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Vienna Boys Choir - Artist's Biography

Boys have been singing at Vienna's Imperial Chapel since 1296. In 1498, Maximilian I (HRR) moved his court to Vienna, lock, stock, and choir, thus founding the “Hofmusikkapelle” (Chapel Imperial), and the Vienna Boys Choir. Over the centuries, the Viennese Court attracted great musicians like Isaac, de Monte, Fux, Caldara, Gluck, Salieri, Mozart, and Bruckner; Joseph Haydn, Michael Haydn, and Franz Schubert were themselves choir boys. Until 1918, the boys sang exclusively for the court. In the 1920s, the choir was reestablished as a private organisation. Since 1926, 2482 choristers have sung 1000 tours in 97 different countries. Gerald Wirth is the its Artistic Director, and its president.
Today, there are 100 boy choristers between the ages of nine and fourteen, divided into four touring choirs. Each of these spends nine to eleven weeks of the academic year on tour. Together, they give around 300 concerts each year, attended by almost half a million spectators around the world. The choir regularly tours Europe, Asia and Australia, and the Americas. The choir’s first journey to the US took place in 1932, and its first world tour took place in 1934.

On Sundays, choristers perform with members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and of the Vienna State Opera Chorus in Vienna’s Imperial Chapel, as they have done for the last 524 years. In 2012, the choir opened its own concert hall, MuTh; the state-of-the art facility seats 400 and has proven highly popular with both artists and audience.

The choir’s repertoire includes everything from medieval to contemporary music. Motets and lieder form the core of the touring repertoire, as do the choir’s own arrangements of Viennese music. The choir also performs children’s operas and world music.
The first ever sound recording of the choir was made on a wax cylinder in 1907; since then, the boys have recorded 43 shellacks, 55 singles, 128 LPs and 152 CDs on every major label. In 2015, the choir signed a longterm deal with Deutsche Grammophon. A CD of holiday music was released in 2015, a CD offering a selection of music by the Strauss dynasty followed in 2018. The latest release on DG was the 2021 album "Together", which includes 19 hopeful songs. 26 films and countless international TV documentaries attest to the choir’s international appeal.

The Vienna Boys Choir regularly performs with major orchestras, such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the likes of Joana Mallwitz, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti (honorary member of the Chapel Imperial), Christian Thielemann, Simone Young. A particular highlight are the appearances at the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's New Year’s Concert. In 2012 and 2016, the boys performed under the baton of Mariss Jansons; in 2023, they are set to perform under the baton of Franz Welser Möst - alongside the Vienna Boys Choir's girls chorus, Wiener Chormädchen.

www.wsk.at
December 2022

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The Organization

 

The Vienna Boys Choir is a private, not-for-profit organization. 140 former choristers form the General Assembly; they elect the Board of Trustees. The Board oversees the day-to-day running of the Choir.

The Choir consists of current and former choristers, choir staff, teachers and, in a broader sense, also the choristers' parents, without whom the Choir would not exist.

Former choristers may join the Chorus Viennensis, or the Choralschola of the Chapel Imperial.

 

 

Board of Trustees 

Steering Committee
Mag. Erich Arthold, President
Mag. Gregor Morawetz, First Vice President
DI Volker Dienst, Second Vice President

 

Dr. Thomas Hönigmann, secretary
Mag. Wolfgang Nowak
Mag. (FH) Thomas Puchegger, treasurer
Benjamin Schmidinger
Arthur Trainacher
Professor Gerald Wirth, Artistic Director
Dr. Christian Zwick

Auditors:
Dr. Alexander Obransky
OSRin Elisabeth Ondraschek