The Host – Dresden Philharmonic Children’s Choir
The children’s choir owes its establishment in 1967 to an initiative by the Dresden Philharmonic’s Principal Conductor of the time, Kurt Masur, and can therewith look back on a history of over fifty years. The Dresden Philharmonic Children’s Choir is one of Germany’s best known and most successful children’s choirs today. The continuous professional work with the children is supported by a close cooperation with the Dresden Philharmonic. The multi-faceted musical spectrum extends from the Renaissance to 21st century works and is also presented in joint concerts time and again.
The choir’s a capella repertoire can be experienced across Germany and internationally, with highly successful tours most recently leading it to important concert halls in China, South Africa, northern Germany, the USA and Canada. Amongst other places, the choir can look back on concerts and workshops in Australia, Africa, the USA, United Arab Emirates and Japan. Radio, film and television productions round off the choir’s varied activities along with many CD recordings. The Philharmonic Children’s Choir has garnered first prizes in many national and international competitions.
The choir’s high level of artistic achievement is based on intensive and comprehensive training. This can already start at a pre-school age, with children able to join from the age of five and then learn how to work with their voice, with rhythms and notes.
The careful training fosters every child and challenges them to demonstrate their skills. At this moment in time, around 140 children are singing in the various formations of the choir, which has been under the management of Choir Director Prof. Gunter Berger since 2012.
Choir Director & Artistic Director of the Festival
Prof. Gunter Berger
Gunter Berger, born in 1962 in Greifswald, received his musical training in the subject of school music at the Franz Liszt University of Music in Weimar and in the subject of orchestral conducting at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy University of Music and Theatre in Leipzig. Since 1990, he has been mainly dedicating himself to choir music, shepherding the MDR Children’s Choir to European renown as its director from 1990 to 2011, for example. Over and beyond this, he has also worked with the Gewandhaus Choir in Leipzig and the Berliner Cappella, as well as many other ensembles.
Gunter Berger passes on his experiences in workshops and choral conducting seminars, as well as music academies and universities, including a stint as professor for choral and ensemble conducting at the Liszt University of Music in Weimar from 2009 to 2012, to name just one. Since 2015, he has been teaching choral and orchestral conducting at the Carl Maria von Weber University of Music in Dresden. In addition to this, he is also a frequent guest at special choir projects such as, for example, the Song Exchange, a project run by the Rundfunkchor Berlin.
Starting from the 2012/13 season, Gunter Berger has been overseeing the Dresden Philharmonic Choirs as Choir Director. Over this period, he has significantly expanded the educational offer and repertoire for choir members young and old. Besides the better-known pieces, his programmes have also continued to present the public with forgotten or new works that enrich the Dresden Philharmonic’s concert schedule. Besides the concert celebrating the opening of the new concert hall in the Kulturpalast, the particular high points of recent years also included a performance of Mahler’s 8th symphony and especially the gala concert on the 50th anniversary of the Philharmonic Choirs.
His focus is always on the individuality of every single choir personality: “In a choir, every voice is important. If brought to life successfully, this combination of individual voices and very own emotions creates moments of the most intensive musical experience. To share this experience with our audience and enter into an intellectual and emotional exchange with it is the aim of every concert in my understanding.”