Mitsingkonzert 18.11.2018 in der Philharmonie Berlin

Productions & Initiatives | Fest der Chorkulturen 2020

Fest der Chorkulturen 2020

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:


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.

Composition by Roxanna Panufnik

Roxanna Panufnik is a composer whose work reflects an extraordinary feeling for choral music, as well as an excellent grasp of the use of voices in her compositions. In addition, for many years she has been investigating the ethnic backgrounds of various musical cultures–all of which readily explains why she has been selected for the commission.

In this project we hope to reflect upon the continuing relevance of Beethoven as a humanist in the year  2020. “All men shall be brothers”–the vision inherent in Beethoven’s powerful music has lost none of its significance in our current, troubled times. We aim to make a stand for intercultural exchange with our festival of choral cultures and this special composition.

Roxanna Panunfik am Klavier
© Ben Ealovega Photography

Roxanna Panufnik studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music. She has been composing a broad range of works–opera, ballet, musical theatre, choral works, orchestral and chamber music, as well as music for film and television–that are performed all over the world. She is particularly interested in world music and in building musical bridges between religions. Her compositions are published by Peter’s Edition Ltd. and have been recorded by many labels, including Warner Classics, Signum, Chandos and EMI Classics.


Jessica Duchen studied music in Cambridge and piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has worked as an editor for music publishers and magazines for many years. Jessica combines her love of music with writing. She is the author of several novels and biographies of composers, and has written the libretti to many prizewinning operas and choral works.


Tuesday, April 28 – Thursday, April 30, 2020

Haus des Runfunks & Philharmonie Berlin


Friday, May 1, 2020

6:30 pm, Philharmonie Berlin

Leonard Bernstein

»Chichester Psalms«

for boy solo, choir, organ, harp and percussion


Roxanna Panufnik

»Ever us«  (world premiere) for ten choirs and orchestra


Ludwig van Beethoven

Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, op. 125, 4th Movement

for soloists, choir and orchestra



Gent Lazri

International Choral Networking INTERKULTUR