The Diplomatic Choir of Berlin is a musical group of people, either diplomats, from the foreign offices, or non-diplomat singers, coming from all over the world to perform concerts. We rehearse once a week at the German Foreign Office and sing mainly classical choral repertoire with an emphasis on world music depending on focus of the next concert. There are over 15 different nationalities in our choir and not one common language. We generally make it through with German and English, but sometimes some Russian, Japanese, Estonian, or a few other translations are required. Although some of the countries have great political tension between them, the problems in our choir disappear with our music making.
The Diplomatic Choir of Berlin began on November 5th, 2013 at the Philippine Embassy. On November 8th, Typhoon Hayun hit the Philippines. Three weeks later, on November 27th we sang our first concert, a Benefit for the Philippine Typhoon Victims at the Rotes Rathaus. That was the beginning of many more concerts. We have performed many times at the German Federal Foreign Offices, in many different events, including for Minister Steinmeier at his yearly holiday celebration.
In 2015 we gave benefit concert for Ebola help at Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche. We had the fortune of having members from the Rundfunk orchestra join us, and also two percussionists from Ghana for a program including classical, romantic, and African repertoire. We made our first CD, DVD, Blu-ray of that concert! From that concert we were invited to participate in the Young Euro Classic festival – one of the world’s most important international music festivals for young orchestra musicians, at Berlin’s Konzerthaus. There our repertoire was Arvo Pärt and Giya Kancelli, along with 120 piece orchestra.
The 2016 spring season began with our second annual concert at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche in a ‘Konzert ohne Grenzen’ with The Chamber Ensemble of the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra (SEPO). On August 27th, we were featured in the Auswärtiges Amt’s, ‘Tag des Offener Tür’. Following this, on September 20th, we sang for The Wilkommen in Berlin organization in the Europa Saal on their opening event of the year. On November 8th we had the wonderful opportunity to join with the Staatsoper Kinderchor in a joint concert helping them to raise funds for a United States Tour meeting the best American youth choirs. The choir especially enjoyed the greatness of this young choir and to sing together with them was a thrilling moment! After this concert, on November 26th, we sang at the inaugural lighting of Berlin’s largest Star at the Marienkirche on Alexanderplatz. This was shortly followed on November 30th by Minister Steinmeier’s Advent’s celebration in the Lichthof of the Auswärtiges Amt.
The choir was founded within the Diplomatic Corp in Berlin by Barbara Leifer, a professional musician, opera singer, conductor, and Master’s Graduate from the Juilliard School in New York City.