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 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 Sir Eliot Gardiner and Christian Thielemann.
The Bavarian Radio Chorus 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. The artistic director of the Bavarian Radio Chorus is the Dutchman Peter Dijkstra. It has maintained its own successful concert series in Munich since 1998.
The BR Chorus distinguishes itself on a regular basis with world premières in the musica 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. Under the direction of Giovanni Antonini, the BR Chorus contributed Haydn’s »Creation« to the large-scale CD cycle »Haydn 2032«.
Among the CDs that the BR Chorus has released under its artistic director Peter Dijkstra are albums with all of Bach’s major oratorio works, as well as a cappella music by Wagner, Mahler, Strauss, Poulenc, Schnittke and Pärt. Also available on CD are albums of the Fauré Requiem, the Mozart Requiem, and the Handel oratorios Messiah and Israel in Egypt.