Gulbenkian Orchestra and Choir
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Florian Helgath is emerging as one of the leading choral conductors of the young generation. Since 2011 Florian Helgath has been Artistic Director of the Chorwerk Ruhr. Since 2017 he is also Artistic Director of the Zürcher Sing-Akademie. With these vocal ensembles he creates choir music of all periods on the highest level both in A cappella and with orchestras.
Florian Helgath has held the position as conductor of the Danish National Choir from 2009 to 2015. In addition he was Artistic Director of the Via Nova Choir Munich from 2008 to 2016. With this ensemble he has conducted numerous acclaimed first performances and has been awarded with international prizes.
Florian Helgath is also a regular guest conductor of the SWR Vokalensemble, RIAS Kammerchor, MDR Leipzig Radio Choir, Choir of the Bavarian Radio, Vocalconsort Berlin, Netherlands Radio Choir, Choeur de Radio France, Flemish Radio Choir, Norwegian Soloists’ Choir, Warsaw Philharmonic Choir among others and collaborates with orchestras as Concerto Köln, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, B’Rock Orchestra, Orchestra La Scintilla, Aarhus Symphony & Choir, Stavanger Symphony & Choir, South Denmark Philharmonic & Choir Brussels Philharmonic, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, WDR Funkhausorchester, Münchner Symphoniker, Bochumer Symphoniker, Dortmunder Philharmoniker, Berner Kammerorchester, Odense Symphony, Danish Chamber Orchestra and Ensemble Resonanz.
Concerts led him to major concert halls and festivals as the Berliner Festspiele, Schwetzingen Festival, Audi Summer Concerts, Eclat Festival Stuttgart, Thüringer Bachwochen and particularly to the Ruhrtriennale with contemporary opera performances and numerous manifold projects. In addition to A cappella projects, Florian Helgath's focus is increasingly on performances of choral and symphonic repertoire.
Upcoming highlights include guest conducting with South Denmark Philharmonic & Chor, Bochum Symphony & Chorwerk Ruhr, Slowenian Philharmonic, RIAS Kammerchor, Choeur de Radio France, Hungarian Radio Choir, Israeli Vocal Ensemble, Netherlands Radio Choir, concerts with Chorwerk Ruhr at Muziekgebouw Amsterdam among others.
Florian Helgath’s discography includes a number of prize-winning recordings as Praetorius & Italy with RIAS Kammerchor, Capella de la Torre for Sony Classical/deutsche harmonia mundi, Mozart Requiem (version Michael Ostrzyga 2019), Brahms Requiem (piano version) with Chorwerk Ruhr for Coviello Classics, the album Sacred Songs with works by J.S. Bach, Reger, Knut Nystedt with MDR Leipzig Radio Choir, (ICMA Award 2017), Da Pacem: Echo der Reformation with RIAS Kammerchor and Capella de la Torre (ECHO Klassik 2017), Three choirs A cappella by Walter Furrer with Zürcher Sing-Akademie at SRF2 Kultur, music by Palestrina and Wagner with MDR Leipzig Radio Choir, J.S. Mayr Missa in c – Stabat Mater with Orpheus Vokalensemble and Concerto Köln as well as Contemporary A A cappella music with Via Nova Chor. The recording of Tigran Mansurian's Requiem with RIAS Kammerchor prepared by Florian Helgath and the Munich Chamber Orchestra for ECM Records had been nominated for a Grammy in 2018.
In October 2020 Florian Helgath has been appointed as professor at the University of Music and Dance in Cologne, where he teaches choral conducting in Bachelor and Master programmes.
Florian Helgath’s initial experience started as a chorister in his native city with the Regensburger Domspatzen. He studied choral conducting at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich and graduated in 2008 with a Masters Degree. Among his most important teachers are Michael Gläser, Stefan Parkman, Dan-Olof Stenlund who influenced him largely in his career as conductor.
As a prizewinner and finalist of the Eric Ericson Award 2006 and Competition for Young Choral Conductors in Budapest 2007, Florian Helgath had drawn the attention of the international choral music scene.
Johanna Winkel initially gained an excellent reputation in the Early Music scene and has since consistently been expanding her stylistic range to include Romantic and Modern repertoire. In concert she has sung with musicAeterna conducted by Teodor Currentzis, the Bonn Beethoven Orchestra conducted by Christof Prick, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Peter Dijkstra, the Cologne WDR Symphony Orchestra and Simon Halsey, Trevor Pinnock, Václav Luks, Jeffrey Tade, Frieder Bernius, Sylvain Cambreling, Alexander Liebreich, Howard Arman, Hans-Christoph Rademann, with the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra and Iván Fischer and many more.
Johanna Winkel also appears regularly on the opera stage. After already having performed the roles of Mimi, Donna Elvira and Micaela during her studies, she went on to sing the roles of Alcina (Handel, Alcina), Rosalinde (J. Strauss, Die Fledermaus), Agathe (Weber, Der Freischütz) and Leonore (Beethoven, Fidelio) at prominent opera houses in Germany to great success. Gerhilde in Wagner’s Die Walküre marked her début at the Salzburg Easter Festival under the baton of Christian Thielemann in 2017 and she subsequently repeated this role with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jaap van Zweden and at Semperoper Dresden. After her first performances in 2016, Beethoven’s Leonore as become one of her signature roles and she has reprised it at the 2018 Styriarte Festival under the baton of Andrés Orozco-Estrada and in 2020 with Wroclaw Boroque Orchestra under the baton of Jos van Immerseel.
