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Helmuth Rilling

Helmuth Rilling

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Helmuth Rilling is an internationally known German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 choral conductor, founder of the Gächinger Kantorei
Gächinger Kantorei
Gächinger Kantorei is an internationally known German mixed choir, founded by Helmuth Rilling in 1954 in Gächingen and still conducted by him. A "Kantorei" is a choir of high standard dedicated mostly, but not exclusively, to sacred music. The ensemble operates in Stuttgart now and is therefore...

 (1954), the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
Bach-Collegium Stuttgart is an internationally known German instrumental ensemble, founded by Helmuth Rilling in 1965 to accompany the Gächinger Kantorei in choral music with orchestra...

 (1965), the Oregon Bach Festival
Oregon Bach Festival
The Oregon Bach Festival is an annual celebration of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and his musical legacy, held in Eugene, Oregon, United States, in late June and early July. The artistic director is German organist and conductor Helmuth Rilling and the Executive Director is John Evans,...

 (1970), the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart
Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart
Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart is a foundation in Stuttgart, founded by Helmuth Rilling in 1981 to foster international concerts and workshops, namely Musikfest Stuttgart, dedicated especially to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach in relation to present day composition.-Musikfest...

 (1981) and other Bach Academies worldwide, and the "Festival Ensemble Stuttgart" (2001).

Education


Rilling was born into a musical family. He received his early training at the Protestant Seminaries in Württemberg. From 1952 to 1955 he studied organ, composition, and choral conducting at the Stuttgart College of Music. He completed his studies with Fernando Germani in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena.

While still a student in 1954, he founded his first choir, the Gächinger Kantorei
Gächinger Kantorei
Gächinger Kantorei is an internationally known German mixed choir, founded by Helmuth Rilling in 1954 in Gächingen and still conducted by him. A "Kantorei" is a choir of high standard dedicated mostly, but not exclusively, to sacred music. The ensemble operates in Stuttgart now and is therefore...

. Starting in 1957, he was organist and choirmaster at the Stuttgart Gedächtniskirche. From 1963 to 1966, he built up the Spandauer Kantorei (Spandau Choir), and taught organ and choral conducting.

Career


In 1967 he studied with Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

 in New York and in the same year was appointed professor of choral conducting at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts
Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts
The Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts is a state Hochschule for Music, Theater and Dance in Frankfurt and is the only one of its kind in the Federal State of Hesse. It was founded in 1938....

, a post which he held until 1985. In 1969, he took over as conductor of the Frankfurter Kantorei (Frankfurt Choir). Since 1965 he has conducted the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
Bach-Collegium Stuttgart is an internationally known German instrumental ensemble, founded by Helmuth Rilling in 1965 to accompany the Gächinger Kantorei in choral music with orchestra...

, which often performs with the Gächinger Kantorei
Gächinger Kantorei
Gächinger Kantorei is an internationally known German mixed choir, founded by Helmuth Rilling in 1954 in Gächingen and still conducted by him. A "Kantorei" is a choir of high standard dedicated mostly, but not exclusively, to sacred music. The ensemble operates in Stuttgart now and is therefore...

. He has toured widely with both ensembles.

He is well known for his performances of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 and his contemporaries. He is the first person to have twice prepared and recorded (on modern instruments) the complete choral works of J. S. Bach, a monumental task involving well over 1,000 pieces of music - spanning 170 compact discs. He has also recorded many romantic and classical choral and orchestral works, including the works of Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

. In 1988 he conducted the world premiere of the Messa per Rossini
Messa per Rossini
The Messa per Rossini is a Requiem Mass composed to commemorate the first anniversary of Gioachino Rossini's death. It was a collaboration between 13 Italian composers, initiated by Giuseppe Verdi...

that he also conducted at the Rheingau Musik Festival
Rheingau Musik Festival
The Rheingau Musik Festival is an international summer music festival in Germany, founded in 1987. It is mostly for classical music, but includes other genres...

 in 2001, where he has traditionally conducted the final concert.

Rilling is the co-founder and artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival
Oregon Bach Festival
The Oregon Bach Festival is an annual celebration of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and his musical legacy, held in Eugene, Oregon, United States, in late June and early July. The artistic director is German organist and conductor Helmuth Rilling and the Executive Director is John Evans,...

 since 1970 and of the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart
Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart
Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart is a foundation in Stuttgart, founded by Helmuth Rilling in 1981 to foster international concerts and workshops, namely Musikfest Stuttgart, dedicated especially to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach in relation to present day composition.-Musikfest...

 since 1981. In 2001 Rilling created the Festival Ensemble to be part of the European Music Festival Stuttgart ("Musikfest Stuttgart"). The FES consists of an international group of musicians aged 18–30 who come together for an intensive program of rehearsals, private lessons and performances of larger musical works. Since 2004 Rilling has been the Festival Conductor and lecturer at the Toronto Bach Festival. In 2007, Helmuth Rilling conducted the closing performances for the annual Festival Miami at the University of Miami, Florida. Musical ensembles included the Frost Symphony Orchestra and combined choruses of the University of Miami Frost School of Music Chorale and Collegium Musicum. Frost School of Music conductors include Thomas Sleeper, Jo-Michael Scheibe, and Donald Oglesby. He will step down from the Oregon Bach Festival in 2013, handing over to the British conductor Matthew Halls.

Recordings and Awards


Rilling's recording of Krzyztof Penderecki's Credo, commissioned and performed by the Oregon Bach Festival
Oregon Bach Festival
The Oregon Bach Festival is an annual celebration of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and his musical legacy, held in Eugene, Oregon, United States, in late June and early July. The artistic director is German organist and conductor Helmuth Rilling and the Executive Director is John Evans,...

, won the 2001 Grammy Award
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

 for best choral performance. In 2008, Rilling was awarded the Sanford Award by the Yale School of Music
Yale School of Music
The Yale School of Music is one of the twelve professional schools at Yale University and one of the premier music conservatories in the world....

 at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

. He was the 2011 recipient of the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize
Herbert von Karajan Music Prize
The Herbert von Karajan Music Prize, in German "Herbert von Karajan Musikpreis", is an annual award presented by the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden in honour of the celebrated 20th century Austrian conductor, Herbert von Karajan...



For Rilling's 75th birthday his record label Hänssler Classic
Hänssler Classic
Hänssler Classic is a German classical record label based in Holzgerlingen.Friedrich Hänssler Senior founded Musikverlag Hänssler in 1919 to publish church music. Since 1972 Hänssler Classic has also published contemporary and jazz music...

 released his entire Bach edition on iPod.

External links