Guelph, ON March 9, 2015 – There is perhaps no group more synonymous with choral excellence than the Vienna Boys’ Choir. The storied ensemble, whose history dates back centuries, is making a handful of stops in Canada. One of those stops will be at Guelph’s River Run Centre on Sunday, March 22 at 4 p.m. The afternoon concert is presented as part of the RBC Showcase Series.
Deemed a world treasure, the choir is known for its clean, bright, choral sound and pristine tone. Today’s Vienna Boys’ Choir is the continuation of a tradition that dates back to the Viennese court of the Middle Ages. In 1498, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I moved his court and his court musicians to Vienna. He gave instructions that there were to be six singing boys among his musicians, leading historians to settle on that occasion as the foundation date for the Vienna Boys’ Choir.
Since its inception the choir has been affiliated with some of Europe’s finest musicians and composers, among them Heinrich Isaac, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, Johann Joseph Fux, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonio Caldara, Antonio Salieri and Anton Bruckner. Composers Jacobus Gallus and Franz Schubert were themselves choristers, and brothers Joseph Haydn and Michael Haydn were members of the choir of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and frequently sang with the imperial boys’ choir.
Until 1918, the choir sang exclusively for the imperial court, at mass, concerts and private functions, and on state occasions. In 1918, after the breakdown of the Habsburg Empire, the Austrian government took over the court opera, its orchestra and the adult singers, but not the boys’ choir. The Vienna Boys’ Choir owes its survival to the initiative of Josef Schnitt, who became Dean of the Imperial Chapel in 1921. Schnitt established the boys’ choir as its own entity, helping ensure its continued success.
Today the Vienna Boys’ Choir stands as the pinnacle of choral performance: talent, skill and discipline combine to create an ethereal, incomparable listening experience. There are around 100 choristers, all between the ages of ten and fourteen years. The group is split into four different touring choirs. Collectively the choirs give about 300 performances a year in front of almost half a million people. Since 1926 the choir has performed close to 1,000 tours and graced stages in 100 different countries. The choir’s repertoire includes everything from medieval to contemporary and experimental music.
The River Run Centre engagement represents a rare opportunity to take in the celestial sounds of this world-renowned choir. Tickets for this performance start at $44 for adults, $42 for students and seniors and $20 for youth. $5 eyeGO tickets are available for high school students with valid ID. $20 uGO tickets are available to university and college students with valid ID. Tickets are available at the River Run Box Office at 519-763-3000, or online at riverrun.ca/vienna-boys-choir
Ella Pauls | Manager of Cultural Development
Culture & Tourism| Community & Social Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2589