© Pedro Malinowski

Chorwerk Ruhr

Florian Helgath, conductor

30.09. - 03.10.2022
Chorbuch

J. S.Bach: Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied BWV 225
J.S. Bach: Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf BWV 226
J.S. Bach: Fürchte Dich nicht, ich bin bei dir BWV 228
Mauricio Kagel: Chorbuch for vocal ensemble and keyboard instruments (with run-in chorals by J.S. Bach)
J.S. Bach: 2 pieces for organ solo

Björn Colell, theorbo
Lies Wyers, violone
Christoph Schnackertz, piano
Christoph Lehmann, organ and harmonium
Florian Helgath, conductor

February 2023
The canticle of the sun

Orlando di Lasso: Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei from Missa super Osculetur
Martin Wistinghausen: New pieces for violoncello, chamber choir and percussion (2020)
Sofia Gubaidulina: The canticle of the sun for violoncello, chamber choir and percussion (1997)

Narek Haknnazaryan, violoncello
Alexander Maczewski and Nicholas Bardach, percussion
Sebastian Breuning, celesta
Florian Helgath, conductor

May 2023 upon agreement
"Natural treasures": Motets of 17th century

Music by Dieter Schnebel, Moritz Landgraf von Hessen, Aspirio Pacelli, Hyronimus Praetorius, Orlando di Lasso, Johann Kaspar Kerll, Martin Wistinghausen, Michael Praetorius, David Pohle, Jacobus Gallus, Marco Antonio Ingegneri, Andrea Gabrieli and Giovanni Gabrieli


Capella de la Torre
Katharina Bäuml, shawm
Florian Helgath, conductor

2022/23
Chansons of the 20th century

Goffredo Petrassi: Nonsense madrigals for choir A cappella
Luciano Berio: Cries of London for 8 voices A cappella
Paul Hindemith Six Chansons for choir A cappella
Francis Poulenc: Sept chansons for choir A cappella
Einojuhani Rautavaara: The First Elegy for choir A cappella

Florian Helgath, conductor

2022/23
Flower Songs

Benjamin Britten: Five Flower Songs for choir A cappella
Edward Elgar: My love dwelt in a northern land op. 18/3
Gustav Holst: Choral Hyms from the Rig Veda op. 26 for women choir and harp
Gerard Finzi: Seven Poems of Robert Bridges op. 17 (1934-1937)
Benjamin Britten: Choral Dances for choir A cappella

N.N., harp
Florian Helgath, conductor

2022/23
Ave Maris Stella

Michael Ostrzyga: Work for choir A cappella
Frank Martin: Songs of Ariel for choir A cappella (1950)
Jaakko Mäntyjärvi: Canticum calamitatis maritimae for choir A cappella (1997)
Arvo Pärt: Morning Star for choir A cappella (2007)
Further renderings of Ave maris stella

Florian Helgath, conductor

2022/23
Webern/Schönberg/Krenek programme

Anton Webern/Clytus Gottwald: Vier frühe Lieder (around 1900)
Arnold Schönberg: Friede auf Erden (1907)
Ernst Krenek: Die Jahreszeiten (1925)
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Anton Webern: Entflieht auf leichten Kähnen (1908)
Arnold Schönberg: Dreimal tausend Jahre (1947)
Ernst Krenek: In Coena Domini from Lamentatio Prophetae (1942)

Florian Helgath, conductor

2022/23
Marienvesper

Claudio Monteverdi: Marienvesper SV 206 (1610)

Ensemble Daimonion
Soloists: N.N.
Florian Helgath, conductor

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Chorwerk Ruhr

Chorwerk Ruhr is one of the leading German professional chamber choirs. Award-winning conductor Florian Helgath has been Artistic Director of Chorwerk Ruhr since 2011.

With his ensemble of young and flexible voices Florian Helgath presents choral music at the highest level. The repertoire ranges from Bach to Hans Zender and from Monteverdi to Wolfgang Rihm. Florian Helgath has been focussing on contemporary music to great acclaim within the last years.

Invitations led Chorwerk Ruhr to major concert halls as Essen Philharmonie, Munich Herkulessaal and to the Berliner Festspiele, Audi Sommerkonzerte, Eclat Festival Stuttgart and particularly to the Ruhrtriennale. Since 2002 Chorwerk Ruhr has been taking part in annual opera productions.

Since the foundation in 1999, Chorwerk Ruhr has appeared in numerous concerts in collaboration with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Concerto Köln, Ensemble Resonanz, musikFabrik NRW, Schönberg Ensemble Amsterdam, Cappella Coloniensis, Ensemble Modern, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, SWR Radio Sinfonieorchester, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and conductors such as Sylvain Cambreling, Reinhard Goebel, Robin Gritton, Susanna Mälkki, Peter Neumann, Peter Rundel, Bruno Weil and Hans Zender.

