Symphony Concert N° 6

Philippe Herreweghe Conductor
Dorothee Mields Soprano
Sophie Harmsen Alto
Alex Potter Tenor
Reinoud Van Mechelen Bass
Krešimir Stražanac Bass
Collegium Vocale Gent

Johann Sebastian Bach

  • Missa in B minor, BWV 232

»Composer to His Majesty’s Capelle«

In 1818, the Swiss music publisher Hans Georg Nägeli already regarded the Mass in B minor as the »greatest musical masterpiece of all time«. It was composed in 1748, when Bach was putting the finishing touches to his life’s work, more concerned with his musical legacy than any specific performances. At the heart of the piece is a Catholic Missa brevis consist­ing of Kyrie and Gloria, which the cantor of Leipzig’s St. Thomas church had sent to Dres­den 15 years earlier in order to receive the honorary title of »court composer« with the Kapelle – today’s Staatskapelle. With the addi­tion of the Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, the short mass became a trailblazing vocal cycle.

Das Konzert wird mitgeschnitten und am 13.02. ab 20.05 Uhr bei MDR Klassik sowie MDR Kultur gesendet.

Philippe Herreweghe

Philippe Herreweghe was born in Ghent and studied at both the university and music conservatory there. During this period he started conducting and founded Collegium Vocale Gent in 1970.
Philippe Herreweghe’s energetic, authentic and rhetorical approach to baroque music was soon drawing praise. In 1977 he founded the ensemble La Chapelle Royale in Paris, with whom he performed music of the French Golden Age. He founded several ensembles with whom he made historically appropriate and well-thought-out interpretations of repertoire stretching from the Renaissance to contemporary music. They include the Ensemble Vocal Européen, specialised in Renaissance polyphony, and the Orchestre des Champs Élysées, founded in 1991 with the aim of playing pre-Romantic and Romantic repertoire on original instruments.Last season Philippe Herreweghe, together with soloists Magdalena Kožená and Andrew Staples, presented Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde in historic timbres.
Highlights of the 2023/24 season include guest appearances with the Munich Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin as well as the Philharmonia Orchestra London. Together with the Collegium Vocale Gent and the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, he will tour Europe with the Requiem by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In addition, Herreweghe will present Bach’s Mass in B minor at Europe’s leading Festivals

and will conduct St Matthew Passion in Katowice, Hamburg and Munich among others.
In September 2021, Philippe Herreweghe will return to the Musikfest Bremen with concerts together with Orchestre des Champs-Élysées and Collegium Vocale Gent. Having already made his Musikfest debut in 1996 with the choir and orchestra of the Collegium Vocale Gent, he will be honoured in 2021 with the Musikfest Award Bremen for his outstanding artistic work. In addition, Herreweghe was awarded the "Ultima" cultural prize for general cultural merit by the Flemish government in the same year.
Philippe Herreweghe has received numerous awards for his consistent artistic imagination and commitment. In 1990 the European music press named him “Musical Personality of the Year”. Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent were appointed “Cultural Ambassadors of Flanders” in 1993. A year later he was awarded the Belgian order of Officier des Arts et Lettres, and in 1997 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Leuven. In 2003 he received the French title Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. In 2010 the city of Leipzig awarded him its Bach-Medaille for his great service as a performer of Bach. In 2017 Philippe Herreweghe received an honorary doctorate at Ghent University.

Dorothee Mields

Dorothee Mields is one of the leading interpreters of 17th- and 18thcentury music and is admired for her unique timbre and moving interpretations.

Dorothee Mields is a welcome guest at international festivals, including the Bachfest Leipzig, Suntory Music Foundation Summer Festival in Japan, Boston Early Music Festival, Flanders Festival, Wiener Festwochen, the Handel Festival in Halle, Musikfestspiele Potsdam, Styriarte Graz, Niedersächsische Musiktage, Musikfest Bremen, Mainzer Musiksommer, Heinrich-Schütz-Musikfest, Thüringer Bachwochen and Mosel Musikfestival. She is a devoted chamber musician.

Important projects are »Duft und Wahnsinn« with Hille Perl and Lee Santana, »Birds« and »Inspired by Song« with Stefan Temmingh and Boccherini »Stabat mater« with the Salagon Quartett. Further recital and chamber music partners are Hamburger Ratsmusik, Lee Santana, the Sirius Viols, Harmonie Universelle and Lucius Rühl.

