Knickerbockers, a pair of braces, and corduroy jackets: the antiquated look of the Männerstimmen Basel choristers is in stark contrast to the youth of these lads and their fresh performances.
Aged between 18-32 years, they have impressed audiences and juries in their home country, Switzerland, as well as abroad with their musical performances. For example, they have won Gold medals at the World Choir Games, the Olympic games of choral singing, in Riga (Latvia 2014) and Cincinnati (Ohio 2012), and also the Grand Prix prizes at the Cornwall International Male Voices Festival (England 2015) and the Cracovia Cantans International Competition (Poland 2017). Moreover, the Männerstimmen Basel were recognized with the "Fleischmann International Trophy" (Ireland 2011) for the best interpretation of a contemporary piece.
This energetic choir combines passion and ease, both on and off stage. Having a laugh together is just as important as rehearsing and performing. Thanks to the sponsorship by a local brewery in their hometown Basel, the choristers' supply of amber nectar is ever flowing.
In concert, however, everyone is focused and attentive to the instructions of conductor Oliver Rudin and vice-conductor David Rossel. The choir performs a large repertoire of sacred and secular music from all epochs along with folk songs, and contemporary classical literature with ardour and style. The two conductors carefully select the pieces to satisfy the choir's high standards. Each year, the choir awards a commission to well-known contemporary composers (e.g. Rudolf Jaggi, Gion Antoni Derungs, Hans-Martin Linde, Javier Hagen). Ready for any challenge, the choir also revisits unknown and long forgotten music.
Oliver Rudin (*1981 in Basel, Switzerland) started his musical career at the age of four. He took violin and piano classes, and became a soloist at the Knabenkantorei Basel. At the age of 14, he began his studies as a young violinist at the Hochschule für Musik Basel. Afterwards, he studied choir conductorship and school music II. For his final paper, he produced the Tinguely Oper within the frame of “Les Muséiques”.
Oliver Rudin studied with Rudolf Barshai, Alexander van Wijnkoop, Jost Meier and Raphael Immoos, and also visited several summer master classes with Edith Kraft (The Juilliard School for Music, New York). In autumn 2007 he completed his post-graduate studies in culture management at the University Basel with a “Master of Advanced Studies”.
In 1997, he founded the band without instruments The Glue and has been active as a singer, songwriter and manager of the band ever since. Oliver Rudin now works as a music teacher at Gymnasium Kirschgarten Basel and as lecturer of music education at the teacher training college. He directs the “Gospelchor am Münster” as well as the vocal ensemble “Voices”. In 2008 he founded the “Männerstimmen Basel” with former members of the Knabenkantorei Basel and has been their musical director ever since. Furthermore, he is a member of the vocal ensemble of J.S.Bach-Stiftung St.Gallen under the direction of Rudolf Lutz.
As a singer with The Glue and as a choir director with the Männerstimmen Basel, concert trips have led him to South Africa, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Estonia, France, Spain, Ireland, USA, Canada and to Switzerland.
The musical career of David Rossel (born 1988) began at age 8 when he joined the Basle Boys’ Choir; under Beat Raaflaub he developped a broad interest in music and planning, receiving individual training. Besides the choir, he entered the stage of Theatre Basle in several opera productions as soloist („Macbeth“ and „The Magic Flute“, amongst others).
David studied Musicology and History at the University of Basle as well as Choral Conducting at Zug Music School; in addition, he enjoyed private conducting and composing lessons from Balz Trümpy, Ernst Pfiffner and Rudolf Jaggi. As a conductor, he took master classes with Brady Allred and Ben Parry; his composition studies were deepened in a summer school at Conservatoire russe de Paris.
For many years now, David has been directing choirs in the Basle area. He currently acts as a choirmaster of Cecilia Choir Aesch and vocal ensemble „Voices“ of Münchenstein Music School. In 2008 he co-founded the award-winning male choir „Männerstimmen Basel“ and is since its vice conductor. In 2012 he directed the Swiss premiere of Mendelssohn’s Humboldt Cantata for male choir and orchestra. In 2015 he was appointed musical director of Vocalino Wettingen.
As a composer, David has written works commissioned by various groups, such as Basle Boys’ Choir, baroque ensemble Voces Suaves, „syndicats“ choir and the Rudolf Steiner School Argovia. As an arranger, he arranged classical and pop songs for artists such as the „Basler Blechbläser“, „Six Chicks a cappella“ and several carnival performances. In 2012 he was commissioned by a cappella band The Glue to adapt a number of their songs for choral use; they were published along with a lead sheet collection and premiered at Theatre Basle.
By publishing two musicological editions and co-founding the Hans Huber Society, David illustrates his desire to promote the works of forgotten and, in particular, Swiss composers of the 20th and 21st century. Throughout his activities as a conductor, he is especially committed to the work of Werner Wehrli, Adolf Brunner and Gion Antoni Derungs.
David is also acting as a culture manager: In autumn 2010 he procduced the University of Basle’s 550-year jubilee concert. He further improved his culture management skills as a member of the European Festival of Youth Choirs committee and as manager of several Basle Boys’ Choir concert tours (France, Ukraine, Kosovo/Serbia, Canada). For „Männerstimmen Basel“ he organised the concert series „VOLKHORN“ and „pílagrímr“ which have been, or will be, released on CD. Furthermore he acted as manager of their concert tours to England and Faroe Islands/Iceland.