Johanna Winkel has contributed as a soloist to numerous prizewinning recordings. Her CD releases include Louis Spohr’s Die letzten Dinge with the Bremen Kammerphilharmonie, Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron with the SWR Symphony Orchestra, works by Mendelssohn with the Bavarian Radio Choir and Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Marianne Beate Kielland is established as one of the foremost singers of Europe and is the only Norwegian singer to have received a US Grammy nomination in the category «Best Vocal Classical Album». The versatile mezzo-soprano started her international career as an ensemble member of the Staatsoper Hannover, and since then she has been working frequently with leading orchestras and ensembles and enjoying a vast concert repertoire spanning from early 17th century works through to Classical, Romantic and the contemporary eras.
She has appeared with major orchestras and ensembles including Wiener Symphoniker, Oslo Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Belgian National Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Dutch Radio Orchestra, Orchestra of the 18th century, Iceland Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Royal Flemish Orchestra, Akademie für alte Musik Berlin, Concerto Köln, Europa Galante, Les Talens Lyriques, RIAS Kammerchor, Anima Eterna, Le Concert des Nations, Collegium Vocale Gent and Bach Collegium Japan; and has worked with such distinguished conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, Leonardo Alarcon, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Fabio Biondi, Thomas Dausgaard, Fabio Luisi, Michel Corboz, Juanjo Mena, John Fiore, Philippe Herreweghe, Manfred Honeck, René Jacobs, Andrew Manze, Marc Minkowski, Vasily Petrenko, Daniel Reuss, André de Ridder, Helmut Rilling, Christophe Rousset, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Jordi Savall, Masaaki Suzuki, Thomas Søndergård and Robin Ticciati.
Kielland is also in great demand for Baroque operatic roles including Dido in Dido and Aeneas by Purcell, Merope in Vivaldi's Oracolo in Messenia (an extensive tour with Europa Galante), Messaggiera and Proserpina in Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Fernando in Attilio Ariosti’s La Fede nei tradimenti, Apollo in Handel's Terpsichore, Ercole in Caldara’s Il piu bel nome, Monteverdi's Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Aronne in Francesco Nicolò Fago’s Il Faraone Sommerso. She has also appeared as Fricka in Wagner’s Das Rheingold.
Kielland has made more than 50 CD recordings of oratorios, operas, cantatas and songs by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Caldara, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Schumann, Mahler, Mussorgsky, Martin, Chausson, Korngold, von Suppé, Schönberg, Webern, Berg and Sigurd Islandsmoen. In 2012 she was nominated to a GRAMMY Award in the category Best Classical Vocal Solo for the album Veslemøy Synsk, which features works by composers Edvard Grieg and Olav Anton Thommesen. She performs regularly with pianist Nils Anders Mortensen and the duo has appeared in Norway, Germany Estonia, Russia and Finland. She has also appeared with pianists such as Leif Ove Andsnes, Pascal Roge, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Lise de la Salle and Jos van Immerseel.
Tilman Lichdi has established himself as one of the most important concert and song interpreters, particularly as the Evangelist in Bach's oratorios and passions. Lichdi has sung concerts in Europe, the USA, Australia, South America, and Asia with conductors such as Ton Koopman, Thomas Hengelbrock, Martin Haselböck, Peter Dijkstra, Frieder Bernius, Christoph Perick, Bernard Labadie, Marcus Bosch, Hervé Niquet, Hartmut Haenchen, Kent Nagano, Christoph Poppen, Claus Peter Flor, Michail Pletnev, Michel Corboz, Hans-Christoph Rademann, Teodor Currentzis, and Herbert Blomstedt.
Among the many recordings with Tilman Lichdi, two recordings of Schubert's song cycles are particularly noteworthy: "Die schöne Müllerin" and "Die Winterreise," both in a new Arrangement for voice and guitar. In addition to his international performances, he is currently serving as a substitute professor for vocal studies at the Academy of Music in Darmstadt.
From 2005 to 2013, Tilman Lichdi was a permanent member oft Thema Ensemble at the State Theater in Nuremberg. There, he embodied roles such as David and Steersman in Wagner's "Die Meistersinger" and "The Flying Dutchman," Tamino, Ferrando, Belmonte, Don Ottavio, Count Belfiore in Mozart's "The Magic Flute," "Cosi fan tutte," "The Abduction from the Seraglio," "Don Giovanni," "La finta giardiniera," and Count Almaviva in Rossini's "Il Barbiere di Siviglia." Tilman Lichdi is the recipient of the Richard Strauss Plaque and the Bavarian Art Promotion Prize 2012 in the performing arts.
Tilman Lichdi grew up near Heilbronn and received his first vocal training at the age of 18 from Alois Treml (State Theater Stuttgart). However, he initially studied trumpet for 4 years with Prof. Günther Beetz in Mannheim and then switched to vocal studies with Prof. Charlotte Lehmann in Würzburg in 1999, which he completed with distinction.
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248
(Cantatas I and II)
— Intermission 20 min —
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248
(Cantatas V and VI)
The return of the German conductor Florian Helgath, one of the most outstanding new virtuosos, namely in the approach to choral repertoire. With acclaimed stints with the Danish National Choir and Munich’s Via Nova Choir, the current director of the Chorwerk Ruhr returns to the Grand Auditorium to conduct four cantatas from the magnificent Christmas Oratorio, one of J. S. Bach’s most striking works. The Christmas Oratorio was composed to accompany the days of Christmas celebrations in 1734, also citing some of the most sublime sacred works that Bach had created years earlier.
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