In 2020 she will work with the G.A.P. Ensemble for the first time, performing vocal music by J. S. Bach and D. Shostakovich. A steadily growing discography with several award-winning recordings documents her artistic achievements.

»Inspired by Song« and »Birds« with Stefan Temmingh, »Händel« with Hille Perl, Monteverdi »La dolce vita« with the Lautten Compagney Berlin and Wolfgang Katschner, Bach »Kantaten für Solo-Sopran« with L’Orfeo Barockorchester and Michi Gaigg and Boccherini »Stabat mater« with the Salagon Quartett have been especially well received. Her most recent recording »War & Peace« was awarded with the Opus Klassik 2019. On this album, Dorothee Mields and the Lautten Compagney Berlin explore the connection between songs from the Thirty Years’ War and works by Hanns Eisler and Friedrich Hollaender.

Sophie Harmsen

Sophie Harmsen travelled extensively at an early age, her parents being German diplomats, and continues this in her professional career as an internationally successful and acclaimed mezzosoprano.

Concerts and Opera productions have enabled her to experience some of the worlds most beautiful concert halls and opera houses as the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Teatro Real in Madrid, Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, Wigmore Hall in London, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Wien, Philharmonie de Paris, Shanghai Grand Theatre and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.
Sophie is frequently and recurringly invited to perform with symphony orchestras such as the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, SWR Symphonieorchester, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (Constantinos Carydis), Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (Daniel Harding), Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (Andreas Spering), Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest (Jos van Veldhoven), Orchestre National de Paris (Vaclav Luks), musicAeterna (Teodor Currentzis), Konzerthausorchester Berlin (Iván Fischer), Düsseldorfer Symphoniker (Ádám Fischer), NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester (Thomas Hengelbrock) and the Freiburger Barockorchester (Jeremie Rhorer).

After her beginnings at Cape Town Opera with roles including Hermia (Britten »A Midsummer Night’s Dream«), Graf Orlowsky (Strauss »Die Fledermaus«), Mercedes (Bizet »Carmen«) and Cherubino (Mozart »Le nozze di Figaro«) she expanded her repertoire performing Annio (Mozart »La Clemenza di Tito«) at the Teatro Real Madrid, Dorabella (Mozart »Cosi fan tutte«) at the Opéra de Dijon and the Opéra de

Luxembourg, Stephano (»Romeo et Juliette«) at the Tiroler Landestheater in Innsbruck, Argene (Myslivecek »L’Olimpiade«) at the opera houses Prague, Caen and Theater an der Wien to now singing repertoire by Richard Strauss (Der Komponist »Ariadne auf Naxos«).

Sophie is a frequent performer at international festivals. The Salzburger Festspiele, Mozartwoche Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival, Rheingau Musikfestival, International Händelfestspiele Göttingen and Halle and the Bachfest Leipzig, amongst many others.

In the past years Sophie has continually extended her repertoire. After numerous concerts, solo recitals and CD recordings with some of the the most celebrated baroque ensembles she is glad to now feel equally at home in the more romantic repertoire. Concerts and CD recordings with Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder (Kent Nagano), Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde as well as the »Rückert Lieder« (Markus Stenz), Dvorak’s Requiem (Philippe Herreweghe), Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (Frieder Bernius, René Jacobs) and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (Teodor Currentzis, Pablo Heras-Casado) are now equally represented in her calendar. Many of her CD recordings have received awards, for example Bruckner’s Missa Solemnis with the RIAS Kammerchor (Diapason d’Or) and the complete recording of J.S. Bach’s Luther Kantaten with Christoph Spering (Echo 2017).

Sophie Harmsen studied at the University of Cape Town and with Prof. Dr. Edith Wiens and now lives in Berlin with her family.

Alex Potter

Alex Potter is a sought-after interpreter of seventeenth and eighteenth-century music. He has performed with conductors including Philippe Herreweghe, Thomas Hengelbrock, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Jordi Savall, Jos van Veldhoven, and Peter Neumann. Alongside numerous performances of works by Bach, Handel and other established composers, he takes particular interest in seeking out and singing lesser known repertoire in concerts and recordings under his own direction.

