The world premiere of Penderecki’s “St Luke Passion” in the Münster Cathedral in 1966 set the pattern for the young student Rolf Beck. After witnessing this impressive and epochal performance, the aspiring lawyer decided to follow his passion for classical music and start his conducting studies in Helmuth Rilling’s conducting class after successfully completing his law degree. In 1972 Rolf Beck founded the vocal ensemble Marburg, which in just a short time turned into one of Germany’s leading ensembles, claiming several national and international prizes under his direction. By founding the Bamberg Symphony Chorus, he called yet another choral ensemble into being which would be internationally recognized under his direction.
In his function as the general administrator of the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival [SHMF] he laid the foundation in 2002 for the “Choir Academy of the SHMF” following Leonard Bernstein’s tradition of the orchestra academy. From this time forth, the musical training and development of young singers has been the main focus of Rolf Beck’s artistic activities. For twelve successful seasons he has determined the path of the “Choir Academy of the SHMF” as its artistic director and attracted a considerable amount of young talent from around the world to Schleswig-Holstein. As the “Festival Choir Lübeck” the ensemble toured the most notable music centers in Germany and abroad.
With the beginning of the 2013/14 season, Rolf Beck further developed his idea of training and developing young singers by founding an independently operated choir academy under a new name. By doing this, he was able to expand his successful training and education of young singers from across the world while building and strengthening international awareness and worldwide acclaim of the Choir Academy.
In addition to his internationally recognized work with the International Choir Academy Lübeck, Rolf Beck appears regularly as a guest conductor abroad. Some of the concert highlights from this past year include conducting concerts in Guiyang, China, as well as a performance of Händel’s “Alexander’s Feast” as a staged opera production with the Orfeo Ensemble in Budapest. Always on the lookout for new paths for his Choir Academy, Rolf Beck also founded the academy “Canto em Trancoso” in cooperation with the Mozarteum Brasilieiro in 2015, which has since then been taking place every summer with great success. Beck was on tour in China once again in 2016 with the International Choir Academy Lübeck, where he and his ensemble performed Tan Dun’s “Water Passion” and the “St John Passion” by Johann Sebastian Bach.
A CD production of the current concert program with works by Schumann, Brahms, Heuberger, and Dvořák completes the large number of recordings by Rolf Beck. Some of these include recordings of Händel’s “Judas Maccabeus” [released by harmonia mundi], Händel’s “Alexander’s Feast”, Rossini’s “Petite Messe solennelle”, Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio”, as well as Orff’s “Carmina Burana”, which was released by SONY.