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This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Arnold Schoenberg Chor, which was founded by Erwin Ortner in 1972. The choir sings a repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to the present, encompassing orchestral-choral music and a cappella works, as well as full-scale opera productions. They have performed in Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise and Berio’s Cronaca del luogo at the Salzburg Festival and regularly appear at the Theater an der Wien. For more than 30 years the ensemble has enjoyed a particularly close relationship with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, who has conducted the singers on numerous recordings, including Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, which won a Grammy Award in 2002; recent recordings under his direction include Haydn’s oratorio The Seasons and A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms. The choir regularly appears in concert at the Salzburg Festival, the Vienna Festival, the Wien Modern, the Carinthian Summer Festival, and the Styriarte Festival in Graz. Still serving as Artistic Director of the Arnold Schoenberg Chor is Erwin Ortner, who began his career as a member of the Vienna Boys’ Choir and then studied conducting and church music at the Vienna Academy of Music with Hans Swarowsky and Hans Gillesberger. In 1980 Ortner himself was named professor of choral conducting at the same institution, which became the University of Music and where he served as rector between 1996 and 2002. In December 2009 Ortner was appointed Hofkapell-meister in Vienna, taking on leadership of the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle, which has existed since 1498. In 1996 Ortner and the Arnold Schoenberg Chor recorded the complete secular choral music of Schubert, for which they won the German Record Critics’ Prize, the Diapason d’Or, the Prix Caecilia, and Japan’s Grand Prize of the Academy Awards.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 23 March 1997 in Mozart’s “Sparrow” Mass and Haydn’s Stabat mater led by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.