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OnClassical featured Artists: Don Kosaken Chor Wanja Hlibka

The Don Kosaken Chor comes with a broad spectrum of timbres, from the playfully instrumental sounding background of a solo part to the vocal authority of an operatic choir. The choir was founded in 1991 by Wanja Hlibka and George Tymczenko: both were soloists under Serge Jaroff in the world famous Don Kosaken Chor until its disbandment in 1979. The repertoire is the same as the former original choir's, with all scores being transcripts from Serge Jaroff's private music library, presently in the care of his son, Alexeij, in America. In the meantime the Don Kosaken Chor Wanja Hlibka has become a top "A Cappella" choir.

Thanks to Hlibka's continuous activity and his absolute dedication to maximum performance, the choir continues to elate the public in spite of thousands of kilometres and hundreds of concerts a year. He is the guarantor of the high artistic level of the choir, whom he conducts, directs and dominates with nearly imperceptible movements.

Don Kosaken Chor

The choir performs live and without the aid of amplification even in such large venues as the Musikhalle in Hamburg, the Messehalle in Frankfurt or the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. For more than 10 years now the choir, under the conduction of Wanja Hlibka, has been touring and is giving concerts every year in about 250 cathedrals and concert halls. Television appearances on ZDF, SAT1, WDR1, ORF, MDR, ORB and RTL contributed to quickly growing popularity.

Wanja Hlibka was born into a Russian-German family in 1948 in Petershausen, near Munich. He had his first private singing lesson at the age of 17 and was engaged only two years later by Serge Jaroff. After his first tour in 1967 he began to study music at the Hamburg Conservatory during breaks from touring (with a special permission), and later singing with Professor Josef Metternich in Starnberg which proved to be decisive for his voice.

Don Kosaken Chor logo

Mr. Hlibka remained loyal to Serge Jaroff until the disbandment of the choir. Apart from his preference for German folksongs and opera exerpts from German and Italian composers, his activity in the Don Kosaken Chor has made Russian-orthodox sacral hymns and folk music songs particularly important to him.

As the youngest soloist of the original Don Kosaken Chor, Wanja Hlibka sees his most important task as conductor of the new formation, to be the furtherance of Serge Jaroff's art and to maintain his level of form and quality.

 

It's the 3rd time that the soloists performed in Cologne Philharmonie and sang melancholy songs of their native country. More than 1900 people listened to the Russian traditional songs ("Kalinka", "Evening Bells", "On a fair"), sacred hymns and classic songs. At the end the audience called for more.

Kölner Stadtanzeiger

 

The concert of the russian Don Kosaken Chor Wanja Hlibka in Salemer Münster was a big event. Standing ovations by the audience were the consequence. Such kind of performance you only can hear from world best choirs. Each soloist is able to fill the church by his good sounding and powerfull voice. The enormous soundscape stretches from the most profound depths through to cear heights.

Schwäbische Zeitung

 

For these soloists microphones and amplifiers are unnecessary accessories, and it seems they are able to overcome mountains by their voices. Wanja Hlibka conducts his choir through the program most masterfully, giving the choir a perfect sound of one-ness. It's no doubt Serge Jaroff has a worthy successor.

Neuß-Grevenbroicher Zeitung

 

In a sold-out St. Clemens Church the audience could hear a concert that would stay for a long time in their memory. The breathtaking solo's were perfectly performed and the audience was drawn by the peculiar timbre of the Russian songs. When the last song of the choir: "I adore the love of God" was finished, you could see that the eyes of many were wet with tears.

Dithmarscher Landeszeitung

 

In St. Apollinaris Church the Don Kosaken Chor Wanja Hlibka performed a concert far beyond something comparable. The powerfull voices of the ensemble were incredible. The soloists seem to come from somewhere beyond. The big modern church was trembling with the power of their voices.

Bergische Morgenpost

 

Deep, sonorous, full sounding basses, clear like a crystal and shining tenors - a fantastic sound fills the church to the furthest corner. The voices are absolutely powerful, the intonation spot on. The dynamic breadth, the perfect tempi and the stylistic certainty of the soloists culminated in a well sounding delight. The Don Kosaken Chor under the leadership of Wanja Hlibka gave an impressive testimonium to be the legitimate successor of the original Don Kosaken Chor, Serge Jaroff.

Hünfelder Zeitung

 

The Don Kosaken Chor under the leadership of Wanja Hlibka is rich in excellent soloists which sing their parts perfectly and are able to join back into a common sound of the choir. With additional songs like: I adore the love of God, the choir finished its concert amidst thundering applause and standing ovations by the audience.

Goslarsche Zeitung

 

The Herkules-Hall in Munich was occupied to the last seat. Wanja Hlibka was celebrated enthusiastically. When the choir ended with the song, "Kalinka", the audience (more than 1000 persons) celebrated them with endless applause and standing ovations. The quality is most praiseworthy.

München

 

Again the Cossaks gave a guest performance in the Gewandhaus Leipzig and again they were celebrated enthusiastically by the audience. It is now the 8th time that the Gewandhaus is sold out. From the first chord one hears the sound of Russian music. This is remarkable in an age where it can be problematic to make a difference in sound, style and repertoire from say a Swabian German choir or Japanese or English competitors. We take off our hat before the members of the Don Kosaken Chor Wanja Hlibka which follows faithfully in the tradition of the legendary ensemble under Serge Jaroff's leadership.

Leipziger Volkszeitung

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