Two years ago, the vocal band Unduzo together with Nina Ruckhaber (vocal blogger “Ninas VoxBox”) had the idea to establish a vocal festival in Freiburg for the first time. It quickly became clear that the potential was too great: Better to let it rest for a while before a huge opportunity is only half-heartedly implemented.
Since years Tobias Hug, former singer with "The Swingles", also thought about a festival in his home town of Kirchzarten. He in turn is a successful founder of the festival: he founded the London A-Cappella Festival (UK) and the Festival Vocalmente (I).
It was a coincidence that Dörte Zillessen, former Kirchzartner, was also looking for new tasks: With the cultural, music and project manager Dörte Zillessen, the organizational threads of three German choir festivals and four and a half chor.com fairs ran for ten years Head of the artistic office at the German Choir Association.
They heard from each other, knew each other, appreciated and liked each other, discovered the possibilities together and finally everyone involved gave BLACK FOREST VOICES his name and vision:
BLACK FOREST VOICES is the newly founded vocal festival, which is rooted in the Dreisamtal and Black Forest and is intended to radiate far beyond the region.
With Tobias Hug as artistic director, the Black Forest Voices (BFV) Festival pursues the ambitious idea of combining local ties and global connections, bringing together diverse individuals with different backgrounds, putting professionals and amateurs side by side, learning with and from each other internal and external borders.
In addition to concerts by regional, national and international choirs and vocal bands that attract the public, further training for young choirs and a cappella singers as well as the pedagogically sound, yet playful teaching of singing - especially singing together - is the focus of our festival.
Tobias Hug (*01.01.1976 - †️ 09.01.2020)
Explorer of the human voice and passionate teacher and vocal entrepreneur, Tobias had been singing, teaching, travelling for 20 years and is deeply involved with the international choral, beatbox and a cappella scene. He performed with his group ‘Beatvox’ and the World Beatbox Team Champions ‘The Beatbox Collective’. With the choir ‘London Voices’ he has contributed to countless movie soundtracks (e.g. The Hobbit, Interstellar). Born and raised in Freiburg, Germany, he moved to London and between 2001-2012 sang with Grammy-Award winning a cappella group The Swingle Singers. As their bass (and for a few years as Artistic Director) he performed in more than 700 concerts and took part in collaborations with Bobby McFerrin, Monty Python and Zubin Mehta. Tobias had been co-founder and Artistic Director of several a cappella festivals (e.g Vocalmente, London A Cappella Festival) and in 2017, directed the Worlds Largest Beatbox Choir (6500 children in Hong Kong) entering the Guinness Book of Records. He holds a Master in Rhythmic Choir Conducting and Vocal Leadership from the Royal Academy of Aalborg.
In January 2020, Tobias Hug died at cancer.
Nina Ruckhaber studied Music and Mathematics, but now works full time for the event management company Reservix, for whom she is in charge of the Humboldtsaal Freiburg. She has been a member of Jazzchor Freiburg (conducted by Bertrand Gröger) since 2010, and has also managed the choir part time for seven years. She is also vice chairwoman of the Deutsche Chorjugend (German Choral Youth) and was appointed to the advisory council Choir as well as to the federal expert panel media of the Deutscher Musikrat (German Music Council) in 2018. Nina Ruckhaber runs the vocal blog “Ninas VoxBox”.
Vocal Band UNDUZO from Freiburg, Leipzig and Hamburg have been performing together since 2009. The band uses all facets of a cappella in pop music to bring their musical ideas and concepts into reality. Different vocal styles mingle with beatbox and live looping: This concept has won Unduzo many awards both nationally and internationally.
Unduzo are: Julian Knörzer, Richard Leisegang, Patrick Heil, Cornelius Mack and Julie Mbodjé
The cultural, music and project manager Dörte Zillessen has been the organisatory presence behind three Deutsche Chorfeste (German Choir Festival) and four and a half chor.coms in her function as head of the Artistic Administration of the Deutscher Chorverband (German Choir Association). A carpenter by trade, student of musicology and graduate economist advises and supports festivals, ensembles and musicians with administrative matters and brings clarity and structure into matters substantial and organisational.