It's in our blood: An interview with Ensemble Nobiles

When tenors Paul Heller and Christian Pohlers, baritone Felix Hübner, and basses Lukas Lomtscher and Lucas Heller started Ensemble Nobiles, they already knew they wanted to be a professional a cappella group. The singers had met in St. Thomas Boys’ Choir in Leipzig, in which they had all sung for nine years or more and had learned musicianship and how to create a blended choral sound.

At first, they tried music in a number of different styles, including vocal jazz and arrangements by the popular German group The Wise Guys. However, it quickly became clear: pop a cappella isn’t in their blood.

So what is in the group’s blood? In a word, the choral tradition of Leipzig. In the St. Thomas’ Boys’ Choir, they grew up on the music of Bach and other liturgical and German composers. Once they began to focus on their strengths, the group began to experience much more success: they have sung new commissions by contemporary composers, have won several awards, and had 97 performances in 2015.

Unlike many a cappella groups, especially pop groups, Ensemble Nobiles doesn’t re-arrange songs. The two tenors, Paul Heller and Christian Pohlers, are both composers as well as singers, and the group has performed some of their original pieces. Otherwise, they stick to classical and contemporary choral repertoire written or arranged for four or five male voices. Their current repertoire includes some Weill, some Gershwin, some Hugo Distler, and the Leipzieger Liedertafel program: an evening of music by German Romantic composers with connections of some sort to Leipzig.

They do enjoy a somewhat wider range of music, however: Christian is currently studying opera and is a fan of Puccini; Lukas L. is partial to Poulenc, and Lucas H., Paul’s twin, likes Arthur Sullivan’s “The Long Day Closes.”  

To experience the music that flows through their veins, check out for information on their upcoming concerts.

A previous version of this article contained some innaccuracies, for which we apologize. --Ed.

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