Rudolf Kelber

Rudolf Kelber (born 1948, Traunstein, Germany) is a German organist, harpsichordist, conductor and church musician.


Rudolf Kelber began his musical education at high school in Nuremberg State Conservatory and received instruction in piano, organ, cello and music theory. From 1967 to 1974 he studied church music, conducting and organ (master class) at the Musikhochschule in Munich.

In 1982 Rudolf Kelber succeeded Heinz Wunderlich as cantor and organist at the Hauptkirche St. Jacobi in Hamburg.[1][2]

Kelber initiated the fundamental restoration of the Arp Schnitger organ, the largest sounding baroque organ in existence, in the Hauptkirche St. Jacobi, which was completed in 1993. The second organ of St. Jacobi (Kemper 1960/1968) was also repaired on his initiative in 2008.[3]

The tenure of Rudolf Kelber at the Hauptkirche St. Jacobi in Hamburg ended 2015. He continues to perform as organist, harpsichordist and jazz pianist and composes.[4][5]


Kelber has performed as organ soloist in the U.S., Japan, Israel, and almost all European countries with a wide repertoire: in addition to composers in the North German tradition (determined by the historic Schnitger organ) he also plays the music of Liszt, Reger and Messiaen, as well as arrangements of symphonies or parts from operas, tango and blues. He has frequently accompanied silent films with organ improvisations.[6]


Rudolf Kelber has conducted the great Passions, oratorios and requiems as well as a lot of baroque, classical, romantic and modern symphonic works.[7]

Staged performances of operas and oratorios by Cavalieri, Monteverdi, Stradella, Purcell, Handel, Gluck and Mozart have developed under his direction in both Heidelberg and Hamburg.[1]

From 2005 to 2009 Kelber conducted five baroque operas from the repertoire of the Hamburg Gänsemarkt opera in concert performances at the Bucerius Kunst Forum for the ZEIT-Stiftung.[8][9]




  • Missa super Cantus Lennonenses McCartnesque (mixed choir a cappella / 2001)
  • Cantata in honorem Henrici Sagittarii (soprano, vibraphone, mixed choir / 2006)
  • Paul-Gerhardt-cantata (mezzo-soprano solo, choir, brass / 2007)
  • I Bambini di Sant' Anna (mixed choir a cappella /2014)
  • "Obersalzberg" - Musiktheater about Sigmund Freud and Adolf Hitler 1929 in Berchtesgaden (2016)[13]

Reconstructions and compilationsEdit

  • Claudio Monteverdi: Arianna (1997)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: St Mark Passion (1998)
  • Claudio Monteverdi: Vespro secondo (1999, compilation)
  • Modest Mussorgsky: Glagolitic Mass (2005)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: St Luke Passion (2011, pasticcio)



From 2003 until 2015 Rudolf Kelber has been teaching organ playing at the University of the Arts Bremen and from 2008 until 2015 repertoire studies at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg.[citation needed]


  • Europäische Orgelmusik des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts - Arp Schnitger organ (1993)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach - Arp Schnitger organ (1997)
  • Nu ward veel dusend Lichter hell - Low German Christmas carols (1998)
  • J. S. Bach, Markus-Passion BWV 247 in the reconstruction of Rudolf Kelber (1999)
  • Monteverdi: Vespro secondo (new compilation of psalms / 1999)
  • Organ improvisations on theme sketches by Hans Henny Jahnn (2000)
  • Fremde Vögel - Missa Super Cantus Lennonenses McCartnesques for choir a cappella, Tangos, Blues, Ragtimes for organ and harpsichord (2003)
  • Mattheson: Opera "Boris Goudenow" (2005)
  • Mattheson: Opera „Die betrogene Staats-Liebe” or „Die unglückselige Cleopatra” (2006)
  • Gott loben, das ist unser Amt - Kantorei St. Jacobi Hamburg 1958 - 2008 - concert recordings (2008)
  • Ostwärts schweift der Blick: Mussorgskij, Glagolitische Messe and Kodály, Missa brevis (2010)
  • J. S. Bach, Lukas-Passion in the reconstruction of Rudolf Kelber (2011)
  • Norddeutsche Orgelmeister und Bach – Arp Schnitter organ (2013/2014)[7]


  1. ^ a b "Rudolf Kelber (Conductor, Organ, Harpsichord) - Short Biography".
  2. ^ a b "Rudolf Kelber erhält die Senator-Biermann-Ratjen-Medaille".
  3. ^ "Ruhestand für St. Jacobi-Kantor Rudolf Kelber".
  4. ^ Peters, Helmut (27 December 2015). "Gottes Beatle". Die Welt.
  5. ^ "Eintritt frei: Neue Jamsession - Jazz im Kulturhaus, Eppe und Flut | Dienstag, 29. Januar 2019".
  6. ^ "Vita".
  7. ^ a b "Diskografie".
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b "Musikalische Chronik der Kantorei St. Jacobi 1982 bis 2015".
  10. ^ "Europa - eine runde Sache". 20 July 2000.
  11. ^ "Eine Passion à la Wagner". 26 August 2005.
  12. ^ "Blind gehört Rudolf Kelber - "Musikalisch hatten es die Protestanten besser"". 10 November 2011.
  13. ^ "Rudolf Kelber: Obersalzberg". 27 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Kirchenmusikdirektor Kelber wird ausgezeichnet". 8 February 2018.
  15. ^ "News [Hamburger Senat ehrt den Organisten, Dirigenten und Kirchenmusiker Rudolf Kelber] / MIZ".


Deutsche Nationalbibliothek / Deutsches Musikarchiv:

Concert programs, CDs and the German newspapers like "Hamburger Abendblatt":