Helmuth Rilling

Biography

Born: May 29, 1933; Germany  
Over his career, Helmuth Rilling has become one of the most respected choral conductors in the world. Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Rilling grew up in a musical family; his father was an organist and choir conductor, while his mother played violin. He himself took up piano and organ as a child, showing a fine talent for each. He later studied at the Hochschule für Musik in his home city, becoming a distinguished Kantor in Kornwestheim and Read more Stuttgart; he received his music diploma in 1954.

Rilling had already started down the path to a long and fruitful career when he founded the Gächinger Kantorei in December 1953. Gächinger is a small town in southwest Germany, but Rilling's Kantorei were well enough supported by the locals that their reputation soon spread as leaders in the performance of unaccompanied choral repertoire. The Gachinger Kantorei's singers came, and still come, mostly from southwest Germany; the group's success is due both to the dedication of its members and the amazing pedagogical skills of its leader.

Eventually, Rilling founded the Stuttgart Bach-Collegium orchestra to accompany the Kantorei, and the synthesis was an immediate success. Rilling and his ensembles recorded all the major works of Bach: the Passions of St. John and St. Matthew, the B Minor Mass, and eventually the complete cantatas, a series which was finished in time for the 300th anniversary of Bach's birth in 1985. The Kantorei, under Rilling's direction, has also made extensive appearances with foreign orchestras, including one particularly memorable occasion in Israel in 1976. It was the first time German and Israeli musicians had performed together since World War II, and Rilling conducted the Kantorei in the Israeli national anthem as a further gesture of reconciliation.

Outreach through music was nothing new to Rilling; the Kantorei had undertaken a tour of East Germany almost immediately after its founding, and in general Rilling always tried to bridge the gap between East and West with music before the Iron Curtain lifted. He also conducted the premier performance of the Requiem for Reconciliation, which combined movements written for the occasion by composers from all the nations involved in World War II.

Even though his activites have been centered in Germany, Rilling's activities have taken him all over the world; he founded the Oregon Bach Festival in 1970, and he has instructed choral groups all over the world. Rilling gained prominence in an era when period practices were becoming dominant in Bach performance, yet Rilling has never used period instruments and has always used a good-sized choir for his performances. He feels that it is impossible to know exactly how Bach's music sounded in his time, not just to the musicians but to Bach's audience. While period practices have their place, Rilling feels, they should be used as a guide and not a doctrine. In performance, Rilling does not strive for a blend of choral tone, but a sound that is both controlled and full of character. Rilling's performances have become more and more deeply felt and subtle over the years. All of his performances are deeply felt, scrupulously detailed, and outstandingly sung. Read less

