For immediate release
9 Nov 2023
This December, Hong Kong Sinfonietta will be bringing the world-renowned WDR Rundfunkchor Köln from Germany to Hong Kong for the first time to perform together one of the most monumental large-scale sacred works of Bach – his Christmas Oratorio (Parts I-III) – alongside four leading soloists from Germany, under the baton of Music Director Christoph Poppen, promising a joyous and soul-enriching musical celebration of the festive season.
The concerts will take place on 1 & 2 Dec (Fri & Sat) at 8pm at Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall. Tickets are currently on sale at URBTIX.
Founded in 1947, WDR Rundfunkchor Köln is widely regarded as one of the top professional choirs in the world, and is acclaimed for its specialisation in innovative and demanding a cappella and instrumental projects. In their début in Hong Kong, the choir will perform Parts I-III of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, a magnificent masterpiece which remains a well-loved centrepiece for the Christmas season to this day, as it recounts the timeless story of the birth of Jesus. Four distinguished soloists – Carolina Ullrich (soprano), Ulrike Malotta (alto), Patrick Grahl (tenor) and Jonas Müller (bass) – will also be taking centre stage to deliver their authoritative interpretations of the work’s beautiful recitatives and arias alongside the orchestra and choir.
Hong Kong Sinfonietta
1 & 2 Dec 2023 (Friday & Saturday) | 8pm
Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall
$580, $480, $340, $200
Music Director/Conductor: Christoph Poppen
Soprano: Carolina Ullrich
Alto: Ulrike Malotta
Tenor: Patrick Grahl
Bass: Jonas Müller
Chorus: WDR Rundfunkchor Köln
Bach – Weihnachts-Oratorium, BWV248: Parts I-III
* Programme lasts approx. 1hr 30mins with no intermission
- Half-price tickets available for full-time students, senior citizens, people with disabilities and their minder, and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients
- 10% discount for group bookings of 4 or more standard tickets
- Suitable for 6 years old or above
- Tickets at URBTIX
- Tickets online at POPTICKET (no handling fee)
Christoph Poppen Music Director/Conductor
Conductor, soloist, chamber musician and pedagogue, Christoph Poppen has made a name for himself in diverse roles in the international musical world. As Music Director of Hong Kong Sinfonietta from the 2023/2024 season, he works closely with Music Director Emeritus Yip Wing-sie and Associate Conductor Vivian Ip on the artistic development of the orchestra, creating inspiring and innovative programmes which bring music closer to the community. Highlights of his appearances with the orchestra this season include the Hong Kong première of Toshio Hosokawa’s Violin Concerto, the Asian première of William Kentridge’s Oh, To Believe In Another World, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with WDR Rundfunkchor Köln, his brand new Maestro’s Insights concert series, as well as the Farewell Gala of the Marvão International Music Festival in Portugal.
As Hong Kong Sinfonietta’s Principal Guest Conductor between 2015-2023, Poppen has presented to the Hong Kong audience a rich repertoire ranging from Austro-German masterpieces to contemporary works, brought the orchestra on tour to Germany and Portugal, and taken up the position of Co-chair of the Hong Kong International Conducting Competition. During the current season, he continues his close and highly successful collaboration with the Cologne Chamber Orchestra in his role as Principal Conductor, and with the Israel Chamber Orchestra as Principal Guest Conductor, while being the Artistic Director of the Marvão International Music Festival. Highlights in the 2022/2023 season included appearing with the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música and return visits to the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, Munich Chamber Orchestra and Athens State Orchestra, as well as the continuation of his recorded cycle of the complete Mozart Masses with the Cologne Chamber Orchestra for the Naxos label.
From 1995-2006, Poppen was Artistic Director of Munich Chamber Orchestra, establishing the ensemble’s new profile in a short period of time. His distinctive programmes, often contrasting classical and contemporary styles with numerous commissioned works, were highly successful. In 2006, he was appointed Music Director of Radio Symphony Orchestra Saarbrücken and from 2007-2011, he was Music Director of the newly formed Deutsche Radio Philharmonie. He has appeared with orchestras such as Vienna Symphony, Staatskapelle Dresden, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Detroit Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Bamberg Symphony, Camerata Salzburg, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Residentie Orkest, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Indianapolis Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic and Singapore Symphony Orchestra. He also has a strong presence in Italy, performing regularly with the country’s leading orchestras and at festivals such as the Venice Biennale, as well as giving masterclasses. As an opera conductor, he has enjoyed acclaimed collaborations with Staatsoper Stuttgart, Oper Frankfurt, Opera Köln, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Aalto-Musiktheater in Essen and the RuhrTriennale.
Founded by Poppen in 2014, the Marvão International Music Festival has grown to become a highly successful and award-winning musical event featuring soloists such as Jörg Widmann, Augustin Hadelich, Javier Perianes and Clara-Jumi Kang. He also founded the International Academy for Music, Arts and Science in Marvão in 2019, and was the Artistic Director of the Classic Revolution Festival in Seoul, South Korea between 2020-2022, for which he curated highly inventive programmes.
As a prize-winning violinist, Poppen co-founded the Cherubini Quartet in 1978. He was appointed Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Hochschule für Musik Detmold, and later at Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, where he was President from 1996 to 2000. From 2001 to 2005, he was Artistic Director of the renowned ARD International Music Competition. Since 2003, he has been Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich. Since the 2021/2022 academic year, he has been Chair Professor of Violin at the prestigious Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid.
WDR Rundfunkchor Köln Chorus
A professional choir of 43 singers based in the WDR broadcast studio in Cologne, Germany, the WDR Rundfunkchor Köln is widely acclaimed for its specialisation in innovative and demanding a cappella and instrumental projects.
The choir performs a great variety of repertoire ranging from medieval music to contemporary compositions. It presents a cappella concerts as well as concerts featuring symphonic choral works, works for solo voices, film and computer game music, opera and contemporary experimental works. It regularly collaborates with the WDR ensembles, and receives invitations to sing with other orchestras in Germany and abroad.
The choir has given more than 170 world premières by such eminent composers as Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Boulez, Penderecki, Xenakis, Berio, Nono, Henze, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Karl Höller, Peter Eötvös, Toshio Hosokawa, Younghi Pagh-Paan, Hans Zender, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Isabel Mundry and many more. The choir is constantly evolving and exploring new territories, searching for challenges and bringing music of the highest difficulty to life. With the mission of imparting the joy of choral music, it regularly invites people to sing along, and hosts children and family concerts.
Over the last seven decades, the WDR Rundfunkchor Köln was led by Bernhard Zimmermann, Herbert Schernus, Helmuth Froschauer, Anton Marik, Rupert Huber and Stefan Parkman as Chief Conductors. Since the beginning of the 2020/2021 season, Nicolas Fink has been Chief Conductor of the choir, while Simon Halsey has been serving as Creative Director for Choral Music and Projects.
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