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SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart

The SWR Stuttgart Vocal Ensemble (aka the Vocal Ensemble of Southwest German Radio Stuttgart or, in German, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart) is one of the high-quality choirs connected with German state radio broadcasters and has worked with top German broadcast orchestras in Stuttgart and beyond, attracting an international roster of guest conductors and soloists. The ensemble was founded in 1946, with Otto-Werner Mueller as conductor. At the beginning, with Germany's musical life devastated, they furnished the bulk of the station's musical programming, which at the time operated as Radio Stuttgart under American administration. The choir began with 13 singers, expanding to a current total of 36. The choir changed its name to Choir of South German Radio in 1949, to Südfunk (Southern Radio) Choir in 1959, and to Südfunk Choir Stuttgart in 1992 before assuming its current name in 1998. From the beginning, the choir gave independent concerts as well as performing on the radio, and it made an appearance at the Donaueschingen Musiktage, a key event in the rebuilding of German musical life, in 1947, giving a world premiere performance of Hugo Herrmann's Des Friedens Geburt (The Birth of Peace). In its early years the choir gave varied programs of religious music, folk songs, operas, operettas, and music for radio plays, but as its career developed it has tended to specialize in modern compositions and has commissioned many works for world premieres. In addition to Mueller, the choir's conductors have been Hermann Josef Dahmen (1951-1975), Marinus Voorberg (1975-1981), Klaus Martin Ziegler (1981-1987), Rupert Huber (1990-2000), and (since 2003) the English-born Marcus Creed. The choir has teamed with the SWR orchestras of Freiburg, Stuttgart, and Baden-Baden, joining with such conductors as Georg Solti, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Neville Marriner, John Eliot Gardiner, Pierre Boulez, Michael Gielen, Péter Eötvös, and Roger Norrington. The results have often been recorded and released on the SWR's own label as well as on the Haenssler Classic, Carus, and Wergo labels; on the latter they released the album Heinz Holliger: Choral Utopia in 2018. The choir's recordings have won the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik and ECHO Klassik awards. The choir is noted for its work with young people under the auspices of its VE Young Classix program of youth concerts and school visits.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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