Bach: Lutheran Masses / Rilling
Release Date: 05/27/2008   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 7027   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Christus Am Olberge / Rilling, Bach-collegium Stuttgart
Release Date: 02/25/2014   Label: Hänssler Classic  
Catalog: 98030   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Mass In B Minor / Rilling, Crook, Lipovsek, Sonntag, Schmidt
Release Date: 10/25/2011   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 11050   Number of Discs: 1
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Famous Masses - Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven / Rilling, Bernius, Wand
Release Date: 05/26/2009   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 8024   Number of Discs: 3
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Browse 1-25 of 285 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Bach: Sacred Choral Works / Rilling, Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Gachinger Kantorei
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7687172 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Bach Collegium Orchestra,  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart
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  • 2.
    Beethoven: Christus Am Olberge / Rilling, Bach-collegium Stuttgart
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98030 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Keith Lewis,  Michel Brodard,  Maria Venuti
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart
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  • 3.
    Schubert: Mass In Ab Major / Rilling, Oregon Bach Festival
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98033 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Michael Volle,  Monica Groop,  James Taylor,  Donna Brown
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra,  Oregon Bach Festival Chorus
    CD: $14.99
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  • 4.
    C.P.E. Bach: Magnificat; J.L. Bach: Missa Brevis / Rilling, Bach Collegium Stutrgart
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98024 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Johann Nicolaus Bach
    Performer:  Aldo Baldin,  Uta Spreckelsen,  Niklaus Tüller
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
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  • 5.
    Handel/Mozart: Messiah (In German) / Rilling, Stuttgart Bach Collegium
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98022 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Alastair Miles,  Roberto Saccà,  Cornelia Kallisch,  Donna Brown
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium
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  • 6.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concerti / Rilling, Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra [LP]
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98025 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra
    LP: $34.99
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  • 7.
    Honegger: Jeanne D'arc Au Bucher / Rilling, Stuttgart Radio Symphony
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98636 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Honegger
    Performer:  Karen Wierzba,  Letizia Scherrer,  Kismara Pessatti,  François Le Roux  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Mendelssohn: Elias / Rilling, Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart, Bach Collegium Stuttgart
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98017 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Cornelia Kallisch,  Michael Schade,  Christine Schäfer,  Wolfgang Schöne
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart
    CD: $24.99
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  • 9.
    Anton Bruckner - The Collection
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 13007 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Performer:  Wolfgang Czelusta,  Peter Redwig,  Klaus Bäuerle,  Fritz Resch  ... 
    Conductor:  Georg Tintner,  Gerd Schaller,  Klaus Tennstedt,  Kurt Sanderling  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland,  Philharmonie Festiva  ... 
    CD: $88.99
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  • 10.
    Bach: Complete Orchestral Works / Helmuth Rilling
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98009 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Carol Wincenc,  Christoph Poppen,  Isabelle Faust,  Robert Levin  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra,  Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium
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    CD: $48.99
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  • 11.
    Helmuth Rilling - Personal Selection
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98008 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  César Franck,  Benjamin Britten,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Juliane Banse,  Ingeborg Danz,  James Taylor,  Andreas Schmidt  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Aurelius Boys Choir of Calw  ... 
    CD: $64.49
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  • 12.
    Dvorak: Stabat Mater / Rilling, Oregon Bach Festival
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98006 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Ingeborg Danz,  Marina Shaguch,  James Taylor,  Thomas Quasthoff
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra,  Oregon Bach Festival Chorus
    CD: $24.99
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  • 13.
    Haydn: Die Schopfung / Rilling, Bach Collegium Stuttgart
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98007 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Juliane Banse,  Ingeborg Danz,  Michael Schade,  Andreas Schmidt
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart
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  • 14.
    Mendelssohn: Paulus / Rilling, Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98016 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Prague Chamber Chorus
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  • 15.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Rilling, Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 94615 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Label: Membran / Documents   Catalog: 1203297 Release Date: 10/02/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Giovanni Palestrina,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Helmut Deutsch,  Roland Keller,  Uwe Harrer,  René Kollo  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden,  Domenico Bartolucci,  Hans Gillesberger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Marianne & Michael
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  • 17.
    In Paradisum - Spiritual Classical Music
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94412 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  César Franck,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy Brown,  Angharad Gruffydd Jones,  Lawrence Zazzo,  Pamela Heuvelmans  ... 
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Leusink,  Christopher Robinson,  Timothy Brown,  Nicol Matt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holland Boys Choir,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Cambridge Bach Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 18.
    Brahms: Love Song Waltzes
    Label: Acanta/Pilz   Catalog: 233495 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Martin Galling,  Michael Leuschner
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    Bach: Orchestral Suites /  Rilling, Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 94605 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Carol Wincenc
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Bach: Mass In B Minor / Rilling, Crook, Lipovsek, Sonntag, Schmidt
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 11050 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Marjana Lipovsek,  Ulrike Sonntag,  Howard Crook,  Andreas Schmidt
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Great Christmas Classics
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1258 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Alessandro Scarlatti,  Heinrich Schütz,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Jennifer [Mezzo-Soprano Vocals] Lane,  Dave Price,  Gertraud Stocklassa,  Gunther Wilhelms  ... 
    Conductor:  Valentin Radu,  Günter Kehr,  Helmuth Rilling,  Ferdinand Grossmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Amadeus Ensemble
    CD: $17.99
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  • 22.
    Bach Edition Ipod Touch (32 Gb)
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98638 Release Date: 09/27/2011  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Thomas Quasthoff,  Arleen Augér,  Ingeborg Danz,  Christine Schäfer  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart
    DVD: $614.49
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  • 23.
    Bach: Complete Cantatas / Rilling, Stuttgart Bach Collegium
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98630 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 71
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Walter Heldwein,  Philippe Huttenlocher,  Aldo Baldin,  Arleen Augér  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Frankfurt Kantorei  ... 
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  • 24.
    Bach: Sacred Music - Helmuth Rilling
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4730 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Helmuth Rilling
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    DVD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    Bach: Matthaus Passion Bwv 244 / Rilling, Auger, Stuttgart Bach Collegium
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7839762 Release Date: 05/10/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ria Bollen,  Rosmarie Hoffmann,  Ann Murray,  Arleen Augér  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium Orchestra
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