The Jazzchor Freiburg was founded in 1990 by Bertrand Gröger. Tours and concerts in China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Denmark, success in competitions (including first place in the German Choir Contest in 1998 and first place in the Choir Olympiad in South Korea in 2002), CD recordings ("Schwing!", "A Capella", "Hammenoma", "Live in Japan") as well as radio and television programmes have brought the choir to national and international acclaim.
The choir performs at festivals (e.g. "International Jazz Vocal Festival Russia", "Montreux Jazz Festival", "Rheingau-Musik-Festival"), in concert halls (incl. "Sunflower Hall", Yokohama; "Cappella", St. Petersburg; "Palais de la Musique", Strasbourg, Vienna Konzerthaus, Großes Festspielhaus Salzburg), in churches (Convent church, Zlatá Koruna; "Christianskirken", Arhus; Magdeburg Cathedral), as well as in Jazz clubs ("Sweet Basil Club", Tokyo; "Jazz Art Club", Moscow; "Stadtgarten", Cologne).
The Jazzchor's programme encompasses vocal jazz from swing to fusion, striving to bridge the gap between popular and art music, virtuosity and entertainment. The various arrangements of songs by important Jazz artists such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane or Nat King Cole are mostly composed by Bertrand Gröger and become very colourful with the addition of scat sections, collective rap and shout choruses. Through occasional excursions around the world by "Manhattan Transfer" or the "New York Voices", the choir brings well-known songs in quartet arrangement to the public.
In addition to numerous a cappella pieces, the choir is accompanied in concerts by its band that consists of piano, double bass and drums. The group is often expanded to include guest soloists on saxophone, tap dancers or solo singers. Previous collaborations have included the Swingle Singers, Bernd Schlott, Torun Eriksen, Cécile Verny, Norbert Gottschalk and Tap for Two.
On top of their vocal jazz programme, previous projects have included performances with Bobby McFerrin ("Circlesongs", "VOCabuLarieS"), the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra ("der und die (das)" by Bertrand Gröger), the Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra ("Daphnis & Chloë" by Maurice Ravel), the Basel Sinfonietta ("Porgy & Bess" by George Gershwin) and the Hannover Big Band ("Concert of Sacred Music" by Duke Ellington).
Bertrand Gröger who was born in Wolfsburg and grew up in Bremen, studied classical music in Freiburg and Paris and Jazz in Hamburg. With his band "Tune Up" and as part of the classical ensemble "Trio Grande", Gröger has performed in Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain and South Africa and appeared in radio and television productions.
In 1990, Gröger founded the Jazzchor Freiburg, with which he has undertaken tours across Europe, Japan and South Korea and with which he has achieved the first prize in each choir competition entered (Italy 1997, Germany 1998, South Korea 2002). He was awarded the ZMF Prize in 1997 for his work as choir director.
In the field of composition and arrangement, Gröger is self taught and was a prizewinner at the International Composition Contest in 1989 in Berlin. He arranges and composes a large part of the Jazzchor Freiburg's repertoire, has been published by Ricordi and has written commissions for the Swingle Singers, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the WDR-Rundfunkorchester and the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie.
As a guest conductor, he directed the Philharmonische Orchester Freiburg with his composition "der und die (das)" for orchestra, Jazz choir and band and lead the world children's choir consisting of 2000 members from 115 countries all around the globe at the UN "Festival Mondial des Enfants". Gröger also conducted his own compositions in a collaborative project with Bobby McFerrin as part of the "Stimmen" festival.
Gröger is a lecturer at the Mannheim Pop Academy and conducts the college choir there. Since 2004, he has been directing the Gospelchor Zug.
The "Loop Songs", composed by him and recorded by the Swingle Singers were published by Schott and Hal Leonard respectively and were met with widespread acclaim. He is furthermore the author of the choir series "Jazz and Pop Choir Series" and in 2013, he and Oliver Gies published the "33 neue Kanons". In the same year, Gröger also published his first self-recorded and composed guitar CD, the "Crossover Preludes". Schott Music published the accompanying sheet music in parallel with the release.
For many years, Gröger has been a singing teacher at the "Jazz- und Rockschule Freiburg" and a tutor for jazz, pop and rock choir conducting at the Würzburg school of music. He has offered choir conducting and choir singing workshops at music schools in Saarbrücken, Freiburg and Frankfurt a.M., the Landesakademie Ochsenhausen and the AMJ ("Arbeitskreis Musik in der Jugend") as well as the European Jazz Academy among others.
Gröger is also active as a juror for German and international choir competitions.