Thanks to its special homogeneous sound and its stylistic versatility, covering every area of choral singing from the medieval motet to contemporary music, and from oratorios to operas, the Bavarian Radio Chorus enjoys top prestige throughout the world. Its main points of focus fall on the great choral symphonies, contemporary vocal music and joint performances with such period ensembles as Il Giardino Armonico, Concerto Köln and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.
In recent years the chorus’s guest performances have taken it to all the musical hot spots in Europa and Asia as well. It is regularly featured at the Salzburg Festival, the Easter Festivals in Salzburg and Baden-Baden, Lucerne Festival, Deutsches Mozartfest, Maggio Musicale Firenze and the Rheingau Music Festival, to mention only a few.
Top-calibre European orchestras, such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics and the Dresden Staatskapelle, value their working relations with the Bavarian Radio Chorus. Most recently the chorus has given concerts with conductors of the stature of Giovanni Antonini, Andris Nelsons, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Robin Ticciati and Iván Fischer as well as Herbert Blomstedt and Christian Thielemann.
The Bavarian Radio Choir was founded in 1946. Its rise to supreme artistry took place in close conjunction with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, both of which were headed by their principal conductor Mariss Jansons from 2003 to 2019. Sir Simon Rattle signed an initial five-year contract as the new principal conductor beginning with the 2023/24 concert season. It has maintained its own successful concert series in Munich since 1998.
The artistic director of the Bavarian Radio Chorus is the London-born conductor and composer Howard Arman. Versatility is one of his principal artistic concerns. As a result he has made a name for himself in every area of classical music, no matter what the period, genre or form, from Baroque concertos performed according to the tenets of historically informed performance practice to choral symphonies, operas, jazz programmes and singalong concerts that he himself presents and that are designed to appeal to the widest possible audiences.
The BR Chorus distinguishes itself on a regular basis with world premières in the Music Viva series and its own subscription concerts. In keeping with the educational mission of Germany’s public broadcasters, it often takes an active part in projects with an educational slant. It promotes young soloists and conductors by arranging concert engagements or inviting them to its Choral Conducting Forum. It also frequently opens its ranks to performances with amateurs in its ‘cOHRwürmer’ sing-along concerts. Furthermore, it regularly releases recordings of the great oratorios with knowledgeable introductions on its own CD label BR-KLASSIK, most recently Mozart’s Requiem.
The BR Chorus has received countless prestigious prizes for its CD recordings, including several Echo/Opus Klassik awards. The DVD edition of Bach’s St John Passion was included in the winners’ list for the German Record Critics Prize (February 2017). In 2021, the BR Chorus received the ICMA in the category „Choral Music“ and the Diapason d’or découverte for the CD with Kuljerić’s Croatian Glagolitic Requiem. Other Diapason d’or-winning albums include Rachmaninov – The Bells and Poppe – Fett / Ich kann mich an nichts erinnern.
Among the CDs that the BR Chorus has released under its artistic director Howard Arman are two editions of Christmas Surprises, Handel’s Occasional Oratorio, Bach’s motets, Mendelssohn’s large-scale psalm settings, Mozart’s C minor Mass and an early version of Dvořák’s Stabat mater, an album of great choral works by Edward Elgar and a CD with Arvo Pärt’s rarely recorded Miserere. Under the direction of Giovanni Antonini, the BR Chorus contributed Haydn’s „Creation“ to the large-scale CD cycle „Haydn 2032“.
The designated chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra is Sir Simon Rattle, who will take over the post in summer 2023.