The Munich Philharmonic Choir is one of Germany’s premier concert choirs and partner choir of the Munich Philharmonic. Established in 1895 by Franz Kaim, the Munich Philharmonic’s founder, it is being led by choir director Andreas Herrmann since 1996.
Past directors of the Munich Philharmonic Choir include such luminaries as Gustav Mahler, Hans Pfitzner, Krzysztof Penderecki, Herbert von Karajan, Rudolf Kempe, Sergiu Celibidache, Zubin Mehta, Mariss Jansons, James Levine, Christian Thielemann, Lorin Maazel and Valery Gergiev. Its repertoire ranges from baroque oratorios to a cappella and choral symphonic works to concert versions of operas and the great contemporary choral works.
In recent years, the choir has widened its focus, adding both early and new music to its classical romantic core repertoire. Its performances of works such as the Mass in B minor, Magnificat, Christmas Oratorio and Passions by Johann Sebastian Bach enjoyed great success – also in smaller chamber choir settings – under the baton of conductors such as Frans Brüggen, Christopher Hogwood, Thomas Hengelbrock and Ton Koopman. This season will see the first early music collaboration with Philippe Herreweghe at the Isarphilharmonie.
The Munich Philharmonic Choir’s repertoire of new music from the 20th and 21st Centuries covers the classical modernity and includes numerous premieres, such as the Munich premiere of Wolfram Buchenberg’s »Sieben Zaubersprüche« and the world premiere of Jan Müller-Wieland’s »Egmonts Freiheit oder Böhmen liegt am Meer«, a commission from the Munich Philharmonic.
In addition to its concert repertoire, the choir is also a sought-after interpreter of opera chorus parts.
In addition to numerous radio and TV broadcasts, the choir’s work can be heard in many recordings on all major labels. The release of Karl Goldmark’s romantic opera »Merlin« with the Philharmonie Festiva orchestra under the baton of Gerd Schaller won the »Echo Klassik« award in the category »Opera Recording of the Year, 19th Century« in 2010. In 2014 and 2016, the choir was nominated for the International Classical Music Award (ICMA) for its CD recordings of Franz von Suppé’s »Requiem« and Johann Ritter von Herbeck’s »Great Mass in E Minor«. With Valery Gergiev and Zubin Mehta, numerous video and audio recordings have been released in recent years with the Munich Philharmonic Choir, for example Gustav Mahler symphonies (No. 2 in 2016 and No. 8 in 2020) and Joseph Haydn’s oratorio »The Creation« in 2021, all on the Munich Philharmonic’s own MPhil label.