MDR Leipzig Radio Children's Choir (biography in English)

The MDR Leipzig Radio Children's Choir is the only children's choir within the German Broadcasting Corporation and has influenced the musical life of its hometown for many years.

Der MDR-Kinderchor im Konzert
Bildrechte: MDR/Andreas Lander

Based in the heart of central Germany, the MDR Leipzig Children's Choir is the only ensemble of its kind within the German Broadcasting Corporation (ARD) – with an unbroken tradition spanning more than 70 years. The choir now offers a musical home to around 180 young singers. Rehearsals take place at MDR's Augustusplatz location in Leipzig, and during their time in the children's choir the various age-groups receive extensive vocal and choral training as well as acquiring a repertoire ranging from Gregorian chant to jazz.

Kinder des MDR-Kinderchors laufen zu ihrem Auftritt.
Bildrechte: MDR/Andreas Lander

As well as regularly rehearsing in different subsections according to age and proficiency, the musical education offered by the choir also comprises vocal training and music theory. The children can be as young as three when admitted to the pre-choir, continuing with the concert-choir right through until they finish school, also enabling boys to stay in the choir after their voices have broken.

MDR-Kinderchor: Kinder verschiedener Altersstufen stehen in schwarz-roter Konzertkleidung auf der Bühne.
Bildrechte: MDR/Marco Prosch

The choir's varied repertoire includes not only children's songs, demanding a cappella literature and musical premieres but also works from the choral symphonic repertoire (Rudolf Tobias's "Des Jona Sendung" in 2015, Georges Bizet's "Carmen", Terry Riley's "In C" in 2017 and Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" in 2019). Crossover projects such as "Kinder der Freiheit" with Polarkreis 18 or joint appearances with the Phudys' Dieter Maschine Birr or Peter Maffay are part of the choir's broad palette as well as regular productions for MDR radio and television, such as the José Carreras Gala and the "Große Show der Weihnachtslieder". The Choir regularly performs in concerts all over Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, be it during the MDR concert season or as part of the MDR-Musiksommer. Among most recent CD recordings are Josef Achtélik's musical fairy-tale play Peterchens Mondfahrt and Hans Sandig's Winter- und Zookantate as well as Engelbert Humperdinck's "Bübchens Weihnachtstraum".

Founded by Hans Sandig in 1948 the MDR Leipzig Radio Children's Choir celebrated its 70th birthday with a special gala concert in March 2018. Having successfully led the choir from 1990 to 2011 Gunter Berger passed on the baton to Ulrich Kaiser who was responsible for the ensemble for six years. In January 2018 Alexander Schmitt became the choir's artistic director, bringing fresh ideas to the ensemble's work.

International concert tours have taken the young singers to Switzerland, the USA, Australia, Poland, Qatar and most recently the Czech Republic for concerts, school projects and workshops. Two awards from the International Choir Competition in Verona serve as impressive testimony to the quality of the musical training provided by MDR.