Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner

Bernhard Henking (Conductor, Organ)

Born: May 6, 1897 - Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Died: December 4, 1988 - Winterthur, Switzerland

The Swiss conductor, organist, and composer, Bernhard Henking, was the son of Karl Heinrich and Maria Emma (born: Bollinger). He studied from 1917 to 1920 (or 1921) at the Zürich Conservatory piano, organ, theory with Volkmar Andreae, Paul Otto Möckel, Carl Vogler, Ernst Isler, and then at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, mainly choral conducting at Siegfried Ochs.

Thereafter, Bernhard Henking was from 1921 to 1925 choral and orchestra conductor in Baden (Aargau). In the spring of 1925 he followed a call to Magdeburg, where he was conductor of the Reblingschen Gesangvereins (mixed choir), Men's Choir of Magdeburg and the Magdeburger Domchor, with whom he undertook extended concert tours to North and Eastern Europe. He received the title of church music director by the Senate of the Old Prussian Union. In 1936 he became director of the Evangelischen Kirchenmusikschule Aschersleben, which during his tenure was relocated in Halle, and held this post until 1939. At the beginning of World War II, he returned to Switzerland, where he served from 1940 to 1972 as Kantor of the Reformation Churches in Winterthur and St. Gallen. In 1942 he became director of the newly formed Heinrich Schütz Choir, and in 1951 he established and was conductor of the Zürcher Bach-Chor. He lived in Switzerland until his death in Winterthur. In 1971 he received the Anerkennungsgabe of the city of Winterthur.

Bernhard Henking composed especially for the church choir music, where in the arrangements of his chorale settings, the content is fulfilled in purely musical character. He united, for example, the harsh style of the old masters with the liquid vocal lines of J.S. Bach. He composed more than 60 chorale settings for the Schweiz. Kirchengesangbuch. His extensive repertoire includes vocal music, songs for a cappella choir, motets and cantatas, chorale preludes for organ, and arrangements of Heinrich Schütz.


Lydische Motette für fünfstimmigen Chor (UA Magdeburg 1927)
Chorgesangbuch (1932)
Kommt und laßt uns Christum ehren. Ein gesungenes Krippenspiel (1940)
Singet frisch und wohlgemut. Ein Liederbuch (1942)
Advents- und Weihnachtslieder in Sätzen (1943)
Führet euren Wandel (1945)
Morgenglanz der Ewigkeit (1961)
Du großer Schmerzensmann (1962)
Brunn alles Heils, dich ehren wir (1971)
Schriften: Evangelische Kirchenmusik (1945)
Aus der kirchlichen Jugendchorarbeit (1951)
Otto Lauterburg (1957)

Source: Magdeburg University Website (Author: Sigrid Hansen) & Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz Website (Author: Nicole Kurmann), English translation by Aryeh Oron (January 2009)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (January 2009)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Bernhard Henking


BWV 118

Links to other Sites

Henking, Bernhard (Magdeburg University) [German]

Henking, Bernhard (Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz) [German]


Bernhard Henking: Chorgesangbuch (1932)
Schweizer Musiker-Lexikon (1964), 164f
Wolf Hobohm: Musikgeschichte der Stadt Magdeburg. Eine Zeittafel (1992), 29.

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


Back to the Top

Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 05:14