A. Schönberg) 2017 at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.
Verena Usemann studied in Leipzig (Regina Werner-Dietrich), Vienna (Claudia Visca) and Berlin (Prof. Robert Gambill) and graduated summa cum laude. The foundations of her musical education were years of training in cello and piano as well as her membership of the children’s choir at the Staatsoper Hamburg.
Since 2018 she has been working freelance and is based in Berlin.
Manuel Nickert - Baritone
The young tenor Maximilian Vogler, a native of Konstanz, performs as a soloist throughout Germany and in neighbouring countries. He has performed with the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, the Southwest German Philharmonic Orchestra, the Zuidnederland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lautten Compagney Berlin, the baroque orchestras La Banda Augsburg, Gli Angeli Geneve, and L’arpa festante, among others. He maintains several chamber music formations, with a special focus on Lied. He appeared in a children’s production at the Zurich Opera House and in J. Haydn’s “Lo Speziale” at the Rathausoper Konstanz. In 2022 he made his debut at the Philharmonie Berlin. He has a close collaboration with the Origen Festival Cultural (CH).
In 2022 he recorded his first CD as soloist in Bach’s St John Passion with Gli Angeli Genève under Stephan Macleod, which will be released in 2023. He is a scholarship holder of the LIEDBasel Festival and the Lyra Foundation, recipient of sponsorship awards from his hometown of Constance, the Lake Zurich Music Organisation, the Dienemann Foundation Lucerne and the Richard Wagner Association.
From 2012 to 2016 he studied at the HfM Detmold with Prof. G. Romberger, where he received important impulses. From 2016 to 2020, he deepened his training with Prof. Werner Güra at the Zurich University of the Arts, where he graduated with distinction.
Maximilian Vogler - Tenor
Manuel Nickert, born in 1994 in Berlin, studied vocals at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music Berlin with Thomas Quasthoff and Renate Faltin from 2014 to 2022. He can be heard in numerous concerts in Berlin and the surrounding area, including with the lautten compagney, the Prometheus Ensemble Berlin, the Neues Kammerorchester Potsdam and the Cappella Sagittariana in Dresden. The young baritone also took on many roles in new music, for example with the Ensemble Ilinx at the MEHRLICHT!MUSIK festival, in several world premieres of the “Berliner Atonale” series at the Staatsoper Berlin and in the world premiere of Siegfried Matthus’ “Luthers Träume” with the Brandenburg State Orchestra. Since 2018 he has been a substitute singer in the RIAS Kammerchor and the Rundfunkchor Berlin. In 2014 he also began studies in choral conducting at the HfM Hanns Eisler. In summer 2020, he successfully completed a master’s degree in choral conducting at the University of Birmingham in England with Prof. Simon Halsey.
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.