The chamber choir Carmina Mundi was founded in Aachen in 1983 by Harald Nickoll who remains its conductor to this day. Its approximately 40 highly motivated singers concentrate on a well-balanced sound in “just intonation”. This creates a sound spectrum rich in overtones resulting in a bright and radiant sound experience for the audience.

The choir’s repertoire includes both religious and secular choir music originating from a variety of countries, cultures and eras. The choir’s main focus is on a-cappella works, especially by contemporary composers.

In 2006 Carmina Mundi won first prize in the German federal contest held every four years. They were also awarded a special prize for an “outstanding performance of a German folk song” in the same contest.  In 1993, 2001 and 2005 they have won the regional qualifications to this competition in North Rhine-Westphalia. Moreover, they have won prizes in several international choir competitions including Spittal (Austria) 1999, and Lindenholzhausen (Germany) 1999.

On invitation by the then German Federal President Dr. Horst Köhler, Carmina Mundi sang in Den Haag for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on the occasion of Köhler’s state visit to The Netherlands. They also performed live on television during the ceremonial presentation of the prestigious German Environmental Award.

Concert tours and international choir festivals have taken the choir to Argentina, Albania, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Estonia, France, Sweden and The Netherlands.

Carmina Mundi has recorded a number of, internationally well-received CDs and made appearances on TV and radio.

In 2009 Carmina Mundi co-initiated the international choir festival “Chorbiennale” in Aachen which takes place every second year, and contributed to the opening concert on 5th June 2009. The choir helps to organize and execute the festival which brings well-respected international choirs to Aachen as well as regional ensembles.

Our sound philosophy

A cappella vocals (singing without instruments) have the advantage that you can turn your back on the intonation system of the so-called “well-tempered tuning” (whose name sounds more beautiful than it itself is) and turn to the “pure tuning”.

This allows singing in the natural sound, including the natural overtones.

This results in a different basic principle with regard to intonation. The possibility to intonate octaves or fifths absolutely “pure” opens up a wider sound spectrum. The different treatment of the whole step and semitone intervals, for example, also changes the gravitational force in the sound and reduces the risk of falling or rising. The differentiation of the interval sizes must also be taken into account beyond the semitone limit (in the microtonal range). While the intonation differences can account for one-fifth of a semitone in the thirds, the differences of the other intervals can only be perceived as nuance. A sound colour design based on the overtone system simplifies sound transport and improves the robustness. The overtone spectrum in the very high frequency ranges (where single tones can no longer be differentiated) contributes significantly to the luminosity and brilliance of the sound. The tuning of the vocal oscillation patterns of the individual voices ensures the sound density.

In this way of intonation, the tonal relationships and changes in harmony become clearer, the dissonances become more pronounced and the alternation of tension and relaxation is more intense.

Carmina Mundi is an ensemble dedicated to this natural phenomenon. A special vocal training aimed at this has gradually led to the current sound image. This listening-oriented choir singing enables the singers to have a more intensive communication experience within the sound.

I am happy to lead a choir that greatly shares this sound vision with me.

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