Co-Founder and first Artistic Director Frieder Bernius has led Chorwerk Ruhr until 2003. His successor Rupert Huber has been Music Director from 2008 to 2011.  

Coviello Classics has released two highly acclaimed albums of Mozart/Michael Ostrzyga: Requiem in 2020 and Brahms: A German Requiem (version with piano duo) in 2019.

Season 2020/21

Video: ChorWerk Ruhr on youtube.

Florian Helgath

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. Since 2017 he is also Artistic Director of the Zürcher Sing-Akademie. With these 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 Choir 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, Vocalconsort Berlin, Netherlands Radio Choir, Choeur de Radio France, Flemish Radio Choir, Norwegian Soloists’ Choir, Warsaw Philharmonic Choir among others and collaborates with orchestras as Concerto Köln, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, B’Rock Orchestra, Orchestra La Scintilla, Brussels Philharmonic, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, WDR Funkhausorchester, Münchner Symphoniker, Bochumer Symphoniker, Dortmunder Philharmoniker, Berner Kammerorchester, Odense Symphony, Danish Chamber Orchestra and Ensemble Resonanz.

Concerts led him to major concert halls and festivals as the Berliner Festspiele, Schwetzingen Festival, Audi Summer Concerts, Eclat Festival Stuttgart, Thüringer Bachwochen and particularly to the Ruhrtriennale with contemporary opera performances and numerous manifold projects. In addition to A cappella projects, Florian Helgath's focus is increasingly on performances of choral and symphonic repertoire.

Upcoming highlights include guest conducting with the RIAS Kammerchor, Aarhus Symphony & Choir, South Denmark Philharmonic & Choir, Choeur de Radio France, World Choir Symposium in Auckland, concerts with Chorwerk Ruhr at Muziekgebouw Amsterdam and deSingel Antwerpen and others.

Florian Helgath’s discography includes a number of prize-winning recordings as the Mozart Requiem (version Michael Ostrzyga 2019), Brahms Requiem (piano version) with Chorwerk Ruhr for Coviello Classics, the album Sacred Songs with works by J.S. Bach, Reger, Knut Nystedt with 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, music by Palestrina and Wagner with MDR Leipzig Radio Choir, J.S. Mayr Missa in c – Stabat Mater with Orpheus Vokalensemble and Concerto Köln as well as Contemporary A cappella music with Via Nova Chor. The recording 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.

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 2020/21

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News

Florian Helgath conducts ChorWerk Ruhr and B'Rock Continuo in Antwerp

Florian Helgath conducts the production Earth Diver with music by Heinrich Schütz and Nikolaus Brass with ChorWerk Ruhr and B'Rock Continuo in Antwerp from 11-14 October.

Press

  • Album: Mozart Requiem

    The event of the new recording is anyway the interpretation by Chorwerk Ruhr and Concerto Köln under the direction of Florian Helgath, who sets new records with his equally inspired, slim, energetic and expressive design. The choir is brilliant, always sounding transparent, dynamic, wide, but without extravagance, and making the melodic progress crystal clear. Florian Helgath sets strong accents, but always keeps his measure, does not derail in exaggerations like celebrated stars à la Currentzis & Co. Together with the no less excellent Concerto Köln and a balanced soloist quartet, the recording deserves a top place in every discotheque.

    Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Pedro Obiera, 26.06.2020

  • Album: Brahms A German Requiem with Chorwerk Ruhr

    […] 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

     

     

  • Berio & Striggio with Chorwerk Ruhr at Ruhrtriennale

    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

  • Mozart Requiem/Michael Ostrzyga with Florian Helgath and Concerto Köln at Rheingau Musik Festival

    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

  • J.S. Bach: St. John Passion with Florian Helgath

    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

     

  • J.S. Bach & Mauricio Kagel at Ruhrtriennale

    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

  • Brahms Requiem in version for piano duo and choir

    The ChorWerk Ruhr and Florian Helgath performed in the well-filled Philharmonie Mercatorhalle Duisburg the two most important sacred works of Johannes Brahms, the German Requiem and Why is the light given to the weary with only 29 voices in exemplary concise manner. This was not only extremely transparent and lively, more than ever before, especially in the sixth movement "Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt ", which also gave the goosebumps quality due to the overwhelming euphony. Even for the always first-class iconic ensemble, this was a great moment of choral music.

    Rheinische Post, Ingo Hoddick, 28.11.2017

  • When early music and new music meet at same level: "Memoria" in Dortmund

    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

  • "Memoria" with Florian Helgath and ChorWerk Ruhr at Ruhrtriennale

    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

  • Philipp Glass: Oper Einstein on the Beach

    In Dortmund, ChorWerk Ruhr - a choir of young professional singers who have achieved the international top level within in the last years also through their productions for the Ruhrtriennale - was phenomenally secure in intonation and rhythm, and also playful up to audacity. The founder and musical director Florian Helgath also had the musical overall direction and also conducted the small ensemble of wind instruments and keyboards on which Philipp Glass has built his monumental work.

    Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Ulrike Gondorf, 23.04.2017

    Florian Helgath and “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

     

     

     

  • Excellent „Paulus“ with ChorWerk Ruhr, Concerto Köln and Florian Helgath in Essen

    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.

    ikz-online.de 07.03.2017

    ChorWerk Ruhr sang Mendelssohns „Paulus" intimately and grippingly

    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

  • First performance of 'Earth Diver' at Ruhrtriennale in Essen

    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

    Then ChorWerk Ruhr begins to sing the music of Heinrich Schütz, an early baroque cry from God from the anguish of the Thirty Years' War, and you feel, to borrow a cliché, as though you have died and gone to heaven.

    Financial Times, Shirley Apthorp, 24.09.2016

  • As if time seems to stand still

    If there were a god, he would be pleased with such an evening. Not because the motet by Bach "Come, Jesus, come" convinced him of deep faith and the requiem fragments of Mozart anyway got under the skin. [...]

    The ChorWerk Ruhr and the Ensemble Resonanz directed by Florian Helgath get a grip on the overdimensioned hall of the Cathedral in Speyer - ecpecially those slow-moving works, which turn out well with the slight soprano-alto-dominance.

    Mannheimer Morgen, Stefan M. Dettlinger, 23.07.2016

  • Chant of Nightingale at its best

    A listening pleasure of the extra class follows: A multi-faceted, expressive singing with perfect fine-tuning in literally all pitches, a virtuoso, sensitive flute playing and a captivating, charming story.

    Westdeutsche Zeitung, Gabriele M. Knoll, 21.06.2016

     

     

     

  • The accomplished falling silent of Mozart at the Ruhrtriennale

    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

  • First-class singing on the world heritage site Zeche Zollverein Essen

    What ChorWerk Ruhr offers in terms of purity of intonation , subtle articulation and culture of phrasing, understanding of the text, fine dynamic work as well as perfect balance of male and female voices, was already demonstrated with the six dark tuned motets by Hubert Parry from his final years 1916-18. Pretty simple songs, closer oriented to ancient than romantic or even modern prototypes, where ChorWerk Ruhr was able to present fully its top class singing culture.

    Der Westen, Pedro Obiera, 23.02.2015 

  • "The magic of unearthly vocals" for the 15th anniversary of ChorWerk Ruhr

    Charles Hubert Parry’s Songs of Farewell could have been no better reference for the extraordinary art of the singers of the ChorWerk Ruhr as the six settings by this contemporary of  Brahms. (…) An intonation beyond all doubt demonstrated a comforting awe of the breezing, sparkling treble of the sopranos and the velvety warm depth of the bass singers. (…) 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. (…) 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

  • "The Chirping of the Nightingale" at German festivals

    The highlight of the evening: Uģis Prauliņš The Nightingale. An incredibly challenging programme, that can be performed only by the best. The audience is cheering.

    Donaukurier, 14.07.2014

    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 Bartholdy.

    Neue Westfälische, 08.07.2014

  • Heinrich Schütz and Giacinto Scelsi at Musica Viva in Munich

    Incomparable Musikalische Exequien (1635/36) by incomparable composer Heinrich Schütz incomparably celebrated by the truly incomparable ensemble ChorWerk Ruhr - that was beyond any quotidianity.

    Neue musikzeitung, Wolf Loeckle, 03/2014

  • Bach's "B minor Mass" brilliantly interpretated in Kempen

    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

  • Helmut Lachenmann: The Little Match Girl

    It was the Frankfurt Radio Symphony under Emilio Pomàrico and the singers of ChorWerk Ruhr who ultimately provided the evening’s most engrossing content last weekend, with a musical account of the piece that was every bit as aurally beguiling and intellectually provocative as Lachenmann could possibly have wanted

    Financial Times, Shirley Apthorp, 23.09.2013

  • "A Summer Night's Dream" in Essen

    With Benjamin Britten's "Five Flower Songs" (op. 47) [...] the singers not only have proven their individual talent, but also their perfectly matching coherent chorus sound that is acentuated even more when they sing a cappella.

    Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Anna Ernst, 29.07.2013

Discography

Mozart: Requiem Florian Helgath
Chorwerk Ruhr
Gabriela Scherer - Anke Vondung - Tilman Lichdi - Tobias Berndt
Concerto Köln
(Coviello Classics 2020)
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem Florian Helgath
Chorwerk Ruhr
Sebastian Breuing & Christoph Schnackertz piano
Soloists
(Coviello Classics 2019)