The Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart (= GKS) was founded in 1953 by Helmuth Rilling in Gächingen, a small village (in the Swabian Mountains) on the outskirts of Stuttgart, and it retained its name after moving to that city.
Often referred to as ‘the master-singers of Stuttgart’, they are distinguished from other choirs by requiring superior music training of all candidates for membership, and by suiting themselves to the requirements of the works to be performed, from 24 to over 100 singers. Its members come from all over south-west Germany and the German-speaking regions of Switzerland.
After mastering the entire a cappella repertoire available at the time, the choir turned towards oratorios of every period. It has played a considerable part in the rediscovery and representation of the Romantic choral repertoire, especially works by Brahms and Mendelssohn. It is notable for its role in performing the first and hitherto only complete cycle of all J.S. Bach’s church cantatas and in giving the first performance of the Requiem of Reconciliation in 1995 in Stuttgart.
Enjoying an enviable reputation of one of the world’s finest vocal ensembles today, and a synonym for excellence, they have appeared throughout Europe, as well as the USA, Mexico, Japan and Israel (first appearance with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1976), usually together with the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart.
The choir has won many recording prizes and has received critical acclaim for its CD, radio and television recordings.