In 2020 the whole world will be celebrating Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday. And we will join in. But in a very different way. Starting out from the ideal notion that “All men shall be brothers”, the Rundfunkchor Berlin is inviting nine of the best amateur choirs world-wide to Berlin to join in a festival of choral cultures. In order to sing together and to celebrate an ecstatic festival of choirs with Berlin audiences, in which the Rundfunkchor Berlin’s large sing-along community will also play an active part. And in order to bring together singers from all over the world and so generate a network. In this context we are led by the hope that this initiative will bring us all a little closer to Beethoven’s vision. This festival of choral cultures is presented in cooperation with Interkultur.
The participating choirs are:
- Singapore Youth Choir Ensemble (Singapore)
- Cantus Firmus (Brazil)
- NDLOVU YOUTH CHOIR (South Africa)
- tbc (Russia)
- Koriolis Kamerkoor (Belgium)
- Philippines Madrigal Singers (Philippines)
- University of Louisville Cardinal Singers (USA)
- Utopia & Reality (Norway/Slovenia)
- Philokalia Choir (Lebanon)
In Berlin they will introduce themselves with “showcase performances”, joined by the Rundfunkchor Berlin. But the festival’s focus will be a work by British composer Roxanna Panufnik commissioned by the Rundfunkchor Berlin and is created especially for these nine choirs. The lyrics will be written by Jessica Duchen. Every choir will present its own special quality, while the hosting Rundfunkchor Berlin will lead the way through the piece. Immediately afterwards everyone will sing together the closing movements of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphpony– including our co-singers in the audience– in a resounding “Ode to Joy”. The concert is conducted by Gijs Leenaars, and we will be joined on stage by the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin.
Prior to this event, the nine choirs will perform their respective parts in their home countries and post a recording online so that their trip to Berlin emerges as a kind of rally to the festival of choral cultures.
This Beethoven project follows on from the Festival of Choral Cultures in 2017, when the Rundfunkchor Berlin first hosted and presented choirs from all over the world and their diverse choral cultures–a success with the audiences and a striking experience for each and every participating singer.