Composition Commission to Helmut Zapf
Berliner Singakademie, Germany
The Berlin Singakademie is considered one of the largest oratory choirs in Berlin. With performances of both choral symphonic works and A-cappella concerts it plays an active role on the music scene in the German capital. In conceptual and artistic terms the choir follows on from the tradition of the 1791 singing academy Sing-Akademie zu Berlin founded by Carl Friedrich Fasch. When the city of Berlin was divided in 1961 there was considerably less work for the Sing-Akademie, which was then only allowed to work in the western part of the city. To also tap into this tradition in the eastern part of the city 1963 saw the founding at the Deutsche Staatsoper of the Berlin Singakademie by Director Hans Pischner. Helmut Koch was appointed Artistic Director. Just as before, the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Händel and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy formed the core of the choir’s work. The focus on contemporary choral music started back in his day was then pursued with great commitment. Composers like Honegger, Martinů, Martin or Britten became firm fixtures in the choir’s rehearsal and concert program.
And in its anniversary year the Berlin Singakademie will be continuing this tradition and will once again be performing a commissioned work. The poem “Das Glück” by Friedrich Schiller will be set to music by Helmut Zapf. The poem is a kind of hymn – one that is to be forged into the musical form of a cantata.
June 22, 2014
Chamber Music Hall, The Berlin Philharmonie, Germany