Poznan Chamber Choir
Poznan Chamber Choir combines the best Polish choral traditions with
passion and open attitude to art. The ensemble is celebrated both
nationally and internationally for excellent musical interpretations
originating in its quest for the deepest sources of inspiration: from
lyrics, through harmony, texture and form, to individual feelings of
the conductor and choristers.
The choir was established in 2005 by Bartosz Michałowski, a long-time assistant to Prof. Stefan Stuligrosz, founder of the famous "Poznan Nightingales" Boys´ and Men´s Choir of the Poznań Philharmonic. Conducting experience acquired during numerous concerts with the Poznań Philharmonic and Sinfonia Varsovia orchestras played a crucial role in the establishment of the young artist's own ensemble, which soon found recognition among organizers of prominent competitions and festivals.
Winner of Grand Prix Awards at major choir competitions (2006, 2007 and 2010), the ensemble has also earned a number of special prizes in the best conductor, best vocal technique, and best performance of contemporary music categories. Acclaimed at the most prestigious choral competitions in the world, including the International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf (Germany) and Florilège Vocal de Tours (France). In July 2010, the ensemble won the First Prize and Audience Award at 13th International Choral Festival in Neuchâtel (Switzerland).
The spectacular success enjoyed by the ensemble at one of Europe's most prestigious festivals, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, opened the doors to other remarkable festivals. Since then Poznan Chamber Choir has frequently participated in various events, including: Transatlantyk Festival, Nostalgia Festival, Oratorio Music Festival Musica Sacromontana, International Festival of Contemporary Music “Poznańska Wiosna Muzyczna”, International Festival of Sacred Music Gaude Mater, Lower Silesian Music Festival or Mikołów Music Days.
Excellent orchestras, brilliant soloists
Poznan Chamber Choir was the first Polish ensemble to perform with the legendary Concerto Köln and Irish Baroque Orchestra. The ensemble also gave joint concerts with Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra, Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Lower Silesia Philharmonic Orchestra, Gorzów Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Virtuosi, Sinfonia Viva Orchestra, l’Autunno Chamber Orchestra and the legendary blues band Dżem. The choir shared the stage with such artists as Sara Andon, Mark Isham, Agata Szymczewska, Kuba Jakowicz, Elżbieta Towarnicka, Iwona Hossa, Agnieszka Rehlis, Anna Mikołajczyk-Niewiedział, Katharine Dain, Wojciech Gierlach, Rafał Bartmiński, Robert Gierlach, Tomasz Krzysica, Józef Frakstein. It was led by numerous respected conductors, including Paul McCreesh, Marek Pijarowski, Łukasz Borowicz, Paweł Przytocki, Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski, Monika Wolińska, Tomasz Radziwonowicz, Marcin Sompoliński, Tadeusz Żmijewski, Jurek Dybał and Adam Banaszak.
The ensemble’s broad repertoire consists of a cappella works of various epochs, beginning with Requiem by Ockeghem, through masterpieces of the Baroque composers, to pieces written by contemporary authors, such as Penderecki, Górecki, Łukaszewski, Lauridsen, Whitacre or Pärt. The choir also regularly performs vocal-instrumental works, including G. F. Händel’s Messiah and Brokes-Passion, Bach family motets, A. Vivaldi’s Magnificat, G. G. Gorczycki’s Completorium and Conductus funebris, W. A. Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, S. Moniuszko’s Latin Mass, A. Radziwiłł’s Faust, K. Szymanowski’s Harnasie, G. Fauré’s Requiem, G. Mahler’s Symphony No.3, G. Holst’s The Planets, C. Orff’s Carmina Burana, M. Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s Universa – Open Opera, J. Sykulski’s Missa 1956, J. Whitbourn’s Requiem Canticorum and many other.
Poznan Chamber Choir often took part in premiere performances. The most important are numerous presentations of works discovered in the Oratorian archives in Święta Góra (Musica Sacromontana Festival), first performances of the pieces awarded in the Opus 966 Polish Composer Competition, premiere of oratorio Radość Miłosierdzia (The Joy of Mercy) by J. K. Pawluśkiewicz and Wolności dla nas idzie czas (Freedom Comes Time for Us) by J. Sykulski, the concert of first performances at the 41st “Poznańska Wiosna Muzyczna” Contemporary Music Festival, premiere of Andrzej Koszewski’s Stabat Mater and the first Polish performance of Urlich Harbecke’s Deutsche Messe.
Poznan Chamber Choir has recorded ten CDs, including an album of compositions by Feliks Nowowiejski (2006) with the premiere performance of the reconstructed Ave Maria for eight voices, the world premiere recording of Radość Miłosierdzia (The Joy of Mercy) by Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz (2008), Jacek Sykulski’s composition Wolności dla nas idzie czas (Freedom Comes Time for Us) (2009), and the choir’s first independent CD, Anima aetheris (2009). Moreover, 2010 saw the release of an album containing traditional and jazz interpretations of Karol Szymanowski’s Kurpie Songs, followed by the recordings of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem and Ulrich Harbecke’s Deutsche Messe a year later. The newest albums include J. B. Lohr’s Missa solemnis in B (2012), released within a prestigious cycle Musica Sacromontata), Pasquale Anfossi’s Oratorio of Filippo Neri’s death registered during the subsequent edition of the Musica Sacromontana festival, and a Blu-ray DVD Dżem Symphonically recorded with blues band Dżem and Le Quattro Stagioni orchestra, which received the gold record award.
Original artistic projects are a vital element of the choir’s activity. The most important ones include inviting to Poznań the legendary Concerto Köln orchestra, which in 2011 performed with a Polish choir for the first time and gave their premiere performance of the works by G. G. Gorczycki (Completorium and Conductus funebris). The Poznań concert was enthusiastically applauded by the audience and the critics and has resulted in inviting Poznan Chamber Choir to another joint performance, this time in Köln.
In 2012, on the day of the 270th anniversary of the Dublin premiere performance of G. F. Handel’s Messiah, Poznan Chamber Choir along with Irish Baroque Orchestra from Dublin and remarkable soloists presented to music lovers the extremely rarely performed Dublin version of the masterpiece. The concert was conducted by Bartosz Michałowski. In the same year the choir singers began an original annual concert cycle “History Written With Music – the Works of Old Masters in the Historic Monasteries of Greater Poland”.
In year 2013 Poznan Chamber Choir celebrated the 70th birthday anniversary of Morten Lauridsen by performing Lux Aeterna for choir and orchestra and organizing in Poznań the Polish premiere of an award-winning documentary feature entitled Shining Night. A portrait of composer Morten Lauridsen.
In the same year the ensemble became the official choir of the OPUS 966 Polish Composer Competition, held in Poznań on the occasion of the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland. During each edition the singers grant one of the finalists the Resident Composer award. It has already been received by Łukasz Urbaniak from Bydgoszcz and Marek Raczyński and Mariusz Koliński from Poznań.