After beginning his musical career as a chorister at Southwark Cathedral, Alex Potter was a Choral Scholar and read Music at New College, Oxford. He then went on to pursue further study in singing and baroque performance practice at the Schola Cantorum in Basel with Gerd Türk, taking additional classes with Evelyn


Recent performances of note include Bach’s B-Minor Mass with the Concertgebouw Orchestra/Philippe Herreweghe, Handel’s Israel in Egypt in the Konzerthaus in Vienna with Concerto Copenhagen/Lars Ulrik Mortensen, and a concert of works by Bach and Telemann with Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen at the Wigmore Hall in London.

Alex Potter has a large discography with a number of different ensembles. His  CD Fede e Amor with Viennese Baroque Music for alto voice and obbligato trombones was released in 2014 on the Ramée label. A new CD featuring solo-cantatas by Telemann appeared 2018 on the CPO label.

He lives in the Lüneburger Heath region of Germany with his wife and two daughters.

Reinoud Van Mechelen

Reinoud Van Mechelen completed his vocal studies at the Conservatoire Royal in Brussels in 2012 in the class of Dina Grossberger. In 2017 he was awarded the prestigious Caecilia Prize as Young Musician of the Year by the Association of Belgian Music Press.

Already in 2007 Reinoud Van Mechelen attracted attention at the European Baroque Academy in Ambronay (France) under the direction of Hervé Niquet. In 2011 he was a member of the »Jardin des Voix« of William Christie and Paul Agnew and subsequently became a regular soloist of Les Arts florissants. Guest appearances with this ensemble have taken him to the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, the Edinburgh Festival, the Château de Versailles, the Bolchoï Theatre in Moscow, the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican Centre in London, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Philharmonie and Opéra Comique in Paris and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, among others.

In 2014 Reinoud Van Mechelen sang the role of the Evangelist in J. S. Bach's »St. John Passion« with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic for the first time in his career. A role which he will sing again with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, among others. However, recent years have been marked by his performances of Rameau's title role in »Dardanus« (Opéra national de Bordeaux) and »Zoroastre« (on tour to the Festival de Montpellier et Radio-France, the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, the Festival de Beaune, the Théâtre Royal in Versailles and the Theater an der Wien), both productions under the baton of Raphaël Pichon. In 2016/17 he made his debut at Zurich Opera House as Jason in Charpentier's »Médée« under the baton of William Christie. In addition to numerous other engagements, he has expanded his repertoire with new roles in concert version: Belmonte (»The Abduction from the Seraglio«) with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and Gérald (»Lakmé«) with the Munich Radio Orchestra.

In addition to numerous performances with his own ensemble, a nocte temporis, his last two seasons have been highlighted by the anniversary production for the 30th anniversary of the Concert Spirituel (»L'Opéra des Opéras«, recorded and published by Alpha Classics) and two international concert tours with Les Arts florissants. He also played the title role in Rameau's »Pygmalion« at the Dijon Opera and made his debuts at the Théâtre royal de la Monnaie (Tamino in »The Magic Flute«) and at the Staatsoper Berlin (Hippolyte in »Hippolyte et Aricie« conducted by Sir Simon Rattle).

His 2019/20 season promises to be very busy with his role debut as Nadir in »Les Pêcheurs de perles« at the Toulon Opera, Purcell's »King Arthur« at the Staatsoper Berlin, Rameau's »Pygmalion« at the Grand Théâtre in Luxembourg, »L'incoronazione di Poppea« at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and the two St. John Passions, St. Matthew Passion with Collegium Vocale Gent.

Reinoud Van Mechelen has already participated in numerous recordings. His first solo album entitled »Erbame Dich« (Arias by J. S. Bach) was released by Alpha Classics in 2016 and received unanimous praise from the press, including a »Choc« from the monthly magazine Classica and one of 10 Caecilia awards for the best recordings of 2016. In the meantime, three more albums with a nocte temporis have been released by Alpha Classics.

Krešimir Stražanac

Bass baritone Krešimir Stražanac was born in Croatia in 1983.

He studied with Prof. Dunja Vejzović and Prof. Cornelis Witthoefft at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart and privately with Prof. Jane Thorner Mengedoht and Hanns-Friedrich Kunz. After his studies he became a permanent ensemble member of the Zurich Opera House where he performed as Baron Tusenbach (»Three Sisters«), Ping (»Turandot«), Harlequin (»Ariadne auf Naxos«) and Don Fernando (»Fidelio«) under the direction of Nello Santi, Peter Schneider, Franz Welser-Möst, Bernard Haitink, Placido Domingo and many other conductors.

In the season 2015/2016 he made his debuts with the Bavarian Radio and Concerto Köln, the Collegium 1704 and the WDR Symphony Orchestra.

