Repertoire

The choir’s repertoire includes everything from medieval to contemporary and experimental music. Motets and lieder for boys’ choir form the core of the touring repertoire, as do the choir’s own arrangements of quintessentially Viennese music, waltzes and polkas by Lanner and Strauss.

Both the choir and the Chapel Imperial have a long tradition of commissioning new works, going back to Imperial times, when composers like Mozart, Haydn, or Bruckner wrote for the ensemble. Austrian composers Heinz Kratochwil, Balduin Sulzer, Wolfram Wagner, and Gerald Wirth have written works for today’s boys. Benjamin Britten composed a vaudeville which could be performed on tours, and Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin wrote her ‘Land of Sweeping Plains’ for them. The Vienna Boys’ Choir performs major choral and symphonic works, sometimes as part of the Hofmusikkapelle, sometimes with other orchestras and men’s choirs. They are regularly asked to supply soloists for large choral and orchestral works, such as Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. In recent years, they have performed with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, the Oslo Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Over the last decade, the choir has worked with, among others, Pierre Boulez, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Mariss Jansons, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Kent Nagano, Seiji Ozawa, Christian Thielemann, Franz Welser-Möst, and Simone Young. The choir also takes part in opera performances at the Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Volksoper, and the Salzburg Festival. Choristers appear as three boys in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Recently, a soloist sang the part of Oberto in Handel’s opera Alcina at the Vienna State Opera, conducted by Marc Minkowski.

Children’s Operas

The boys love to act, and children’s operas are an important part of the repertoire. The choir started performing operas in the 1920s, beginning with classics such as Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne, Weber’s Abu Hassan or Haydn’s Lo Speziale, later branching out to contemporary works. Benjamin Britten rehearsed his The Golden Vanity with the boys, and conducted the premiere at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1967. Over the last decade, the choir has produced a number of new operas. Gerald Wirth’s The Journey of the Little Prince and The Tablet of Destinies, an opera based on the Babylonian myth of Anzu, and Raoul Gehringer’s Moby-Dick, based on the novel by Herman Melville, were all shown at Vienna’s Musikverein. Gerald Wirth’s 1398 – Der Bettelknabe (1398 - The begging boy), a story set in medieval Palestine and Europe, premiered in 2010, with a new production planned for May 2015. A new opera set in the 4th century AD and featuring Goths, Romans, and Anglo-Saxons is currently being developed.

World Music and Cross Over Projects

One of the choir’s goals is to introduce the boys to as many different styles of music as possible: since the 1920s, the choir has collected music from around the world. In the past years, the choir has commissioned and produced a number of world music projects, “Silk Road”, “Between Worlds”, “Inspiration”, and “Pirates!”. As Gerald Wirth explains, ‘We do not claim to play ‘authentic’ world music; instead, we create something from the original sources that is our own. We want to be faithful to the source in the sense that we treat it with respect.’

Films: Silk Road and Bridging the Gap

The choir’s Silk Road project inspired film director Curt Faudon to make a film about the globetrotting choristers. For over a year, Faudon followed the boys’ life in Vienna and on the road, filming the boys at work and at play, on and off stage, meeting and working with artists from Central Asia, China and India. The resulting 90-minute film is a clever blend of fly-on-the wall documentary, road movie, costume drama and music, with stunning footage from all across the world and through time, with an unusual, off-beat soundtrack which has the boys singing in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Japanese, Latin, Marathi, Maori, Savo Finnish, Tajik, Uyghur, Urdu, Uzbek and German. Faudon's second film on the choir will be released in 2014; Bridging the Gap focuses on the enormous power of singing. In it, the boys sing with an Apache medicine man, perform with an entire Indian village, ham it up in an Peruvian train. And in New Zealand they are adopted into a Maori tribe, via song.

 

Click here to view the trailer of 'Silk Road' (2008)

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Contact

Enquiries:

Vienna Boys Choir Music Academy

609, 6/F, OfficePlus @ Prince Edward,
794-802 Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Tel: (+852) 2577 8815
Fax: (+852) 2576 3810
Email: info@vbcma.com

Lesson Venue:

Kidenza

Shop 852-853, Level 8, Fortune Metropolis,
6 Metropolis Drive, Hung HomKowloon,
Hong Kong