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Fernand Koenig (Bass-Baritone)

Born: December 16, 1922 - the tiny village of Goebelsmühle, Luxembourg
Died: December 5, 2003

The Luxembourgian bass-baritone, Fernand Koenig, studied music and singing at the Luxembourg Academy .of Music and completed his studies with Charles Panzera in Paris and Arne Sunnegarth in Salzburg.

Fernand Koenig embarked upon a career as a concert singer and achieved great success in a wide-ranging repertoire. In 1958-1959, 1962 and 1966, he appeared at the Salzburg Festival, singing in concerts of religious works by Mozart. He also sang at the Festival of Schwetzingen, the Flanders Festival and the Organ Festival of Nuremberg and in major concerts at the Salle Pleyel and the Theatre of the Champs Elysees in Paris, at the Royal Festival Hall and the Wigmore Hall in London, at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, as well as in Stuttgart, Edinburgh, Dublin, Washington and New York.

In 1974 and 1987, Fernand Koenig went on tours through Russia, Latvia and Lithuania, where he sang at the Philharmonic Halls of Saint Petersburg and Riga, in Vilnius and in the Moscow Academy of Music. In 1977 and 1987, he toured the USA, appearing in Chicago, Ohio, Washington and New York.

Among his highlights of concert repertoire were the role of Christ in Bach's Saint Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and the Baritone Solo in the Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. He did not neglect contemporary music, singing Penderecki's Saint Luke Passion, but he was appreciated above all as an interpreter of art-songs ("Lieder"), particularly those of Schubert. He was a popular Guest on radio programmes throughout Europe, but his stage appearances were rare, limited to a few selected operas such as Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande,Comedy on the Bridge by Martinu, Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber and Ravel's L'Heure Espagnole, in which he sang the part of "Ramiro" at the Theatre Royal of Madrid, with the National Orchestra of Spain, under the French conductor Jean Fournet.

Fernand Koenig's warm-timbered, expressive voice can be heard in a number of recordings he made for DaCamera, including the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244), Schubert's song-cycles Die Winterreise and Die schone Müllerin, cantatas by J.S.Bach and Telemann (Der Schulmeister), and songs by L.v. Beethoven. He also took part in the first recording ever made in Germany of Cimarosa's II Maestro di Cappella, with the Heidelberger Chamber Orchestra.

In 1983, Fernand Koenig appeared at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in Surely Jesus is coming, cantata by Arie Pronk, for 5 soloists, choir and full orchestra, based on Matthew 24. The production was broadcast in 1985 on the Dutch television, accompanied by film taken on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

Fernand Koenig was appointed "Officer of Arts and Letters of France" and is also holder of the "Federal Distinguished Service Cross Class" of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Source: Liner notes to the CD ‘J.S. Bach: Kreuzstab-Kantate/Ich habe genug’ conducted by Réné Ponchelet (Impromptu); Dr George E.N. Kass - University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK (June 2003)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (January 2003, June 2003), Huib Spoorenberg (January 2006)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Heinz Markus Göttsche


BWV 244

Réné Ponchelet


BWV 56, BWV 82, BWV 211, BWV 212

Links to other Sites

Hommage Cher Fernand Koenig (Guy Wagner) [French]


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