Florian Helgath is emerging as one of the leading choral conductors of the young generation. Since 2011 Florian Helgath has been Artistic Director of the Chorwerk Ruhr and Zürcher Sing-Akademie since 2017. With these exceptional vocal ensembles he creates choir music of all periods on the highest level both in A cappella and with orchestras.
Florian Helgath has held the position as conductor of the Danish National Choir from 2009 to 2015. In addition he was Artistic Director of the Via Nova Chor Munich from 2008 to 2016. With this ensemble he has conducted numerous acclaimed first performances and has been awarded with international prizes.
Florian Helgath is also a regular guest conductor of the SWR Vokalensemble, RIAS Kammerchor, MDR Leipzig Radio Choir, Choir of the Bavarian Radio, Netherlands Radio Choir, Choeur de Radio France, Flemish Radio Choir, Warsaw Philharmonic Choir among others and collaborated with orchestras such as Concerto Köln, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, B’Rock Orchestra, Orchestra La Scintilla, Brussels Philharmonic, Odense Symphony, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, WDR Funkhausorchester, Münchner Symphoniker, Bochumer Symphoniker, Dortmunder Philharmoniker, Berner Kammerorchester, Danish Chamber Orchestra and Ensemble Resonanz.
Concerts led him to major concert halls and festivals such as Berliner Festspiele, Schwetzinger Festspiele, Audi Sommerkonzerte, Eclat Festival Stuttgart, Thüringer Bachwochen and particularly to the Ruhrtriennale with contemporary opera performances and numerous manifold projects.
Apart from A cappella projects Florian Helgath’s focus are works for choir and orchestra and symphonic repertoire. Upcoming engagements include cooperations with Chorwerk Ruhr and B’Rock Orchestra and Duisburg Philharmonic with music by Berio and Striggio, Bach’s B minor Mass with Zürcher Sing-Akademie and Orchestra La Scintilla as well as A capella concerts including two commissions at World Choir Symposium in Auckland, and guest appearances with The Norwegian Soloists‘ Choir, Netherlands Radio Choir, Choeur de Radio France and BBC Singers.
Florian Helgath's discography includes the album with Brahms' A German Requiem (piano version) and Café Beethoven with Chorwerk Ruhr for Coviello Classics, Nikolaus Brass' fallacies of hope - deutsches requiem with SWR Vokalensemble for NEOS, the album Sacred Songs with works by J.S. Bach, Reger and Knut Nystedt with the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir (ICMA Award 2017), Da Pacem: Echo der Reformation with RIAS Kammerchor and Capella de la Torre (ECHO Klassik 2017), Three choirs A cappella by Walter Furrer with Zürcher Sing-Akademie at SRF2 Kultur, works by Palestrina and Wagner with MDR Leipzig Radio Choir, J.S. Mayr Missa in c – Stabat Mater with Orpheus Vokalensemble and Concerto Köln and Contemporary music with Via Nova Chor. The album of Tigran Mansurian's Requiem with RIAS Kammerchor prepared by Florian Helgath and the Munich Chamber Orchestra for ECM Records had been nominated for a Grammy in 2018.
In addition, Florian Helgath has prepared choirs for conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, Kent Nagano, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Christian Thielemann among others.
Florian Helgath’s initial experience started as a chorister in his native city with the Regensburger Domspatzen. He studied choral conducting at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich and graduated in 2008 with a Masters Degree. Among his most important teachers are Michael Gläser, Stefan Parkman, Dan-Olof Stenlund who influenced him largely in his career as conductor.
As a prizewinner and finalist of the Eric Ericson Award 2006 and Competition for Young Choral Conductors in Budapest 2007, Florian Helgath had drawn the attention of the international choral music scene.
Season 2019/20Read more
Coviello Classics has released another album of Florian Helgath, Chorwerk Ruhr, Concerto Köln and soloists with Mozart's Requiem in the version of Michael Ostrzyga (2019) in June 2020.
Florian Helgath talks about Mendelssohn's Elias: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwwD7z6y6eU
Florian Helgath conducts the Netherlands Radio Choir in Groningen on 6 March with Brahms' A German Requiem (version for choir, soprano, baritone and piano duo).
On 9 February Florian Helgath conducts The Norwegian Soloists' Choir in Oslo. The programmes features music by Brahms, Thomas Jennefelt, Hugo Wolf and Mauricio Kagel.
Florian Helgath conducts J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio, cantatas 1-6 with Chorwerk Ruhr, B'Rock Orchestra and soloists in Essen, Alicante and Madrid on 13, 17 and 18 December.
