Helmuth Rilling was honored as a Stamps Distinguished Visitor during the 2007-2008 season at the University of Miami Frost School of Music as a conductor, a pedagogue, and an ambassador for the music of J. S. Bach worldwide. Rilling has been intensely involved with the works of Johann Sebastian Bach since he founded the Bach Collegium Stuttgart in 1965. As the choir’s regular orchestral partner, Rilling felt a strong connection to Bach’s works. Since establishing the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart in 1981, Rilling furthered J. S. Bach’s personality and music through public concerts, master classes for singers and conductors, symposia, and residencies all over the world. In addition, Rilling held special annual projects such as the Bach Week Stuttgart and the European Music Festival Stuttgart.
Furthermore, Rilling was the guiding hand behind the Internationale Bachakademie’s critically-acclaimed project to record the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach (172 CDs) for Hänssler Classic which was released in 2000 to coincide with the 250th Anniversary of Bach’s death. The following year, Rilling founded the Festvalensemble Stuttgart, which consists of choir and orchestra.
Festvalensemble Stuttgart draws on the participation of talented young musicians from 25 different countries. Helmuth Rilling received the 1994 UNESCO International Music Prize and the 1995 Theodor Heuss Prize. In 2003, he became an honorary member of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences. He won a Grammy Award in 2000 for his recording of Krzystof Penderecki’s Credo and was again nominated in 2001 for his recording of Wolfgang Rihm’s Deus Passus.