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Bachkoor Apeldoorn (Choir)

Founded: 1933 - Apeldoorn, Holland

The Christelijke Oratoriumvereniging Johann Sebastian Bach, which was established in 1933, carried initially not the name 'Christelijke Oratoriumvereniging’ (there was already a another Apeldoorn choir, who carried a similar name since 1925), but as ‘Christelijke Gemengde Zangvereniging’'. The first conductor was Herman Knipscheer, a passionate Apeldoorn musician with rural reputation, which put his efforts to raise the quality of the choir to the highest possible level that can be reached with amateur choir singers. That led in some cases to big surprise by the choir for the accompaniment engaged professional musicians.

After the war the Christelijke Oratorium Vereniging was established, and the choir of Knipscheer was free to call itself Christelijke Oratoriumvereniging ‘Johann Sebastian Bach’. In 1947, Knipscheer were succeeded by Piet Halsema from Haarlem, choral-conductor, organist and type-setter, who entered firstly during Knipscheer's sickness to conduct a performance Felix Mendelssohn's Elias (in fragments). In the first period of Halsema's directorship Knipscheer still appeared regularly the choir as an organ specialist.

Under Halsema the choir developed rapidly into oratorio choir. He introduced in Apeldroon the Weihnachts-Oratorium (BWV 248) in 1948, and a year later the Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244). Against the sense of many conservative Apeldoorners, who believed that the Apeldoorn choir could never be good enough for these works. Halsema and the choir proved, supported by guarantee fund, unequal of this scepticism, and on the basis of basis of this repertoire. Halsema led the choir up to 1983. He was followed by Bruno Gerritsen, a young ambitious conductor from Amersfoort, who gave a quality impetus to the choir that gave it better reputation in the region. He developed the choir in his time to a size of about 120 members. The choir still carried officially the name Christelijke Oratoriumvereniging ‘Johann Sebastian Bach’, but in 1993, the association chose to give publicly as Bachkoor Apeldoorn, the name that the choir had carried unofficially for a long time.

Gerritsen had to withdraw in 1994, due to a serious sickness, which ended up his conducting activity. The performance of the Weihnachts-Oratorium (BWV 248) in December of that year was conducted by Jos Vermunt. In January 1995 the direction of the choir was taken by Joop Schets, a renowned authority in the Dutch choral conducting world. He directs the Hogeschool Gorinchem, acts as a leader of choral events and master-classes, and is a conductor of two big choirs: Bachkoor Apeldoorn and Toonkunst Arnhem. Under Joop Schets direction, the Apeldoorn choir has performed not only the 'big traditional' oratorio works, such as the Passions of J.S. Bach, as well as the Requiem of Verdi, Elias by F. Mendelssohn, Messiah by George Frideric Handel and Schöpfung by Haydn, but also less familiar repertoire such as Gloria by Francis Poulenc, Oratorio de Noël by Camille Saint-Saëns, Une Cantate de Noël by Arthur Honegger, Saint Nicholas Cantata by Benjamin Britten, Canticum Simeonis by Helmut Barbe and Psalmkonzert by Zimmermann.

In May 1998 the Bachkoor Apeldoorn took part together with the organist Louis van Dijk, in the musical part of the much-discussed ecclesiastical celebration of the marriage of prince Maurits with Marilène van den Broek. In 2001, the Bachkoor performed in the spring the Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244) by J.S. Bach and in the autumn the Requiem of G. Verdi (for the Verdi-year 2001). For the concert of 2002 an unusual programming had been chosen: except a cantata of J.S. Bach the choir performed the oratorio Die Passion by Herzogenberg, also reinforced by Het Gelders Orkest and soloists with harmonium and the big church organ.

In November 2002 the Bachkoor performed with much success the special oratorio Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln by Franz Schmidt, with five soloists (with the high tenor Fred Silla), Het Gelders Orkest and the big church organ. In 2003, big works from the oratorio literature stood on the programme: the Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244) by J.S. Bach (performed in Emmeloord and in Apeldoorn), and Paulus by F. Mendelssohn. In 2004, was again the Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244), and in December the Grosse Messe by Mozart and Te Deum by Dvorák. This last concert was the first that the Bachkoor gave at the new Apeldoorn concert accommodation: the Koninklijke Wegenerzaal van Schouwburg Orpheus. At the ceremony around the opening of this hall the choir co-operated in a special music theatre production under the title Orpheus ed Eurydice, which was performed nine times under the baton of Paul van Brugge and the control of Kees Janssen.


Source: Bachkoor Apeldoorn Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (July 2005)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2005)

Joop Schets: Short Biography | Bachkoor Apeldoorn | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Bachkoor Apeldoorn (Official Website) [Dutch]


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Last update: Sunday, May 28, 2017 15:56