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Danish National Concert Choir

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Agnete Schlichtkrull

The Danish National Concert Choir was founded in 1932 with the purpose of performing the wide-ranging repertoire of oratorios and symphonic works with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. The choir numbers 74 professional singers, 31 of whom are permanently employed forming the chamber choir. The remaining 43 singers are all under 5-year contracts. Throughout the years the choir has performed with special acclaim under conductors such as Fritz Busch, Rafael Kubelik, Sergiu Celibidache, Kurt Sanderling, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Marek Janowski, Christoph Eschenbach and the Chief Conductors of the DNRSO Herbert Blomstedt (1967-77), Leif Segerstam (1989-95), Ulf Schirmer (1995-98) and Gerd Albrecht.

In 1937 the smaller full time professional chamber choir was established by Mogens Wöldike in order to develop the art of a cappella singing and to improve the conditions for commissioning of new works as well as the performing of already existing choral music of high quality. It is the declared goal of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation that the choir should function as an inspiration for composers of a cappella music, and performing a cappella music actually takes up a little more than 50% of the choir’s 210 annual working days. Diversity, however, is one of the choir’s trademarks; - per definition all musical eras are part of the choir’s repertoire. Mogens Wöldike was very much part of the choir until the 1970’ies, when John Alldis became Chief Conductor (1972-77). Per Enevold led the choir during the years 1985-88 until Swedish Stefan Parkman in 1989 was appointed Chief Conductor. Professor Uwe Gronostay, known also then as the artistic director of the Nederlands Kamerkoor, was Principal Guest Conductor 1992-1998, a position taken over by Stephen Layton from 1999 to 2002.

The Danish National Concert Choir has won great acclaim through its more than 40 Dacapo, DECCA and CHANDOS CD-releases of both a cappella works and symphonic works with DNSO. Participating in a.o. Stockholm New Music, Ultima Festival (Oslo), The Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and Tampere International Choir Festival as well as the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall and concerts at Alte Oper in Frankfurt has certainly confirmed the choir’s position on the great music stages of Europe. Since 1948 the Danish National Concert Choir has made more than 15 tours in Denmark and more than 45 tours in Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia.