The Bach-Choir at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Memorial-Church
The Bach-Choir at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Memorial-Church was created in 1961 by Hanns-Martin Schneidt. With a performance of the cantatas I-III of the Weihnachts-Oratorium (BWV 248) of its name patron the choir appeared in public for the first time on the day of the inauguration of the new memorial church on December 17, 1961.
More than 800 cantata services and sacred music concerts have been performed by the Bach-Choir since 1961, the year in which it was founded at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Memorial-Church. The concerts in the more than 45 years that have followed have included not only the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach - cantatas, masses, oratorios, passions, motets, and instrumental works für organ and orchestra - but also works of composers such as Schütz, Händel, Haydn, Mozart, Dvorak, and Brahms.
Approximately 80 singers give their voices to the Bach-Choir. They are assisted by the Bach-Collegium, an ensemble of instrumentalists who are also members of major Berlin orchestras (e.g Orchester der Deutschen Oper, Berliner Philharmoniker, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, Staatskapelle Berlin). Renowned soloists are regular guests of the two ensembles, which have also performed in the area surrounding Berlin as weIl as in Dresden, Leipzig and Trier. Concert tours outside Germany have taken the Bach-Chor and Collegium to Poland, Spain, Israel, Japan, and the United States.
Achim Zimmermann is the musical director of both ensembles. He received his artistic training at the Dresdner Kreuzchor, of which he was a member for eight years. He studied choral and orchestral conducting at the Franz Liszt Academy in, Leipzig and has taken part in conducting workshops in Leipzig, Stuttgart (Helmuth Rilling), and Eugene, Oregon. In 1989 Zimmermann was appointed as director of the Berliner Singakademie, and in 2002 he became the director of the Bach-Choir, succeeding Hanns-Martin Schneidt (1961-1963), Helmuth Rilling (1963/64) and Karl Hochreither (1964-2001).