• Founded 1946
Often appears with
One of the fine small choirs associated with the branches of Germany's national broadcasting system, the NDR Chorus (in German, NDR Chor, Choir of North German Radio) has an unusually wide range of musical expertise. The choir has been associated with a large number of technically difficult premieres of contemporary works. Based in Hamburg, the choir was founded in May of 1946 by what was then the NWDR (Northwest German Radio). The name was changed in 1955. The impetus for most of the choir's performances in its early years was a radio broadcast in which it would join the NDR Symphony Orchestra; then a public performance of the prepared work might be added. The choir participated in the world premiere of Schoenberg's opera Moses und Aron in 1954. The choir has also programmed works by Karlheinz Stockhausen, György Ligeti, Krzysztof Penderecki, Hans Werner Henze, and other contemporary composers whose music is often technically as well as conceptually difficult. The NDR Chorus has also performed in projects featuring broadly accessible music; in 2012, the choir participated in the SINGING! project led by American composer Eric Whitacre, and it has taken a major role in regional music education with its "Konzert statt Schule" (Concert Instead of School) presentations. Nowadays, the choir performs both orchestral and a cappella choral literature of all periods. The NDR Chorus was led by Max Thurn for the first 19 years of its existence; since then, it has had eight directors, all of them German. Since 2009, the director of the NDR Chorus has been Philipp Ahmann. The group's discography in collaboration with the NDR Symphony Orchestra is large, but it has also been the main attraction on a number of releases, including several albums of the choral music of Max Reger in the mid-2000s. The choir released a recording of Handel's oratorio Susanna in 2016 with the Festspielorchester Göttingen. In 2010, the NDR Chorus received the Johannes Brahms medal of the city of Hamburg.