Florian Helgath, ChorWerk Ruhr and Duisburg Philharmonic perform two concerts at Ruhrtriennale in Gladbeck on 31 August and 1 September with Luciano Berio's Coro and Alessandro Striggio's Missa sopra Ecco sì beato giorno.
Florian Helgath conducts the RIAS Kammerchor at Istanbul International Music Festival in two concerts on 12 June with music by J.S. Bach, Vivaldi and Händel together with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin as well as on 14 June with an A cappella programme by Brahms.
Florian Helgath conducts two concerts with Zürcher Sing-Akademie, orchestra and soloists in Winterthur and Zürich on 8 and 10 May presenting Schubert's Mass E flat major and Fritz Stüssi's oratorio Vergehen und Auferstehen.
Florian Helgath conducts ChorWerk Ruhr in the Opening concert of the vocal festival Chor@Berlin on 21 February featuring the programme „The Sound of Silence“.
Deutschlandfunk Kultur broadcasts the concert live at 20:00 (CET). https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/konzert.1090.de.html?drbm:date=2019-02-21Read more
Florian Helgath conducts the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir in an A capella programme in Leipzig on 25 January featuring Hans Schanderl's Gitanjali No. 100, Einojuhani Rautavaara's The Cathedral as well as Charles Hubert Parry's "Songs of Farewell".
Florian Helgath conducts the WDR Funkhausorchester and ChorWerk Ruhr in the advent concert of the county North Rhine-Westphalia at Aachen cathedral on 15 December
with music by Georg Friedrich Händel, Jakob Arcadelt and Johannes Brahms. WDR television broadcasts the concert live at 20:15-21:45 (CET):Read more
Florian Helgath gives his debut with Flemish Radio Choir & Brussels Philharmonic in Brussels on 16 November with A cappella and orchestral works by Boulanger, Holst, Parry, Debussy, Elgar, Reger among others.
Florian Helgath conducts Isabel Mundry's Mouhanad with the SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart within the opening concert of Donaueschingen festival on 19 October. SWR2
broadcasts the concert live at 20:03 (CET): https://www.swr.de/swr2/programm/sendungen/jetztmusik/fr-19/-/id=659442/did=22411560/nid=659442/sdpgid=1616396/1tnp6fr/index.htmlRead more
Florian Helgath conducts ChorWerk Ruhr and continuo ensemble at Ruhrtriennale in three concerts with music by J.S. Bach and Mauricio Kagel's Chorbuch (including J.S. Bach chorals) in Essen on 21, 22 and 23 September.
Florian Helgath conducts the Bavarian Radio Choir in Munich Prinzregententheater on 24 February with music by Domenico Scarlatti, J.S. Bach, Ildebrando Pizzetti and Frank Martin accompanied by an organ, a lute and a violone.
Florian Helgath, ChorWerk Ruhr and soloists perform Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle in Antwerp on 9 February and Essen on 11 February.
Florian Helgath conducts the Choir of Warsaw Philharmonic in Warsaw on 12 and 13 January presenting Francis Poulenc's Sept Chansons, Bohuslav Martinu's
The Romance of the Dandelions (soloist: Ingrida Gapova, soprano) and Brahms' Liebeslieder Walzer op. 52 and op. 65 (with piano duo Adrienne Soos and Ivo Haag). The concert on 13 January, 18:00 will be broadcasted live: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqYo9MVWYS4pAih0-vdk96ARead more
Florian Helgath conducts the Netherlands Radio Choir in Utrecht on 22 December within a christmas concert (first part) with music by J.S. Bach, Henrik Andriessen, Bruckner and Mendelssohn. NPO Radio 4 broadcasts the concert live at 20:15, www.nporadio4.nl/live.
Florian Helgath conducts the Odense Symphony on 13 and 14 December with Händel's Messiah together with the Philharmonic Choir Odense and soloists.
Florian Helgath presents in Klassik-Pop-et cetera his music favourites in Deutschlandfunk on 9 December from 10:05-11:00.
Florian Helgath, RIAS Kammerchor and Capella de la Torre receive the ECHO Klassik 2017 for their album Da Pacem: Echo der Reformation in the category
Ensemble/Orchestra (Deutschlandradio Kultur/Deutsche Harmonia Mundi/Sony Music). The prize will be awarded in Hamburg on 29 October.Read more
Florian Helgath conducts the RIAS Kammerchor and Capella de la Torre with the programme Da Pacem in Rotterdam on 13 October, Amsterdam on 14 October and in Essen on 15 October.
