Ernst Senff Choir of Berlin

Biography by

The Ernst Senff Chor Berlin is a longstanding participant in the musical life of Germany's capital, collaborating with the city's leading symphonic ensembles.
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

The Ernst Senff Chor Berlin or Ernst Senff Choir of Berlin is a frequent collaborator in choral works with Berlin's top symphonic ensembles. The choir was formed in 1966 as the Kammerchor Ernst Senff (Ernst Senff Chamber Choir) by Senff, a professor at the Hochschule für Musik in West Berlin. It gave its first on-air concert a year later on the Sender Freies Berlin radio network, and by 1968 was performing with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. The choir grew in size in the 1970s, enabling it to take on full-scale symphonic repertory, and it sometimes even performed as the Verstärkter Kammerchor Ernst Senff (the "Strengthened Ernest Senff Chamber Choir"). Among these larger performances was one in 1987 of Klaus Wüsthoff's Berlin: Himmel und Hölle (Berlin: Heaven and Hell), an eight-part work in which the choir joined the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Senff remained the choir's director until 1990, when he resigned for personal reasons and was replaced by Sigurd Brauns. The group registered itself at that point under its modern name.

The scope of the choir's performances continued to grow in the 1990s, with concert collaborations with the Berlin Symphony and Berlin Radio Symphony in 1991, an appearance in Israel with the Staatskapelle Weimar in Orff's Carmina Burana in 1994, and one with Simon Rattle's Berlin Philharmonic in 1999. The choir's performances under its own aegis have been less frequent, beginning in 2000 with a commemorative concert for Senff that included some of Senff's own compositions. The Ernst Senff Chor performed in unearthed film scores by Prokofiev in 2003 and later released a CD of the music. The choir increasingly began to attract guest conductors in the mid-2000s decade, with Ud Joffe taking the baton in 2008 for a concert of music by Paul Ben-Haim commemorating the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht. In 2009 the choir opened the Leipzig Bach Days with a performance of Mendelssohn's oratorio Elias.

The music director of the Ernst Senff Chor since 2009 has been Steffen Schubert. The group has made several more recordings, including, in 2018, one of the Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution, Op. 74.