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Arnold Schoenberg Chor

Die Frauen des Arnold Schönberg Chors singen

The differentiation and plasticity with which Erwin Ortner's hand-picked ensemble of voices realises choral works from all epochs is unrivalled. The Arnold Schoenberg Choir, founded in 1972 and a regular guest at the Styriarte festival for decades, has won countless prizes - including the Grammy in 2002 for a St Matthew Passion under Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

About the choir

Arnold Schönberg Chor singt auf der Bühne in schwarz gekleidet



Founded in 1972 by artistic director Erwin Ortner, the Arnold Schoenberg Chor is one of Austria’s most multifaceted and sought-after vocal ensembles. Since 2006 the choir is the opera chorus in residence of Theater an der Wien. Their repertoire spans from the Renaissance and Baroque to the present with a focus on contemporary music.


The choir has a particular interest in a capella works; however, yet the great works for choir and orchestra are consistently represented on its concert programs.

Cornerstones of staged productions at Theater an der Wien include operas such as Schubert’s Fierrabras (director: Ruth Berghaus, musical direction: Claudio Abbado 1988, Wiener Festwochen), Janácek’s In einem Totenhaus (director: Patrice Chéreau, musical direction: Pierre Boulez, 2007, Wiener Festwochen), Handel’s Messiah (direction: Claus Guth, musical direction: Jean-Christophe Spinosi, 2009), and many other works. Of note is the International Opera Award-winning production of Britten’s Peter Grimes – director: Christof Loy, musical direction: Cornelius Meister. In 2017, the Arnold Schoenberg Chor was named opera chorus of the year at the International Opera Awards.

on stage

International touring invitations have taken the Arnold Schoenberg Chor to Asia and America, as well as across Europe and all throughout Austria, as a guest ensemble at festivals, among them Wiener Festwochen, Salzburg Festival, Wien Modern, Carinthischer Sommer, and Styriarte Graz.

Awards & Productions

Arnold Schoenberg Chor enjoyed a nearly 40-year-long collaboration with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Concentus Musicus Wien, which led to a 2002 Grammy Award for a recording of J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Further recordings with Harnoncourt include albums featuring the Cantatas of J.S. Bach, one of which was nominated for a Grammy in 2010, the oratorios of Handel and Haydn, sacred music by W.A. Mozart, productions such as Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, as well as Harnoncourt’s final CD production – Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, in 2016.

The choir has recently released a recording of Reger motets and sacred songs entitled Die Nacht ist kommen.

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