Florian Helgath conducts the RIAS Kammerchor in Jüterbog on 15 July within the Brandenburgische Sommerkonzerte joined by Capella de La Torre. The programme includes works by Schütz, Gabrieli and Praetorius.
Florian Helgath conducts at Ruhrtriennale the project Memoria presenting compositions by Tomas Luis de Victoria, John Cage, Morton Feldman in three concerts with ChorWerk Ruhr and soloists in Essen from 25 - 27 August.
The CD recording "Sacred Songs" by Florian Helgath and the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir featuring motets by J.S. Bach and Max Reger as well as works by Knut Nystedt will be awarded the International Classical Music Award 2017 in the category "Choir Music".
Florian Helgath conducts the first performance of the music theatre production Earth Diver at Ruhrtriennale in Essen on 21 September featuring works by Heinrich
Schütz and Nikolaus Brass together with ChorWerk Ruhr, Phil Minton, B'Rock Continuo and Belgian author Paul Verrept under direction of Wouter Van Looy. Further dates: 22, 23, 24 September.Read more
Florian Helgath conducts ChorWerk Ruhr in a secular programme around The Chirping of the Nightingale with works by Josquin Desprez, Cipriano de Rore, Clement Janequin and Ugis Praulins on 18 June in Essen, 19 June in Kempen and 26 June in Hattingen.
Florian Helgath conducts the Choeur de Radio France in an A Capella programme in Paris on 17 February featuring the Requiem and Four Motets by Maurice Duruflé.
[…] Working with a small group of singers, Florian Helgath finds the forward momentum that keeps Brahms’s phrases alive even when the tempo is leisurely. Particularly attractive is the lilt he finds in the fourth movement, and the drama in the depiction of the Last Judgment in movement 6.[…] Of all the accounts of the piano (4 hands) versions I’ve heard, this is now top of my list.
www.choirandorgan.com, Philip Reed, November 2019
At the Ruhrtriennale, Berio's "Coro" was heard with the great ChorWerk Ruhr which had joined forces with the Duisburg Philharmonic under the direction of Florian Helgath. [...] Helgath had positioned five groups of singers and instrumentalists in the hall: two at the back, with an almost bodiless sound, one in the gallery, one on the left, one in the middle. This resulted in a finely balanced sound mixture, which could increase into a luxurious mix. The sound was to be experienced as a fine cocoon: finely graduated, with room for carefully balanced individual voices. [...] A special experience was the "Agnus dei", in which the singers were split into 60 voices, as if the room were full of fine sound lines, performed with passion. [...] ChorWerk Ruhr, Florian Helgath and the Duisburg Philharmonic have once again ensured a highlight in the Ruhrtriennale programme.
Westfälischer Anzeiger, Edda Breski, 03.09.2019
High-precision cues, precise intonation, the rigorous renouncement of romanticizing blending of tones, monolithic clarity and a structuring phrasing are hallmarks of this magnificent formation.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Christian Rupp, 19.08.2019
The 25 members of the exceptional vocal ensemble ChorWerk Ruhr are all soloists, but nevertheless they sing in one flow - even though they were positioned not within their voices but mixed. This resulted in a particularly lively and refreshing rendition. A flawless intonation, richly graded development of sound and the clearest diction were self-evident.
Rheinische Post, Heide Oehmen, 05.04.2019
When ChorWerk Ruhr and Florian Helgath perform at the Ruhrtriennale, musical enjoyment at the highest level is guaranteed and when the ensemble recites the original chorales of J.S. Bach in perfect, vocal balance with perfect articulation and phrasing in almost dancelike floating elegance, the rugged contrasts and fractures of Kagel's comments enter all the more blatant in the ear (...). Equipped with whispering bags, the choir hisses, sibilates and calls out parts of the chorale segments as virtuously as it presents Bach in impeccable beauty (...). The audience was thrilled at Zeche Zollverein in Essen.
Allgemeiner Anzeiger, Pedro Obiera, 22.09.2018
The avant-garde varieties of Mauricio Kagel's Chorbuch are brilliantly expressed by Florian Helgath and ChorWerk Ruhr, with their superior expressiveness and powerful presence (...). "Singet dem Herrn " by J.S. Bach presents the choir highly virtuoso and with striking lightness.
