During a journey Mozart made from Vienna to Berlin in 1789, he visited Leipzig and attended a rehearsal of Bach’s motet Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (BWV 225), sung by the Thomanenchor under the direction of Cantor Johann Friedrich Doles. One of the boys in the choir at the time, Friedrich Rochlitz, would some years later become a musicologist, and he bears witness, in the Allgemein Musikalischen Zeitung in 1798, to the artistic revelation that struck Mozart: “The choir had sung but a few bars, when Mozart interrupted us, crying “What is this piece?”, and it seemed that his entire soul was then to be found in his ears. When we had completed the motet, he called out, filled with joy, “Now that is indeed quite something! There is much to be learned here … bring it to me!” But we had no score, so we gave him the part-copies, and then it was for us a great joy to see with what enthusiasm Mozart arranged the parts – his hands full, paper spread on his knees, and on the surrounding chairs – and forgot all else until he had absorbed all that Bach had set down.”
The Ensemble SETTE VOCI, founded in 2001, consists of singers from various European countries – The Netherlands, England, Switzerland, Germany, The Czech Republic and Latvia. All the members, amongst whom the winners of the 13th and 14th Leipzig International Johann Sebastian Bach competition in 2002 and 2004, appear regularly as soloists within and beyond Europe's borders and have also wide choral experience. Under the direction of renowned Dutch baritone Peter Kooij they present the seldom-heard repertoire of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. The ensemble has already been invited to appear at several important national and international festivals, such as Resonanzen in Vienna, the Holland Early Music Festival in Utrecht, the International Organ Festival in Haarlem, the Brixner Initiative Musik und Kirche, the Karlsruhe Organ Days and the Kirchheimer Konzertwinter.
Peter Kooij, direction
Hana Blažíková, Zsuzsi Tóth, sopranos
Damien Guillon, Robin Blaze, altos
Satoshi Misukoshi, Chris Watson, tenors
Dominik Wörner, Jelle Draijer, basses
Jan Jansen, Masato Suzuki, organ
Armin Bereuter, violone
PETER KOOIJ began his musical career at the age of six as a chorister in his father's choir. He contributed to numerous recordings as a boy soprano, including for radio and television. After his studies in both violin and singing at the Utrecht conservatorium, he studied with Max van Egmond, and was awarded the soloists' diploma from the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. He has appeared in the world's most prestigious concert halls, and has worked with conductors of great repute, including Philippe Herreweghe, Ton Koopman, Frans Brüggen, Gustav Leonhardt, René Jacobs, Sigiswald Kuijken, Roger Norrington and Ivan Fischer. Besides the complete vocal oeuvre of Johann Sebastian Bach, his repertoire includes works from Heinrich Schütz to Anton Webern, and he has made over 150 recordings. For the BIS label, he was invited to record all the Bach cantatas with the Bach Collegium Japan, under the direction of Masaaki Suzuki. In 1999 he founded the chamber orchestra De Profundis, with the goal of accompanying singers in an historically informed style. In 2001 he created the ensemble Sette Voci, which he conducts and for which he assembles passion-filled programmes encompassing Renaissance and Baroque music. Since 2002 he has been the bass of the soloist quartet Tanto Canto with Monika Frimmer, Christa Bonhoff and Dantes Diwiak, in which he develops chiefly Baroque and romantic repertoire. From 1991 to 2000, Peter Kooij taught singing at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam, and from 1995 to 1998 at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover. He has been visiting professor at the University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo since 2000, and singing teacher at the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague since 2005. Besides this, he is regularly invited to give master classes in England, France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Finland and Japan.