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KölnChor > Der KölnChor > Der Chor > english version
The approximately 80 members of the “KölnChor (Cologne Choir)“ are conducted by Wolfgang Siegenbrink, Kathrin Schmitt is in charge of the voice training. Get to know more about the choir, its statute, the voice trainer and the conductor by following the links.

About the choir

Being one of the big concert choirs in the Cologne-Bonn area the KölnChor with 80 active singers has asserted its position in the semi-professional music business successfully for many years.

The two pillars of our choral work

The choral work is based on two pillars which are, on the one hand, the regular weekly rehearsals, the results of which are presented in concerts in the Cologne-Bonn area and, on the other hand, the organization of choral projects in a limited time frame where additional experienced singers are always very welcome. The main function is to represent the choir nationwide as well as in other countries. Most members of the KölnChor have been musically experienced for years and have already performed a lot of famous choral music, for example Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem”, Mozart’s, Brahms’s and Verdi’s requiem masses and Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” in Cologne Concert Hall (Kölner Philharmonie).

Choral projects

An outstanding experience was doubtlessly the two-week concert trip to Wolgograd, Russia, following an invitation by the Wolgograd Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the most popular and famous Russian orchestras and the Lord Mayors of Wolgograd. In 2004 the KölnChor performed Mozart’s Requiem, a Verdi and Wagner opera gala and Beethoven’s 9th symphony. Besides the choir participated in a performance of Schönberg’s “Gurrelieder (Gurre Songs)” in Koblenz and was mainly involved in a choral project on Händel’s “Messiah”. On occasion of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II the KölnChor went on a concert tour to France (Alsace and Lorraine) to underline the long history and the sense of unity and friendship between the two countries lasting for so many decades. Invited by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra London the KölnChor and the “Rheinischer Kammerchor Köln (Rhinish Chamber Choir Cologne) were given the opportunity to sing on the occasion of “Classical Spectacular” in the “KölnArena (Cologne Festival Hall)” attended by 12000 listeners. A further important step for the choir was their participation in the “Lord of the Rings Symphony” in the “Kölner Philharmonie (Cologne Concert Hall)” on May 28th, 2006, a symphonic trip through the phantastic world of Tolkien’s novel trilogy.

The funding

Our choir is being financed only by its members paying the conductor and the voice trainer. As we don’t receive any sponsoring or grants from other sources our performances have to be cost-covering and there always remains a certain financial risk. Apart from that all members of the choir are not only involved in their vocal activities but also in the preparation of concerts (organisation and advertising).

Wolfgang Siegenbrink, the conductor

Wolfgang Siegenbrink was born in Paderborn in 1966. He studied Catholic church music, organ and piano and orchestral conducting at the College of Music in Cologne. Besides he worked there as a pianist in Prof. Hans Sotin’s vocal class. He received scholarships for Prof. Leopold Hager’s conducting class at the Academy of Music in Vienna and for the Bayreuth Festival. As a scholarship holder of the “Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (International Bach Academy Stuttgart)” during the European Music Festival 2006 he conducted the Festival Choir and the orchestra performing Beethoven’s”Missa solemnis”. He attended master classes of Prof. Christoph Biller, Leipzig and Prof. Helmut Rilling at the International Bach Academy. He worked as a vocal coach at the Opera House in Bonn and conducted the “Beethovenorchester”. He was Jeffrey Tate’s assistant in stage-managing Wagner’s “Parsival” and supported Marc Soustrot, Bonn’s musical director in performing “Ring des Nibelungen” by Wagner. In 2001 he conducted Britten’s “War Requiem” with the Chamber Orchestra of the “Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz”. One year before he performed Bach’s complete organ work in Cologne. Wolfgang Siegenbrink has been conducting the “Rheinischer Kammerchor Köln (Rhinish Chamber Choir Cologne)” since 1995, additionally the “KölnChor (Cologne Choir)” since 2002. With the latter he made widely-regarded concert tours to Wolgograd, Russia in 2003 and to France in 2005. In cooperation between both choirs he conducted Verdi’s requiem mass with the “Bochumer Symphoniker (Bochum Symphony Orchestra)” in 2003. Both choirs are members of the Cologne Choirs Association. Wolfgang Siegenbrink’s creative talent helped him to organize the first Cologne Choral Festival in October 2007 where he conducted Händel’s “Messiah” in Sir Eugene Goossens’ version for big symphony orchestras. In the same year he delighted his audience with an opera gala in Cologne Concert Hall with pieces of Verdi and Wagner.. In celebration of the 350th anniversary of the “Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz” in 2004. W. Siegenbrink was asked to rehearse Arnold Schoenberg’s “Gurrelieder (Gurre Songs)” for the orchestra’s jubilee concert on March 5th, 2004. Nine single choirs with approximately 500 singers participated in that project. On occasion of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II he conducted several memorial concerts with the KölnChor in France and , invited by the Goethe-Institut, the Baltic premiere of Paul McCartney’s latest oratorio “Ecce Cor Meum” in Riga Cathedral, Latvia.

Voice training by Kathrin Schmitt

Kathrin Schmitt, a certified vocal coach, trains our voices as well as those of the “Rheinischer Kammerchor Köln” and, as a result, contributes to the steady improvement of the choir’s vocal quality. Mrs. Schmitt, a soprano, studied school music and took her exams as a qualified vocal teacher and a qualified choir master at the Academies of Music in Cologne and Frankfort. During her studies she was engaged as a solo singer by the Frankfort Opera House and the Frankfort Theatre. Furthermore she worked as a musical assistant for the Girls’ Choir of Cologne Cathedral supporting the choir in choral services and concerts as conductor and solo singer. In addition to lots of radio and CD recordings with well-known ensembles such as the “Chor der Bamberger Sinfoniker, Chorwerk Ruhr, and Chorus Musicus” she attented Helmut Rilling’s and Masaaki Suzuki’s conducting master classes as well as Prof. Klesie Kelly-Moog’s and Melinda Liebermann’s vocal classes. Besides, Mrs. Schmitt has developed vocal teaching activities with single students, groups and choirs very successfully. By doing that she connects a substantial Belcanto technique with physical and motivational exercises and a classical warm-up.