Flexibility, impeccable intonation, perfect articulation and its unmistakable warm, richly contrasted sound make the Rundfunkchor Berlin a much sought-after partner for internationally renowned orchestras and conductors.  Founded in 1925 in Berlin for radio recordings, the choir has given historical debut performances under the direction of such conductors as Szell, Scherchen, Klemperer, and Kleiber.  Following the Second World War, it was the first to perform Handel’s oratories unabridged and unrevised under the direction of Helmut Koch.  Dietrich Knothe (1982–1993) shaped the choir into an instrument of precision for the most demanding literature ranging from the Renaissance through to the experimental avant-garde.  Robin Gritton (1994–2001) enriched its colour palette and internationalized its repertoire.  Since 2001, Simon Halsey leads the Rundfunkchor Berlin.  The central focus of his work is on precision and subtle colour mixtures.  Particular emphasis has been placed on the lively, instantaneous power of the choir’s interpretations.  With Rodion Shchedrin’s Der versiegelte Engel (2005) and Christian Jost’s Angst (2006), the series “Broadening the Scope of Choral Music”, which integrates multiple art forms, was begun.  In 2007 the eight-hour night watch, The Veil of the Temple by Sir John Tavener was performed;  in 2008 the St. Matthew Passion by Ernst Pepping;  in 2009 the Johannes Passion by MacMillan.  In terms of education, the exchange between professional and amateur singers is encouraged and supported.  Since 2003, Simon Halsey has invested in sing-along concerts at the Philharmonie Berlin with thousands of participants.  Other special concert formats have followed:  the LeaderChor Berlin for business managers and the Liederbörse for young people.  In addition, the Rundfunkchor Berlin cooperates on the internationally respected dance projects of the Berliner Philharmoniker, to which the choir is connected through a very close working partnership.  Together the two ensembles won the Grammy Award for the category Best Choral Performance with Brahms’ Deutsches Requiem (2008) and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms (2009).  The choir equally enjoys its constant partnerships with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, joined to both through roc berlin.  The Rundfunkchor Berlin is also regularly seen in opera productions.  In the summer of 2009, it debuted at the Aix en Provence Festival with Wagner’s Götterdämmerung under Sir Simon Rattle and Mozart’s Idomeneo under Marc Minkowski.  Even in the world of cinema the Rundfunkchor Berlin is present.  The ensemble performed the song Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh heard in the cine film Operation Valkyrie.  At the wish of the composer John Ottman, the vocal power of the Rundfunkchor is central to his film music.  At present, a film is being produced with the award-winning production firm Boomtownmedia in which the Rundfunkchor Berlin has the main part.  This film will give focus to the Broadening Project 2007:  the performance of Sir John Tavener’s seven-hour masterpiece The Veil of the Temple, performed at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin’s museum for contemporary art.  The Rundfunkchor Berlin is an ensemble belonging to the Rundfunk Orchester und Chöre GmbH Berlin. Shareholders are Deutschlandradio, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Land Berlin, and Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg.

© Rundfunkchor Berlin – 2009/10 Season

Rundfunk Chor Berlin | Conductor Simon Halsey


Der Rundfunkchor Berlin ist ein Ensemble der roc berlin. Gesellschafter sind Deutschlandradio, die Bundesrepublik Deutschland, das Land Berlin und der Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg.

Simon Halsey has been Chief Conductor of the Rundfunkchor Berlin since 2001. He is internationally in demand as conductor and lecturer; he also holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham, is to be guest lecturer and conductor at the University of Minnesota (2009) and Yale University (2011), and is professor at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff. Born in 1958 in London, he became Music Director at the University of Warwick at age 22. Beginning in 1982 he led the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus; from 1989 to 1994 he was Artistic Director of the Salisbury Festivals and Choral Director of the Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp; from 1997 to 2008 he was Guest and later Chief Conductor of the Rundfunkchor Hilversum.

© Rundfunkchor Berlin – 2009/10 Season

Simon Halsey