In Bach cantatas there were usually two groups of singers: concertists and ripienists. The so-called concertists were the better-trained singers and therefore the soloists Bach needed for his complex music. Concertists sang throughout the cantata. Ripienists – either one per part or more – simply doubled the soloists at the less complex tutti marked sections and were needed for the singing of chorales.
Founded in 2008, Die Konzertisten is a chamber choir that aims to perform choral and vocal works to the highest professional standard with committed and passionate singing. The group promotes a variety of musical styles and has presented a series of concerts with repertoire ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque to romantic, modern and contemporary works.
From its early days Die Konzertisten has performed with a number of distinguished conductors and musicians, including the internationally renowned choral expert Stephen Layton (Mozart’s Requiem with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong), the legendary conductor Helmuth Rilling (Bach’s B Minor Mass), the highly sought-after living composer Karl Jenkins (Karl Jenkins’ Requiem), the talented English conductor Nicholas Cleobury (Requiems by John Rutter and Bob Chilcott), the cantor of the world-famous St Thomas Boys Choir Georg Christoph Biller (Masterclass in the 39th Hong Kong Arts Festival), Johnny Poon (Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Collegium Musicum Hong Kong), Michael Ryan (Victoria’s Requiem and Byrd’s The Great Service), Wing-sie Yip (Faure’s Requiem with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta) and Felix Yeung (Bach’s St Matthew Passion).
After the highly acclaimed performances of all Bach’s six motets in the ‘All About Bach’ series in 2011, Die Konzertisten collaborated with the Hong Kong Arts Festival again in 2013 to lead the Britten 100 Project, celebrating the centenary of the composer with a series of performances featuring some of his most distinguished vocal pieces.
In a slight departure from the usual repertoire, but to demonstrate the choir’s considerable versatility and depth, Die Konzertisten made its debut at Asia Expo in July 2013 as the Chorus for the Hong Kong premiere of sound tracks from ‘Distant Worlds: Final Fantasy’, a world-famous genre of video game, originally composed and launched in 1987.
Die Konzertisten is also proud to support talented young composers in Hong Kong. In January 2011,the choir performed the premier of Ernest Hui’s ‘Void’, an a capella Requiem, in a concert entitled Inspired Sound. The choir was then invited to perform in Musicarama 2012, an event organized by the Hong Kong Composers’ Guild and showcasing choral music composed by local talents.
The season 13/14 is another exciting year for the choir. In their summer Counterpoint Music Festival 2013, Die Konzertisten took part in a semi-staged version of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and performed Handel’s epic oratorio Israel in Egypt. In November 2013, Die Konzertisten will perform three challenging a cappella choral pieces by Verdi in a concert organized by Musica Viva to celebrate the 200th birthday of the composer. Members of the choir will then go to New York’s famous Carnegie Hall to sing in a concert celebrating the 70th birthday of Karl Jenkins. In the 42nd HK Arts Festival, Die Konzertisten will be joining the Hong Kong Arts Festival Chorus to perform Gluck’s Iphigenie auf Tauris, a special dance-opera directed and choreographed by the late Pina Bausch.