Vienna is the proud home of the world renowned Vienna Boys Choir, or Wiener Sängerknaben in German. When people watch and listen to this group even just on TV, they are always all ears and in awe because of the amazing talent of the young boys that comprise the choir. Surely, the amazement is even greater when you listen to them perform live on stage.
The Vienna Boys Choir is one of the world’s oldest choirs composed of purely young boys. It has been a known symbol of Austria for almost 500 years. It all started in 1498 when Emperor Maximilian I of Hasburg, through a letter, called the first 12 boys to the imperial court to become members of the court music band. The choir then was tasked to provide musical accompaniment to the church mass.
The boys who were selected for the choir underwent formal music education. Their first class training proved to be very beneficial to most of them as many of the boys later became professional musicians such as violinists, pianists and vocalists. That was not a surprise at all as those who trained the boys were some of Austria’s great composers and teachers including Mozart, his close contemporary and rival Saliere as well as Heinrich Isaac and Hofhaimer.
It was in 1924 when the Vienna Boys Choir became a professional music group. The Palais Augarten became their regular venue for rehearsal and boarding school starting from kindergarten to the middle school level. Selection of the potential members is rigid and each applicant is interviewed individually. But although the Vienna Boys Choir is based mainly in the capital of Austria, some of its members also come from other countries.
The talented young boys of this choir group known for their blue and white sailor suits have performed around the world and under almost all great conductors of this century. You can watch and listen to them sing at the Hofburg chapel during a solemn mass every Sunday.