Named after the patron saint of music, the Cäcilien-Chor has since its foundation in 1818 contributed significantly to the musical life not only within its region but also in the whole of Germany and - with visits in recent years to Japan, Israel and the USA in addition to neighboring European countries - abroad. As befits a large and leading mixed-voice choir, the demanding and vast program of works performed covers choral music from the sixteenth century to today.
Over the years the choir has sung under the baton of many world-famous conductors, including Wilhelm Furtwängler, Sir Georg Solti, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Christian Zacharias, Michael Gielen, Paolo Carignani, thus adding significantly to the rich musical experience that the members and supporters enjoy.
Felix Mendelssohn was much associated with the Cäcilien-Chor, being musical director for several years, and conducting the choir in historical performances of both J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) (in 1829) and B minor Mass (BWV 232) (in 1833), works that he had discovered after they had fallen into oblivion following J.S. Bach's death in 1750. As token of his esteem for the choir, F. Mendelssohn dedicated several of his compositions - including his oratorio St. Paul - to the Cäcilien-Chor. "They sing with such an enthusiasm and in such a perfect harmony that it is a prodigious joy to hear them": These words, written in 1837 by F. Mendelssohn, are still actual. In 1858, the Cäcilien-Chor gave also the first performance of the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) in Frankfurt after J.S. Bach's death.
Right from its earliest days, the Cäcilien-Chor has been directed and trained by top professionals, the latest in the long line of distinguished musical directors being - since 1988 - Christian Kabitz, who also conducts the majority of the concerts in which the choir appears. He approaches each new musical work with the highest possible attention and instills into the established repertoire this clear interpretation, typical for the choir. Christian Kabitz is seconded by Otto Honeck, répétiteur at Frankfurt's Opera House. Previous musical directors, apart from F. Mendelssohn already mentioned, include Johann Nepomuk Schelble, Ferdinand Hiller, Theodor Egel and Enoch zu Guttenberg.
The Cäcilien-Chor gathers more than 100 active members of any nations and of any occupations, representing the diversity of the Rhine / Main region of Hesse. The Cäcilien-Chor is always keen to hear from singers - regardless of nationality or religious affiliation - who have discovered the satisfactions of learning and performing choral music, and who want to work at a high amateur level, at which rehearsal time is devoted more to issues of coordination and interpretation than to learning the individual notes. Besides this musical preparation, a supplementary vocal training is provided every week to choir members, allowing the group to develop its particular and typical sound, as well as a clear intonation and a professional interpretation. If this philosophy appeals to you, you are welcome to take part in several rehearsals as a guest.
Rehearsals are held regularly on Tuesdays in the "Haus der Chöre" (House of Choirs, Kaiser-Sigmund-Straße 47), and occasionally on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. On Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm there is a rehearsal for a single voice - sometimes soprano and alto together, or tenor and bass together - while the remaining members have voice training as a group; from 7pm to 9pm all voices rehearse together.