Online Musik Magazin, Stefan Schmöe, 22.09.2018
The 33 professional singers of the ChorWerk Ruhr bring a breathtaking experience of the highest choral culture: moving expression, perfect homogeneity of the voices and articulation, rich dynamics from multiple piano to fortissimo. The virtuoso fugues as in the "Cum Sancto Spiritu" they sing "con spirito", swinging-fast and yet soulful, never sticky, phenomenal the Durchhörbarkeit (...). Florian Helgath is a master of the art of choral conducting. With relaxed concentration he calls the results of the rehearsal work, inspires, inspires his fellow musicians, conveys the message to the head and heart of the listener. Applause in earthquake strength.
onetz (online), Peter K. Donhauser, 04.02.2018
Consolidated in all epochs up to the new music ChorWerk Ruhr confirmed under the direction of Florian Helgath also with Rossini its reputation as top choir nationwide.The 30-member ensemble captivates in all its expressive facets with its absolutely purified sound: the piano floats in the "Christe eleison", softly lit the "Sanctus", wiry and tightly standing in the room, the "Gloria". It is not just the joyfully prancing Fugato that shows how closed this ensemble is formed of potential soloists and how it translates every nuance of the conductor. [...]
Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Klaus Albrecht, 12.02.2018
Florian Helgath's plan to prepare de Victoria's vocal polyphony for the search for the sound of New York's school is astounding.(…) Helgath works in the "Offertorium" at the polyphony of Tomas Luis de Victoria and lets the choir of six voices sound wonderfully changeable. In "Hosianna", quite audible and clear, the moving chant of ChorWerk Ruhr in the motet resumed with the moment of personal grief. In the venue of a factory a reverberation is felt, and in "Absolutio", the choir has a multi-voice ending, which allows the spectrum of the fading sound to swell to a volume which is unimagined. (...)
John Cage has named different tones for soprano, alto, tenor and bass without determining the duration in Four 2 (1990). In certain periods of time the singers have to sing as well as to end their sound chord differently. Helgath has placed couples of singers among the audience. Their entries trains the feeling for the spatial feeling of the illusion of the origin of the sound.(…)
In Morton Feldman's "Rothko Chapel" (1971), one experiences moments as if the sound is released into the world for the first time. (...)The choir holds a tone which is becoming more and more comprehensive, indeed appears absolute. There is a fine concentration, an expectation.
Westfälischer Anzeiger, Achim Lettmann, 27.08.2017
This requires such an excellent ensemble as the ChorWerk Ruhr, which has given us, under Florian Helgath's prudent management in this concert as part of the Ruhrtriennale, very unusual, exciting and beguiling listening experiences. This is in the machine hall of the coal mine Zollern in Dortmund, where the sound unfolds freely in the room, always remaining tangible despite the enormous dimensions of the building.(…) A fascinating evening.
Westdeutsche Zeitung, Martin Schrahn, 29.08.2017
Florian Helgath, ChorWerk Ruhr, the excellent soloist- and adequate nine-headed instrumental ensemble easily mastered the technical requirements. (…) Florian Helgath and the fabulous ChorWerk Ruhr achieved essential sound impacts, especially in the few sequences, where the music dissolved from prepunched patterns. (…) The premiere audience was overwhelmed by the wall of pictures and sounds, and reacted accordingly thrilled.
Westfälische Rundschau, Pedro Obiera, 24.04.2017
The 36 choristers left nothing to be desired with its powerful and crystalline sound: neither in the clear lines, nor in the differentiated choral expression or the dramatic emphasis “Steinigt ihn!”. Huge accolades in the Philharmonie.
With only 36 singers and 46 musicians, Helgath succeeded not only in a romantic, but also a dramatically gripping interpretation of the story of Paulus.(…) ChorWerk Ruhr convinced with a phased staggered sound: soft and homogenously in the choir "Siehe! Wir preisen selig", dancing and swinging and radiant in the fugue "Der Erdkreis ist nun des Herrn".
Ruhr Nachrichten, Klaus Stübler, 06.03.2017
The fact that the Christian confessions in the age of the Reformation animated outstanding musicians in an interchanging interlude to singular compositions, shows this CD with 16 works variedly and on a high level: as always the grandiose RIAS Chamber Choir impresses with light, warm sound, round tone and a clever text design. And Florian Helgath unites the choir and the Capella de la Torre to a fulminant response to these events from long ago. The connecting element in the division of the confessions touches these musical "echoes of the Reformation" to this day.
BR Klassik, Susanne Schmerda, 14.02.2017
Music is perfectly interpreted in tone, colour and direction of lines. The result are strikingly transparent, vibrant sound with a distinct feature, and gripping in the direction of lines.
