Award-winning jazz choir comes to Seoul

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Award-winning jazz choir comes to Seoul

“Jazz and choir ― can that work?”
That’s the question that inspired Bertrand Groeger to found the Jazzchor Freiburg in 1990. Back then, the German conductor played in a jazz band but had also sung in a choir for nine years, and wanted to merge the two.
During the last 15 years, Mr. Groeger, 42, who studied jazz in Hamburg after having majored in classical music in Freiburg, southwestern Germany, and Paris, has proved that it does work, particularly when singing with major stars like the British a cappella group Swingle Singers and the American vocalist Bobby McFerrin. The group has also worked with orchestras and toured around Europe and Asia.
At last, the Freiburg-based Jazzchor Freiburg, consisting of 28 singers including four musicians (playing recorder, piano, bass and drums) has come to Korea this week for the first time. Having already played Geoje and Jeonju, the choir moves on to Pocheon, Gyeonggi province (Pocheon Banweol Art Hall, today at 7:30 p.m.), Seoul (Seoul Arts Center, tomorrow at 8 p.m.) and Gunsan, North Jeolla province (Gunsan Citizens’ Hall on Monday at 8 p.m.).
Jazzchor selects songs regardless of the original genres, playing everything from classical to pop to standard jazz. Mr. Groeger gives the songs new life by arranging them for jazz.
They will sing 19 songs in the Seoul performance, varying from uptime swing to funky a cappella and African folk songs. Their repertoire includes the Beatles’ “If I Fell,” Duke Ellington’s “Ain’t but the One,” Nat King Cole’s “Straighten Up and Fly Right” and “Praeludium Nr. I,” which will be a hummed version of the music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach.
The Jazzchor Freiburg has won the top awards seven times at international choir competitions, including the Choir Olympics in Korea in 2002, and the International Choir Competition at Riva del Garda in Italy in 1997.
The concert will run for about two hours with an intermission.

by Park Sung-ha

Tickets for the Seoul performance are available at or They cost from 20,000 won ($19) to 70,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2068-8000.
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