The Anglistenchor Heidelberg 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 mostly English, American and Irish music. It can also be heard at various academic festivities, in particular those hosted by the English Department, of course. The choir sees itself as an ambitious chamber choir and currently consists of around 30 choristers from the Rhine-Neckar region. Jan Wilke has been the musical director of the Anglistenchor since January 2016. One of the hallmarks of the choir is their courage in programming rarely performed works and undertaking projects outside of the standard repertoire. At the state choir competition of Baden-Württemberg 2017 the choir received 3rd prize with the rating “participation with very good success”.
Highly acclaimed performances include Händel's "Messiah" along with the Karlsruher Barockorchester, a scenic performance of Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" with a newly composed prologue by Irish composer Kian Geiselbrechtinger, a scenic performance of fables by Hans Christian Andersen with works by David Lang (the little match girl passion) und Uģis Prauliņš (The Nightingale), a performance of the oratorio “Annelies” by James Whitbourn on texts by Anne Frank, Carl Rütti’s “Lieder der Liebe” for 12-part choir and solo cello as well as exciting a cappella concerts including several premiere performances.
The choir has appeared five times at the international festival “Silent film and live music” at the “dai Heidelberg”, accompanying silent movies with new scores specially composed by Jan Wilke.
Concert tours have led the choir to Ireland (St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College Chapel), France and Hungary - and this year, to London!
Jan Wilke studied school music and music theory at the Mannheim Conservatory as well as church music and choral conducting at the Academy of Church Music Heidelberg, passing with distinction in choir conducting and organ playing. Besides his studies he has 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 undertook a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting with CBE Simon Halsey at the University of Birmingham, also graduating with distinction. He was an active participant in master classes with Simon Carrington, Daniel Reuss, Morten Schuldt-Jensen and Peter Hanke 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 performs both the choral symphonic repertoire as well as demanding a cappella programmes.
Since 2017 Jan has been teaching as a lecturer at the Academy of Church Music in Heidelberg, instructing bachelor and master students in the art of choral conducting.
Besides conducing, Jan pursues a successful career as a composer, mostly of choral music, 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 music has been performed in many European countries and in the USA and has been recorded professionally. Some of his pieces have been published by Helbling-Verlag.
Jan is also an avid organist and pianist, performing in concerts regularly both as an accompanist and solo.