The Bachchor Mainz
has acquired an excellent reputation far beyond Germany, not least because of its varied choral music repertoire that ranges from the 16th century to the present. Diethard Hellmann, who was the founder and choirmaster for 30 years was succeeded by Ralf Otto in 1986. Otto has continually broadened the ensemble’s range and established an intensive exploration of historical performance practices in addition to focussing on rarely performed works and contemporary music. The choir has worked with illustrious guest conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Sylvain Cambreling, Peter Eotvos, Michael Gielen, Eliahu Inbal, Philippe Jordan, Georges Pretre, Franz Welser-Most and Peter Schreier, and is a regular guest at important festivals and concert halls at home and abroad.
For the conductor Ralf Otto, flexibility, diversity and transparency of sound have always been essential to his work with choirs and orchestras. Otto believes that understanding the compositional structure of a piece of music is an indispensable prerequisite to achieve intensely emotional expression. The conductor’s reputation is based on his gift for interpreting different musical styles, from the Renaissance through to the music of today. Since the beginning of his career, he has been a strong advocate for the performance of early music according to historically informed performance practices. In 1981, Otto founded the Frankfurter Vokalensemble, with which his main focus was contemporary music. Otto’s repertoire encompasses Monteverdi, the complete works of Bach, essential works from the Baroque period, the Viennese classics, the Romantic period, Britten, Eisler, Dallapiccola, Schoenberg and contemporary composers. Driven by his avid interest in as yet unheard music, Ralf Otto focusses on rediscovering forgotten compositions by composers such as Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, as well as on contemporary works. His numerous recordings and broadcasts are a testament to his artistic achievements.