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Frankfurter Kantorei (Choir)

Founded: 1945 - Frankfurt, Germany

The Frankfurter Kantorei chorus (= FK) (formerly: Kantorei der Dreikönigskirche Frankfurt) is, despite its name, strictly a concert choir with close ties to the Frankfurt School of Music. It specializes in a cappella and orchestral works of the 16th to 18th centuries, and of the 20th century, but it is no less proficient in the major choral works of other periods. The Frankfurter Kantorei is an exception in the choral scene of today. With about 70 singers on stage the choir has the size of an oratorio choir. Nevertheless the ensemble frequently performs a-cappella-programs. This unusual combination results in a unique choral sound that stands out due to delicacy and transparency as well as to homogenity and sonority.

The Frankfurter Kantorei was founded by Kurt Thomas in July 1945. His successors were Helmuth Rilling and Wolfgang Schäfer. In 1997 the composer, conductor and singer Winfried Toll has been elected new director of the choir.

From the beginning the performances were categorized by a broad variety of genres and styles. Already in the fifites of the 20th century the choir gained international respect, documented by several record awards. Later the ensemble twice won the international contest of the european broadcasting union "Let the peoples sing", won awards at choral contests in Poland, Estonia and Italy.

The Frankfurter Kantorei often appears throughout Germany and the rest of Europe, and has also embarked on numerous highly successful tours overseas. It appears regularly on the broadcasting network of Hessen. Concert tours took the choir to Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto, Instanbul, Paris, Lyon, Venice, Torino, Vienna, Pretoria, Stellenbosch, St. Petersburg and Helsinki. They first appeared in Israel in 1979.

Besides a busy schedule of concerts, CD-productions and concert tours under the direction of its conductor, the Frankfurter Kantorei is frequently asked to perform under other renowned conductors, e. g. Eliahu Inbal, Riccardo Chailly, Gary Bertini, Michael Gielen, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Lorin Maazel, Andrew Parrot, James Conlon, Carl Saint Clair, John Nelson and John Adams.

In August 1993 the Frankfurter Kantorei performed at the 3rd International Symposium on Choral Music in Vancouver, Canada, and in 1994 together with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under the direction of Roger Norrington at an official concert celebrating the 1200th anniversary of the city of Frankfurt am Main. The ladies' Choir of the Frankfurter Kantorei participated in a CD-Production of Zemlisky's opera The Dwarf under James Conlon, chief conductor of the Opéra National de Paris and the Guerzenich Orchestra Cologne. The recording of this rarely performed opera was published in 1996 by EMI Classics and won several international awards. In August 1999 the Frankfurter Kantorei 's singing formed the musical framework at a celebration honoring the German Author Siegfried Lenz with the "Goethepreis" of the city of Frankfurt am Main. In September 1999 the choir had a first cooperation with the Ensemble Modern (Charles Ives' 4th symphony). The second cooperation soon followed: A performance of Brecht/Weill's Three penny opera at the "Musiktriennale Köln" in May 2000. In May the Frankfurter Kantorei has been honored with the "Binding Kulturpreis".


Source: Programme notes to concert series with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Helmuth Rilling (April 1979); Frankfurter Kantorei Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2001)

Helmuth Rilling: Short Biography | Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart | Frankfurter Kantorei | Figuralchor der Gedächtniskirche Stuttgart | Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
Recordings of Vocal Works:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Edition Bachakademie - Vols. 1-20 | Edition Bachakademie - Vol. 9 | Edition Bachakademie - Vol. 60 | Arleen Augér sings Bach - conducted by Rilling | Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau sings Bach - conducted by Rilling
Other Vocal Works:
BWV 232 - H. Rilling | BWV 243 - H. Rilling | BWV 244 - H. Rilling | BWV 245 - H. Rilling | BWV 248 - H. Rilling | Chorales - H. Rilling
Cantate Label:
Recordings of Vocal Works | General Discussions
Table of recordings by BWV Number

Kurt Thomas: Short Biography | Frankfurter Kantorei | Kantorei der Dreikönigskirche Frankfurt | Collegium Musicum Wilhelm Isselmann
Recordings of Vocal Works:
Part 1 | Part 2 | BWV 232 - Kurt Thomas | BWV 248 - Kurt Thomas
Thomaskantors: Thomanerchor Leipzig | Gewandhausorchester Leipzig | General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2
Cantate Label:
Recordings of Vocal Works | General Discussions
Table of recordings by BWV Number

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Helmuth Rilling


BWV 20, BWV 75, BWV 91, BWV 113, BWV 114, BWV 122, BWV 143, BWV 147, BWV 151, BWV 161, BWV 165, BWV 172, BWV 185, BWV 192
J.L. Bach: Cantata Die mit Tränen sähen, JLB-8

Kurt Thomas


BWV 23, BWV 159

Links to other Sites

Frankfurter Kantorei (Official Website)


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 04:38