In the 2016/2017 season he made his debut with the Collegium Vocale Gent / Orchestre du Champs-Elysées conducted by Philippe Herreweghe, the Symphony Orchestra of the Hessian Radio, the Barocchists and Radiotelevisione with Diego Fasolis, the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne with conductor Francois-Xavier Roth, the Royal Flemish Orkest with Philippe Herreweghe, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and with the Munich Radio Orchestra.

In 2017 he made his debut at the Bavarian State Opera in the new production of Giordano's »Andrea Chénier« with the role of Pietro Fléville, which he will also sing in the 2018/2019 season at the Bavarian State Opera. In the 2017/2018 season he will make his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam under the baton of Philippe Herreweghe, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo Filharmoniske Orkester under Herbert Blomstedt, and the Gewandhausorchester under Gotthold. In September 2018 he made his debut as Baron Tusenbach (»Tri Sestri«) at the Frankfurt Opera, as well as debuts in the 2018/2019 season as Frank (»Die Fledermaus«) and Kreon (»Oedipus


Further debuts this season included debuts with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Halle, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart State Orchestra, Gächinger Kantorei and Akademie für alte Musik Berlin.

In the coming season he will perform at the Salzburg Festival, the Vienna Musikverein, the London Barbican Center, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Auditorio Nacional de Música Madrid, the Leipzig Gewandhaus as well as many other concert halls. He will make further debuts with Contentus Musicus Vienna (conductor Stefan Gottfried), the MDR Symphony Orchestra (conductor Risto Joost), and the European Union Youth Orchestra (conductor Manfred Honeck).

Krešimir Stražanac particularly enjoys devoting himself to the art song repertoire. He has sung numerous recitals at the Bayreuth Stadthalle, the Grand Théâtre de Dijon, the Zagreb HGZ and Vatroslav Lisinski Hall, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra in Ljubljana, the Zurich Toni-Areal, the Klagenfurt Concert Hall, Périgueux (France), Stuttgart (Wilhelma Theater and Hospitalhof-Sääle), the Casino Venice and several times in Japan.

On CD/DVD he can be heard in the Decca production of Bizet's »Carmen« as Morales, the BBC Opus Arte production of Beethoven's »Fidelio« as Don Fernando and the Quattro Live production of Wagner's »Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg« as Konrad Nachtigall as well as the CD recording of Bach's St. John Passion with the Bayerischer Rundfunk/Concerto Köln under the direction of Peter Dijkstra.

He is the winner of the international Cantilena Competition in Bayreuth, the international La Voce Competition of the Bavarian Radio as well as the 1st International Hugo Wolf Competition in Hugo Wolf's birthplace.

Collegium Vocale Gent

Collegium Vocale Gent was founded in 1970 on Philippe Herreweghe’s initiative by a group of friends studying at the University of Ghent. They were one of the first ensembles to use new ideas about baroque performance practice in vocal music. Their authentic, text-oriented and rhetorical approach gave the ensemble the transparent sound with which it would acquire world fame and perform at the major concert venues and music festivals of Europe, the United States, Russia, South America, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. Since 2017 the ensemble runs its own summer festival Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi in Tuscany, Italy.

In recent years, Collegium Vocale Gent has grown organically into an extremely flexible ensemble whose wide repertoire encompasses a range of different stylistic periods. Its greatest strength is its ability to assemble the ideal performing forces for any project. Music from the Renaissance, for example, is performed by a small group soloists. German Baroque music, particularly Johann Sebastian Bach’s vocal works, has been a speciality of the group and is still the jewel in its crown. Today Collegium Vocale Gent performs this music with a small ensemble in which the singers take both the chorus and solo parts. Collegium Vocale Gent is also specializing in the Romantic, modern and contemporary oratorio repertoires, performed with the symphonic choir up to 80 singers.

Besides using its own baroque orchestra, Collegium Vocale Gent works with several historically informed instrumental ensembles to perform these projects, including the Orchestre des Champs Elysées, Freiburger Barockorchester and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. It also works with prominent symphony orchestras such as deFilharmonie (Royal Flemish Philharmonic), the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The ensemble has worked with Ivor Bolton, Marcus Creed, Reinbert de Leeuw, Iván Fischer, René Jacobs, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kaspars Putnins, Jos van Immerseel, Paul Van Nevel, James Wood and many others leading conductors.