The Vienna Boys Choir - more than 500 years of tradition

Who laid the foundation stone for the Vienna Boys' Choir? Which musicians were famous choir boys? How many choir boys are there today and where do they perform regularly?

Emperor Maximilian founded the Wiener Hofmusikkapelle in 1498 and, in consequence, the boys' choir, when he moved the court from Innsbruck to Vienna. Originally they come from the Wilten Boys Choir near Innsbruck, because Maximilian took some of them to Vienna.

The task of the choir was the musical arrangement of the Holy Mass. At first there were only six boys, later the choir was extended to 14 to 20 boys. Until 1918 the Hofmusikkapelle performed exclusively for the Habsburg court and was opened in 1920.

Through the commitment of the former Rector Josef Schnitt, the tradition was continued and in 1924 the Vienna Boys Choir were officially founded as an association.

Franz Schubert was a famous choirboy, while Mozart only performed with the choir, as did many other composers such as Salieri or Anton Bruckner. Joseph and Michael Haydn sang only as substitutes in the choir.

Today, the 100-member Boys Choir is one of the most renowned in the world and is made up mainly of Austrian children, but also of other nations. The age is between ten and fourteen years.

The regular performance in the Hofburgkapelle is still a fixed date of the Vienna Boys' Choir. They are considered the youngest ambassadors of Austria and are known worldwide. Unmistakable is their sailor suit, which is the official choir clothing since 1924.

During the season, the Vienna Boys Choir give about 300 concerts, often on their tours around the world. Traditionally, they often perform in Japan and the USA. Concert tours to China, Taiwan and Singapore are also frequent. Their repertoire ranges from the Middle Ages to the present. They sing classical choral music to internationally known film and pop music.

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