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Ensemble

The Jena-based a cappella ensemble Octavians is one of the most popular a cappella ensembles in Germany and well known for their versatility and vocal balance at concerts with large and small audiences. They are well capable to perform musical masterpieces of new as well as established composers out of the past 800 years in music history. The groups’ repertoire consist of madrigals, sacred, romantic and humorous songs. In this way the Octavians can adopt their concert program to almost any occasion and circumstance.
The a cappella ensemble Octavians was founded in 2006. It started with eight former or then still active members of the Philharmonic Jena boys’ choir. This was followed by numerous regional and international performances in England, Spain, Sweden, Italy, France and Switzerland. In May 2010 the Octavians won the nationwide competition “Jugend Musiziert” and competed with a selected group of young singers from Germany. They convinced the audience as well as the jury with ‘a perfect mix of joy in music and quality’. By the end of 2010 the Octavians recorded their first professional CD Auftakt at the Marienkirche in Ziegenhain and at the state academy of music of Saxonia. The first CD was followed by the second: “Roaring Twenties” (Goldene Zwanziger). Produced by the renowned label Rondeau Production it presents classics of the Comedian Harmonists as well as modern pieces of Swing and Jazz. In December of 2015 they released their third CD – a Christmas record called “A Light Is Coming” (Es naht ein Licht). With this the Octavians fulfilled a long-cherished wish.

Heiko Knopf

Heiko’s musical education started in the age of 7 when he became a member of the Boys’ Choir of Jena. During his schooltime he had been interested in literature, art and culture, for what reason he later emerged, additionally to singing, as an artist, voice teacher and presenter. In various projects, workshops and classes, including the GewandhausChor Leipzig and the Dresden Chamber Choir, he worked together with considerable conductors and choirmasters. These are including Riccardo Chailly, Hans-Christoph Rademann, Ekkehard Klemm, Nicolas Pasquet, Jürgen Puschbeck, Gregor Meyer and Olaf Katzer. Heiko is one of the founder members and since 2008 the musical conductor of the Octavians.

René Richter

At the age of seven years René played an instrument for the first time – the melodica. Soon after he joined the Boys’ Choir Jena where received a singing education. At nine years old he started to take lessons in keyboard and piano, which he favors over accordion. Since then René regularly contributed in several choirs like the GewandhausChor Leipzig or the Jena Madrigal Choir for projects and workshops. Thereby he worked together with considerable conductors like Herbert Blomsted, Jürgen Puschbeck, Andrei Boreiko or Gregor Meyer. For a few years René has started to compose cover songs for the Octavians. In 2015 René extended his instrumental skills to the guitar. René is a founder member of the Octavians and is engaging in the group as assistant musical conductor, presenter and designer. Additionally he is responsible for video production, IT concerns and the homepage.

Matthias Mäurer

Beside a basic musical education at the Music and Art School of Jena with the beginning of his fourth year of age Matthias was musically shaped especially by his longtime membership in the Boys’ Choir Jena. There he received a comprehensive vocal education. Matthias is a founder member of the Octavians and is supporting the group as a presenter at concerts as well as at organizational concerns and public relations. Additionally to his membership at the Octavians Matthias was part of the Jena Madrigal Choir until 2011.

Clemens Risse

In his first years of age Clemens discovered his fascination and passion for music, which induced him to take classes at the Music and Art School Jena. In primary school age he introduced himself at the Boys’ Choir Jena where he was familiarized with choral and solo singing. Meanwhile he can look back on ten years of musical education. Beside Clemens established himself at the Jena Madrigal Choir. This chamber choir enabled him to witness several projects with other German choirs and music groups. 2017 Clemens joined the Octavians, which are an ambitious ensemble, where he can pursue his musical aims.

Christian Gaida

At the age of six years Christian started to play violin and participated, as a part of his musical education at the music school of Wittenberg, successfully at competitions like “Jugend musiziert” several times. He obtained a comprehensive secondary musical education at Schulpforta, where he was active for its school orchestra. His vocal abilities he trained through individual voice training and as a longtime member of the youth choir of the school. Above he sang at the „Florelegium Portense” choir under the direction of Kersten Lachmann. Subsequent he became a member of the Chamber Choir of the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar under the direction of Prof. Jürgen Puschbeck (2009-2012). There he worked together with Nicolas Pasquet and Thomaskantor Georg Christoph Biller.

Martin Kleekamp

In the year 2009 Martin, the first singer of the group’s history, who never has been a member of the Boys‘ Choir Jena, joined up to the Octavians. Prior Martin had obtained a six years piano education and had been active for the Jubilee Singers Jena for many years. Beyond he contributed at several Gospel, church and youth choirs as well as at the GewandhausChor Leipzig. Beside his vocal activity Martin has played electric bass in various bands since his 14. year of age. Within the Octavians Martin is engaging especially for organizational concerns and as a versed technician he is responsible for mixdown and audio recording at amplified concerts.

Andreas Jäckel

Since 2012 Andreas strengthens the musical basement of the ensemble as baritone and bass. In his primary school age he joined the Boys’ Choir of Jena where he experienced a comprehensive musical education in music theory and singing praxis. Since 2010 he increases his vocal abilities by regular singing lessons at the Music and Art School Jena where he is taught by the Weimar soprano singer Claudia Zohm. Besides music Andreas is engaging in organizational concerns of the group and is co-responsible for the homepage and public relations.

Johannes Schleußner

Johannes passed his musical education at the Music and Art School of Jena and later at the Boys‘ Choir Jena. He was a member of the Chamber Choir of the Dresden Frauenkirche and the Chamber Choir of the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar and contributed project-based at the Dresden Chamber Choir and the GewandhausChor Leipzig. As part of his singing career he worked together with Christian Thielemann, Hans-Christoph Rademann, Isaac Karabtchevsky, Jürgen Puschbeck, Matthias Grünert and Gotthold Schwarz. Johannes is a founder member of the Octavians, but left the group study-related at 2008. Since 2016 he’s back again as a Bass.