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Musical curiosity, a zest for experimentation, a wide stylistic spectrum, and vocal perfection – all these are hallmarks of the SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, which was founded in 1946. In the course of its nearly seven-decade history, the 30-member ensemble has given the world premieres of more than 200 scores, including works by Wolfgang Rihm, Helmut Lachenmann, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Isang Yun, Mauricio Kagel, and Hans Zender, as well as vocal music by such younger composers as Toshio Hosokawa, Hanspeter Kyburz, and Manuel Hidalgo. This commitment was acknowledged when the singers were awarded the European Choral Prize in 2011. Besides new music, the SWR Vokalensemble is also dedicated to performing challenging choral works from earlier eras, and their programs frequently juxtapose old and new in insightful ways. In the past, chief conductors Marinus Voorberg, Klaus-Martin Ziegler, and Rupert Huber left decisive marks on the SWR Vokalensemble. The British conductor Marcus Creed, who received his training at King’s College in Cambridge and at the Guildhall School in London, has served as Artistic Director since 2003; before that he developed the RIAS Kammerchor Berlin into a leading international ensemble. Creed has launched the Vokalensemble’s own concert series featuring challenging a cappella programs. In addition to their concert activities, the musicians are involved in the youth project “SWR Young Classix” and a chamber music series. The SWR Vokalensemble regularly partners with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg and also performs at many renowned festivals. Their recordings have received many awards, including the German Record Critics’ Award, the ECHO Klassik Award, and the Grand Prix du Disque.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 4 September 2003 with Schumann’s Manfred conducted by Heinz Holliger.