ARS CHORALIS COELN
Ensemble for Medieval Music
photo © Wolfgang Burat
Ars Choralis Coeln is a renowned women's schola based in the German city of Cologne whose "unmistakable trademark is its balanced tonal color combined with individually timbred voices -- a vocal union of intonation and sensitive musicality, united in the aspiration for authentic musical expression." Its objective is to prepare and firmly establish Gregorian chant in continuous work with women singers. Music from medieval women's monasteries plays a central role, - particularly the music of the Rhineland abbess Hildegard von Bingen, the music of the Beguines handed down in numerous manuscripts and the Devotia Moderna. A special focus of the ensemble's work consists of doing research into the medieval repertoire of the manuscripts located in Cologne itself and making it accessible for practical use. Its aspiration doesn't exclude the inclusion of contemporary elements and musical experiments.
Maria Jonas • voice and director | Stefanie Brijoux, Sylvia Dörnemann, Uta Kirsten, Pamela Petsch, Cora Schmeiser, Amanda Simmons • voice | Susanne Ansorg • fiddles and bells | Lucia Mense • recorders and traverso | Uta Kirsten • harp | Pamela Petsch • percussion | Amanda Simmons • harp and bells
"Angel or she-devil, virtue or sin, heretic or saint - with an astonishing and convincing casualness the women of Ars Choralis Coeln switch between different medieval roles and garments to perform music that cuts deep and brings the past to life. Maria Jonas, leader of the ensemble, is an unparralled character and a bubbling source of permanent ideas. If she hadn't been there, one needed to invent her right away. Her projects play an important role in the realm of early music. Her Frauenschola provides us with a valuable and instructive inside view of the music of the Middle Ages, in particular of the role that women played in those days. The programs focus on women with titles that refer to what they personified or embodied in medieval times. Visions emerge of nuns and saints, of enraptured and angelic human figures. But apostates, persecuted, unsung heroines of faith also introduce themselves through words and music. Together with a range of instrumentalists playing bells, dulcimer, harp, fiddle and flute the singers represent the music of the Middle Age in a remarkable delicate style using an unique accoustic palette. Maria Jonas and the women of the Schola put their hearts and minds into the efforts to prove the importance and quality of the music from the past. Without them the medieval music scene would definitely be a lot poorer." Christina Hartmann
This women's vocal ensemble, including members from various countries, gave its debut concert in 2004 in Cologne, Germany in the Romanische Nacht. Ever since, Ars Choralis Coeln has established a reputation both nationally and internationally within the medieval music concert scene. The many concerts within Germany and abroad, as well as many CD productions, attest to the ensemble's success.
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