The Bach Collegium Stuttgart was founded in 1965 by Helmuth Rilling as the instrumental partner for the Gächinger Kantorei, and has been administered and funded by the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart since 1981. The group’s complete recording of the sacred cantatas and oratorios of Johann Sebastian Bach, released during the composer’s 300th anniversary year in 1985, raised its profile as a leading Baroque music ensemble performing in a historically-informed style. Nevertheless, the Bach Collegium mainly performs on modern instruments. In this way, it can constantly expand its repertoire and it is now a highly flexible orchestra which is capable of expertly performing works of all periods. Numerous recordings, particularly those on the Bachakademie’s own label hänsslerCLASSIC, including several premieres, illustrate the group’s versatility.
As Artistic Director of the Bach Collegium Stuttgart for many years, Helmuth Rilling laid the foundations to enable the ensemble to develop its artistic maturity in a wide variety of areas, whether it be at leading international festivals, on tours or, increasingly, in its own instrumental and orchestral programmes. The work of teachers from the Bach Collegium has had a considerable influence on the master classes run by the Bachakademie and the introductory courses for young musicians.
The ensemble has worked with guest conductors such as Masaaki Suzuki, Ton Koopman, Martin Haselböck, Alexander Liebreich, Olari Elts, Hansjörg Albrecht and Matthew Halls, with whom it recently recorded Alessandro Grandi’s Vespers. With his new position as Director of the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, Hans-Christoph Rademann assumed responsibility for the artistic direction of the Bachakademie Ensembles in 2013.