The MDR Leipzig Radio Choir is the largest concert choir with one of the richest traditions within the German Broadcasting Corporation (ARD). It is also regarded world-wide as one of the most sought-after ensembles of its kind.
Not only is the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir the largest concert choir with one of the richest traditions within the German Broadcasting Corporation (ARD) but it is also regarded world-wide as one of the most sought-after ensembles of its kind. Conductors such as Herbert von Karajan, Kurt Masur, Sir Colin Davis, Claudio Abbado, SirSimon Rattle, Sir Neville Marriner, Seiji Ozawa, Lorin Maazel, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, Georges Prêtre and Sir Roger Norrington have all paid tribute to the ensemble. The choir also regularly performs with the MDR Symphony Orchestra. Further artistic partners of the 2019/2020 season include the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under the baton of Andris Nelsons, the Dresdner Philharmonic under Marek Janowski as well as the Staatskapelle Dresden under Christian Thielemann, the Sinfonieorchester Basel under Ivor Bolton and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony under David Zinmann and Andrés Orozco-Estrada.
Not only an excellent partner for major orchestras, the ensemble regularly demonstrates its expertise with highly acclaimed a cappella performances. Secular and sacred music, wide-ranging ensemble singing and choral symphonic works complete a repertoire that encompasses practically a thousand years of musical history. Numerous world premieres attest to the 73 choir members' reputation as a specialised ensemble for contemporary music.
From 2015 to 2019 the Estonian conductor Risto Joost held the post of artistic director of the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir. In January 2020 he will be succeeded by Philipp Ahmann who as guest conductor has collaborated closely with the choir and in recent years has shaped the choir's profile through a cappella programmes and CD productions. The line of his predecessors includes names such as Herbert Kegel, Gert Frischmuth and Howard Arman, who also created the highly successful format of the 'Nachtgesänge', late-night a cappella concerts held in Leipzig‘s Peterskirche.
Nearly 200 LPs and CDs – many of them award-winning – have been recorded by the ensemble during its more than 70-year history. In 2017 the choir was awarded the International Classical Music Award for its recording of Max Reger's Motets op. 110, and in March 2018 the Diapason d‘Or for its recording of Rachmaninov‘s Vespers conducted by Risto Joost. Whether via the European Broadcasting Union, through touring or in guest performances worldwide, the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir, which was awarded the European Cultural Prize in 2013, acts as a supreme musical ambassador for central Germany.