The Vienna Boys Choir – more than 500 years of tradition

Wiener saengerknaben

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

Emperor Maximilian founded the Vienna Court Music Chapel and subsequently the Boys’ Choir in 1498 , when he moved the court from Innsbruck to Vienna. Originally it was the Wilten Boys’ Choir near Innsbruck of which Maximilian took some to Vienna.

The task of the choir was to provide music for the Holy Mass. In the beginning there were only six boys, later the choir was expanded to 14 to 20 boys. Until 1918, the Hofmusikkapelle played music exclusively for the Habsburg court and was disbanded in 1920.

Through the efforts of the then rector Josef Schnitt, the tradition was continued and in 1924 the Vienna Boys’ Choir was officially founded as an association .. Franz Schubert was a famous choirboy, while Mozart made music only with the choir, as did many other composers, e.g. Salieri or Anton Bruckner. Joseph and Michael Haydn sang as substitutes in the choir.

Today, the 100-member boys’ choir is one of the most renowned in the world and is composed largely of Austrian children, but also from other nations. The age is between ten and fourteen years.

The regular performance at the Hofburgkapelle is still one of the fixed appearances of the Vienna Boys’ Choir. They are considered the youngest ambassadors of Austria and are known worldwide. Unmistakable is their sailor suit, which has been the official choir dress since 1924 .

During the season the Vienna Boys’ Choir gives about 300 concerts, often on their concert tours around the world. Traditionally, they often like to 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.

Time Travel Tip:
On Sundays, the Vienna Boys Choir sings Mass in the Hofburg Chapel. A ticket is required for this touching pleasure. Court music band: Vienna Court Music Chapel


More info: The Vienna Boys Choir – Home (


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