The Himlische Cantorey vocal ensemble of soloists was founded in 1995 by ﬁve singers who were then students at the Hamburg Academy of Music for the purpose of performing the ensemble literature and especially that of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Intensive occupation with text and music from this period and the highest demands in the ﬁeld of sound culture have stamped the regular work of the Himlische Cantorey ever since then. All the female and male singers of the ensemble, who can already look back on collaboration in diverse renowned ensembles such as the Cantus Cölln, Orlando-di-Lasso-Ensemble, and Musica Fiata, are trained soloists. Although the ensemble has a homogeneous overall sound, this experience and training means that each and every voice enjoys its share of the spotlight. They tell stories about love, joy, and suffering in madrigals and lute songs by English, French, Italian, and German origin with the lutenist Michael Freimuth. In particular in performances of sacred music the ensemble welcomes the opportunity to include other voices and works together with leading instrumentalists from the early music scene.
Already during past years Himlische Cantorey acquired an outstanding reputation through its numerous concerts in Germany and European foreign countries and in diverse radio and CD productions. The ensemble received invitations from Philippe Herreweghe to the Académies Musicales in Saintes and from Gustav Leonhardt to the Gouden Eeuw in Klank festival in Amsterdam, performed with the Wiener Akademie under Martin Haselböck in the Musikverein in Vienna and with the / Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin at the Bach Days in Köthen, worked with the NDR and Radio Bremen, and released its
first own CD featuring English madrigals and lute songs with the title clear or cloudy.
The Himlische Cantorey (Heavenly Choral Ensemble) took its name from an anthology of psalm settings by the then Hamburg church musicians Jacob Praetorius and Hieronymus Praetorius, Joachim Decker, and David Scheidemann published in Hamburg in 1604. The idea of the host of angels performing music in heaven, of rendering audible a musica caelestis, a heavenly music, serves as a program and a source of inspiration for the ensemble (as already for musicians of the Renaissance and Baroque) in its presentation of sacred music as well as of secular music.