The Anglistenchor was founded at the Department of English Language and Literature at Ruperto Carola University Heidelberg in 1990. Its repertoire draws from the rich variety of English choral music and comprises works from renaissance up to pieces by contemporary composers. The choir usually performs on several occasions each term, presenting a varied, demanding and rewarding programme of English, American and Irish music. It can be heard at various academic festivities, in particular by the English Department, of course. The choir currently consists of around 25 choristers from the Rhine-Neckar region, mostly, but not exclusively students.
Led by musical director Clayton Bowman, the choir evolved into a highly respected chamber choir from 2006 to 2015. In August 2010, the choir performed at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland, among others, on its first trip abroad. Other trips led it to Budapest and Strasbourg. Besides the regular term concerts which were reviewed enthusiastically the choir joined in the festivities for the 625th anniversary of Heidelberg University and for three years opened the "International Festival Silent Movies and Live Music" at the dai Heidelberg, each time with a piece specifically composed for these events by our former accompanist Jan Wilke and our director Clayton Bowman. Highly acclaimed performances include Händel's "Messiah" along with the Karlsruher Barockorchester in December 2015 and our first scenic performance of an opera with Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" in February 2012. Irish composer Kian Geiselbrechtinger created a new prologue (the score for the original prologue is missing) which was premiered by us. Another impressive performance was the production "Choir and Brass" with pieces by Hindemith, Rutter, Holst and Copland.
The Anglistenchor was awarded the "Ehrenpreis der Gesellschaft der Freunde der Universität Heidelberg" in 2012. The prize money enabled us to record our first CD which is available at our concerts as well as at the Unishop (Studentenkarzer near Uniplatz). Since January 2016, Jan Wilke is musical director of the Anglistenchor.
Jan Wilke studied school music and musical theory at the Mannheim Conservatory as well as church music and choir conducting at the academy of church music Heidelberg and passed with distinction in choir conducting and organ playing. Besides his studies he conducted several church choirs and Gesangsvereine as well as the Altrip chamber choir and acted as an assistant to Wolfgang Seeliger for the Konzertchor Darmstadt. From 2013 to 2014 he did a master in choral conducting with Simon Halsey at the University of Birmingham which he also concluded with distinction. He was an active participant in master classes with Simon Carrington, Daniel Reuss, Morten-Schuldt Jensen as well as the international master class of the Rundfunkchor Berlin with Simon Halsey and Grete Pedersen. Jan Wilke is also musical director of the Friedrich-Spee-Chor Trier, an oratory choir rich in tradition, with which he develops both the repertoire of choral symphonies and demanding a cappella programmes. He is also an active composer, mostly of choral pieces, and has received several prizes at national and international composition contests, among them the first prize at the "Gebt uns Noten!" competition of the Deutsche Chorverband and the "Knapp Award for Choral Excellence" of the "Meistersingers" Choir in California. His pieces have been performed in Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Armenia, Portugal, Austria and the United States. Some of his pieces have been published by Helbling-Verlag.