Artistic Director Axel Theimer
Kantorei’s founder and artistic director was born in St. Johann in Tirol, Austria, where music has been part of his life from the very beginning.
It started with folksongs sung around the campfire, while hiking and at evening gatherings. His parents were managers of a children’s vacation camp, operated by the health services of the city of Innsbruck. A first milestone was when an old upright piano was delivered to the farm-like setting by horse cart halfway up a 7,000-foot mountain in the Austrian Alps. Receiving piano lessons (at age four) also meant walking down into the village for about an hour every other week to see the teacher.
Dr. Theimer was a member of the Vienna Choir Boys from age seven until voice change. He received much of his training in Vienna and completed his studies at the University of Minnesota with a MFA in Choral Conducting and a DMA in Vocal Performance.
He is an active recitalist and has presented master classes, workshops and seminars for state, regional and national music conventions and conferences, and has conducted All-State Choirs, Choral Festivals, and Honor Choirs throughout the United States.
Dr. Theimer has been Director of Choral Activities at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University since 1969. At Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s he directs the CSB/SJU Chamber Choir and the SJU Men’s Chorus and teaches choral conducting, applied voice, vocal pedagogy and other related courses.
In addition to his professional activities with Kantorei and at Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s he is founder and music director of Amadeus Chamber Symphony, a chamber orchestra for Central Minnesota musicians and audiences and is music director of the National Catholic Youth Choir. He is on the faculty, and is currently Executive Director of The VoiceCare Network. In 2001, he received the ACDA-MN Choir Director of the Year Award and, in 2004, he was inducted to the Minnesota Music Educators Association’s MMEA Hall of Fame. He is the 2011 recipient of the ACDA-MN F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award.
Original compositions and arrangements for Men’s Chorus, Women’s, Mixed and Children’s Choir are published by and available from Alliance Publications, Inc., Fish Creek, WI.