Gaechinger Cantorey

Detail of the original truhe organ from Silbermann (photo hs)
Detail of the original truhe organ from Silbermann (photo hs)

With the 2016|17 season a new era begins for the world-famous ensembles of the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, which will then perform under the joint name of Gaechinger Cantorey. Originally, the choir which Helmuth Rilling founded in 1954 was called the »Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart«. This was heard in all the well-known international concert halls with illustrious partners such as the Vienna Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

The historicised spelling of the name »Gaechinger Cantorey« now refers both to the choir, widely recognised and recently transformed by Hans-Christoph Rademann since he became Akademie Director in 2013, and also to the the newly-formed baroque orchestra of the Internationale Bachakademie which performs alongside the choir.

In the 18th century, the era of Johann Sebastian Bach, the term »choir« did not just mean what it has come to mean today – an ensemble comprising exclusively of singers. »Choir« could just as well mean »instrumental choir», that is an orchestra. Against the background of this tradition, in 1730, in a written petition to Leipzig city council, Bach grouped both singers and instrumentalists together in the concept of a »well-established church music ensemble«, and thought carefully about the ideal musical forces which, in his opinion, a music director should have at his disposal.

It was self-evident to Bach that, in these ideal forces, the instruments of the orchestra should blend with the voices of the choral singers to form a homogeneous, and at the same time translucent overall sound. Today we can only achieve this authentic sound ideal through the use of baroque instruments, by using players familiar with baroque performance practice techniques, and by forming a choir from singers who are equally at home with the demands of being a »ripienist« (ensemble singer) and a »concertist« (soloist).

By deciding to have its own baroque orchestra and a choir formed of singers with practical, performing criteria in mind, the Bachakademie is forging a new path. The basic kind of sound, and at the same time the unique international selling point of this new approach underlies the Bachakademie’s decision to commission a historical replica of a chamber organ by the legendary organ builder and contemporary of Bach, Gottfried Silbermann. An original instrument by him has recently been discovered in Seerhausen, Saxony. As an example of the baroque sound, true to the original, this replica embodies the approach at the very heart of a Bachakademie of the future.

The newly-founded baroque orchestra and the newly-constituted choir of the Bachakademie will perform under the joint name Gaechinger Cantorey from now onwards. Based on the historic foundations of the Bach era, and with roots in the living performance history of the choir founded by Helmuth Rilling, this name represents an integrated musical approach and the aesthetic sound ideal of the baroque.

Ensemble History

Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart (1954 until 2016)

Bach-Collegium Stuttgart (1965 until 2016)




The new sound of the Bachakademie
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