Germany is dense with high-quality local chamber choirs, but the Kammerchor Stuttgart or Stuttgart Chamber Choir is of a specific kind: it reflects the artistic vision of a single individual, conductor Frieder Bernius, who founded the group when he was a student and has continued to lead it. Moreover, the choir is specifically identified with the historical-performance movement and for much of its career has cultivated repertory from the Baroque era.
Born in 1947, Bernius studied at the University of Tübingen and the Musikhochschule Stuttgart. While enrolled at the latter institution in 1968, Bernius founded the Kammerchor, whose activities have expanded ever since. The choir is considered one of the leading ensembles of its kind in Germany, and it was honored with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1993.
The Kammerchor Stuttgart has performed widely at European festivals, and in 1987 Bernius founded his own Internationale Festtage Alter Musik or International Festival Days of Early Music, now known as Stuttgart Barock. It was at about this time that the ensemble began to devote itself predominantly to early music (the group has also always included premieres of new compositions in its programming).
The Kammerchor Stuttgart has a core of 16 professional singers, but has expanded to groups as large as 80 for oratorio performances. The choir has made several tours each of Asia, North America, and South America, and has also toured Israel biannually, appearing there in 2015 in observance of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany.
The choir's catalog of recordings is unusually large, comprising some 70 CDs, often in association with the Klassische Philharmonie Stuttgart and/or other groups created by Bernius. These recordings have won the German Record Critics' Prize, the Edison Award (Netherlands, 1990), and the Diapason d'Or (France).