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Kölner Kurrende (Choir)

Founded: 1970 - Köln, Germany

The Kölner Kurrende was created in 1970 by Elke Mascha Blankenburg in Köln-Dellbrück and existed first as boys and youth choir at the Evangelischen Christusgemeinde in Köln-Dellbrück, where Elke Mascha Blankenburg was employed as Kantor. In 1974 the Kölner Kurrende became a mixed choir and presented to the public works of the a-cappella-literature from the Renaissance to the Avant-garde and the big oratorios of the music literature. The Kölner Kurrende performed as an emphasis works of woman composers. The discovery of the autograph of Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel Oratorium nach Bildern der Bibel by Elke Mascha Blankenburg led to the premiere of this work by the Kölner Kurrende in 1984. As further compositions of Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel her Gartenlieder was compiled. Cantatas of Marianna Martinez, a Haydn pupil, followed just as the works of Lili Boulanger, which were performed for the first time by the Kölner Kurrende at the Kölner Philharmonie.

In 1990 the detachment of the Evangelischen Christus-Gemeinde in Köln-Dellbrück took place and the establishment of the association of Kölner Kurrende e.V as free concert choir under the direction of Elke Mascha Blankenburg. In 1986 were the Kölner Kurrende were involved in the opening concert of the Kölner Philharmonie together with 5 Köln choirs. Since this time the choir appears regularly at the Kölner Philharmonie and became then also soon member in Arbeitskreis Kölner Chöre (the working group of Cologne choirs).

Promoted by the Deutschen Musikrat the Kölner Kurrende appeared in April 1997 with George Frideric Handel's Alexanderfest and a-cappella-program in the Baltic states. In 1998 a concert tour to Toskana took place. In 1999 the Kölner Kurrende took over the choral parts for the WDR radio play Die Säulen der Erde after a novel of Ken Follett.

In February 2000 Michael Reif was appointed as the artistic director of the Kölner Kurrende. The first concert under his direction was in March 2000 with the Exequien by Heinrich Schütz at the Altenberger Dom. Performances in summer 2000 of the Liebesliederwalzer op.52 by Johannes Brahms followed, as well as a first performance in Köln of Lenz- und Liebeslieder, Op.72 by the Swiss composer Hans Huber. In the Bach year 2001 the Kölner Kurrende performed with big success Weihnachts-Oratorium (BWV 248) at the in the Philharmonie, as well as the Johannes-Passion (BWV 245) at the Altenberger Dom.

In the meantime the Kölner Kurrende dedicates itself intensively to the a-cappella-music. So when a new program is compiled, the choir literature 20th Century takes a big part. First parts of the new were given in meeting of the working group of Kölner Kurrende in December 2001 and performed in Christmas at the Philharmonie. Since then at least one a-cappella-concert per year takes place at a Köln church, such as St. Aposteln or St. Severin.

As works of the oratorio literature stood in 2002 Ein Deutsches Requiem by J. Brahms and in 2003 the Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244) by J.S. Bach. In January 2004 the Kölner Kurrende performed Die Schöpfung by J. Haydn at the Kölner Philharmonie. In 2004 several interesting projects followed, such as work by the young Köln composer Markus Schmickler, participation in the Köln Chrofestival with the Requiem of J. Brahms in the piano version and the Magnificat of John Rutter briefly before Christmas. In 2005 the Kölner Kurrende will perform first concert of a-cappella-music and in October the Requiem of Cherubini at the Philharmonie.


Source: Kölner Kurrende Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (May 2005)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2005)

Michael Reif: Short Biography | Kölner Kurrende | Recordings of Vocal Works

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Elke Mascha Blankenburg


BWV 232

Links to other Sites

Kölner Kurrende (Official Website) [German]
Kölner Kurrende (AK Kölner Chöre) [German]

Kölner Kurrende (Freie Musik in Köln) [German]

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 09:59