Concerti, Dr. Eckhard Weber, 3/2017
The RIAS Kammerchor of Berlin under Florian Helgath has captivated the audience at Victoria Hall Geneva. The programme included Brahms and a contemporary piece of Nik Bärtsch of Zurich.(…) What we admire is the melding and accuracy of the voices. Conducted by the young conductor Florian Helgath, the choristers sing with a wonderful musicality. (…) Without being revolutionary AIM – Ich gehe emits a certain emotional magic thanks to first-class artists.
Le Temps, Julian Sykes, 24.10.2016
All motets of this CD sound true to the original style and well-balanced. You can almost hear how the tone interplays in every moment with the individual voices. The biggest of the German radio choirs (with 73 choristers) is surprisingly streamlined. Just as the tone is one of the strengh of the choir: clear, easy, overtone-rich. [...]
There is no need to mention that everything is just right here: the intonation, the phrasing, the breath, the diction, the homogeneity ... It is a very successful CD, a recommendation for all friends of choir music!
Kulturradio, Astrid Belschner, 27.09.2016
ChorWerk Ruhr sang under the direction of Florian Helgath very well and delicately, and disarmingly clear – while walking around in the hall.
Westfalenpost online, 22.09.2016
Especially for the young women and men of ChorWerk Ruhr the piece The Chirping of the Nightingale by Ugis Praulins was a challenge with chanting, noise and birdsong imitations (…) Florian Helgath kept totally relaxed all the reins. Due to his meticulous rehearsals he could rely blindly to his admirably secure singers (…). The vocalists convinced furthermore with a high-level interpretation and a stunning creation of sound of works by Clement Janequin and Josquin Desprez
Rheinische Post, Heide Oehmen, 21.06.2016
With his excellent ensemble ChorWerk Ruhr and eight singers of each section, Florian Helgath has realised Mozart’s Requiem & Georg Friedrich Haas‘ Sieben Klangräume exquisitely. J.S. Bach’s motet Komm, Jesu, komm with an almost weightless choral sound has been interpreted extremely precise (…) Also Ligeti‘s Lux aeterna with its floating, complex areas of sound has been sung admirably clear. Helgath and ChorWerk Ruhr have captivated once again with its supernatural, beautiful pianissimo in Mozart’s Ave verum corpus and the strings of the Bochum Symphony accompanied delicately: Great highlight of an extraordinarily gripping concert.
Online Musik Magazin, Stefan Schmöe, 05.09.2015
The top ensemble combines a special ardency with its already highly acclaimed artistic director Florian Helgath, who developed the voices to a maximum in Mendelssohn’s Psalms scorings. (…) Literally surrounded by four choral groups, the audience could dive into tone spheres with Hans Schanderl’s Gitanjali no. 100 which seemed to have fallen out of the world (...). After 90 minutes of high intensity this concert has truly deserved the title of “finest hour of choral singing”.
Rhein-Zeitung, Julia Hilgeroth-Buchner, 09.02.2015
An excellent vocal ensemble and a world class recorder player of world class were part of the musical part of the event series "Wege durch das Land". […] How professional and flexible the big choir acted under the direction of Florian Helgath became already obvious in the five romantic songs by Mendelssohn.
Neue Westfälische, 08.07.2014
Florian Helgath, the young chief conductor of ChorWerk Ruhr holds the strings of energy to conduct this special, impressive concert [...] Rarely one has seen such a clearly articulated, so musically phrased polyphony, rarely one witnessed singers that listen to each other that well [...] The incredibly serious nature Helgath is working with, reveals parts of the piece which are usually reserved to musicologists.
Rheinische Post, Armin Kaumanns, 05.11.2013
Gabriela Scherer - Anke Vondung - Tilman Lichdi - Tobias Berndt
(Coviello Classics 2020)
fallacies of hope - deutsches requiem
Sebastian Breuing & Christoph Schnackertz piano
(Coviello Classics 2019)
Schanderl, Buchenberg, Zink,
Ostrzyga, Gerulewicz, Cadario,
Desprez, Salamon, Seither, Weidner
Johann Simon Mayr
(SWR 2 / Carus 2017)
Lasso, Schütz, Monteverdi
Capella de la Torre
(Sony Music / DeutschlandRadio Kultur 2017)
Reger, Bach, Nystedt
Christmas with the Choir of the Bayerischer Rundfunk
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunk
(BR Klassik 2013)
Palestrina/Wagner Stabat mater
Schnittke, Ravel, Bruckner, Sandström a.o.
Via Nova Choir