In 1498, Holy Emperor Maximilian I moved his court and his court musicians to Vienna. Historians have set this year as the foundation date of the Vienna Chapel Imperial and in consequence, the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Until 1918, the choir sang exclusively for the imperial court, at mass, concerts and private functions, and on state occasions. 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. In 1921, it became a private institution, the sailor suit replaced the imperial uniform and the choir started giving concerts outside the Imperial Chapel in order to pay for the boys’ upkeep. Since those times, the choir has been on more than 1000 tours in 100 different countries.
Musicians like Heinrich Isaac, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonio Salieri and Anton Bruckner worked with the choir, brothers Joseph Haydn and Michael Haydn frequently sang with them, while composers Franz Schubert and Jacobus Gallus were themselves choristers.
The Vienna Boys’ Choir is closely associated with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Together with members of the orchestra and the men of the Vienna State Opera Chorus, they maintain the tradition of the imperial musicians, providing the music for the Sunday Mass in Vienna’s Imperial Chapel, as they have done since 1948.
Today, there are 100 choristers from 31 nations, with ages between ten and fourteen, divided into four touring choirs. Half a million people enjoy their performances each year.
In 2012, HarrisonParrott took the choir on tour for concerts in the United Kingdom.
In 2016, HarrisonParrott managed their performance at the Ghent Festival of Flanders.
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