Arnold Schoenberg Choir
The Arnold Schoenberg Choir was founded in 1972 by current artistic director Erwin Ortner and remains one of the most sought after and versatile vocal ensembles in Austria. The choir’s repertoire ranges from renaissance and baroque to the present day with a focus on contemporary music. The choir has a particular interest in a cappella music, however it also regularly performs large scale works for choir and orchestra.
As well as concert performances, the choir has also regularly taken part in opera productions, beginning with Schubert's Fierrabras at the Vienna Festwochen in 1988 (directed by Ruth Berghaus and conducted by Claudio Abbado), and including Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise in 1992 (directed by Peter Sellars and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen) and the world premiere of Berio's Cronaca del Luogo at the Salzburg Festival.in 1999 (directed by Claus Guth and conducted by Sylvain Cambreling).
The choir is also regularly engaged in opera productions at the Theatre an der Wien; among others Janaceks Aus einem Totenhaus, which was directed by Patrice Chéreau and conducted by Pierre Boulez. This production was voted “Best Opera production in German speaking countries 2007”
2008 Stravinskys The Rakes Progress (directed by Martin Kusej, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt) and 2009 Claus Guths staged interpretaion of Handels Messiah were further operatic highlights. For over 30 years the choir has had a close association with the conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt. It has undertaken numerous concert tours and appears regularly at the Vienna Festwochen, the Salzburg festival, the Wien Modern festival, the Carinthian Summer festival and the styriarte in Graz.
In 1994 an international panel presented the choir with the “Classical music award”. The choir also received numerous prizes, including the German “Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik“, the “Diapason d'or“, the “Prix Caecilia“ and the “Grand Prize of the Academy Awards”, for its 1996 recording of the complete choral works of Franz Schubert, which was conducted by its artistic director Erwin Ortner. The choir also won a Grammy award in 2002 for its recording of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Nicholas Harnoncourt. Latest recordings of Arnold Schoenberg Choir in collaboration with Nikolaus Harnoncourt include an album with cantatas from Bach, Gershwin's Porgy and Bess as well as Haydn's The Seasons, which was awarded the Echo Klassik Price 2010.
Among others the most recent recording to be published in the choir's own Edition is a CD with a cappella works by Johannes Brahms as well as the CD "LUX!" with works from composers of the 20th century.