Vienna Boys' Choir © Lukas Beck
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Vienna Boys' Choir © Lukas Beck
Choral Concert 1
The Vienna Boys’ Choir | Jimmy Chiang
works by Antonio Caldara, François Couperin, Johann Joseph Fux, George Frideric Handel, Hans Leo Hassler, Felix Mendelssohn, Wolfgang Amadé Mozart, Michael Praetorius, Robert Schumann, and others
The 2019 Lucerne Easter Festival opens with one of the world’s most celebrated boys’ choirs: the Vienna Boys’ Choir, which will be making its first-ever appearance at the Festival. This is indeed a legendary choir. Founded in 1498 as an ensemble for Vienna’s Hofburg Chapel, the Boys’ Choir can look back over a history spanning 500 years. Such well-known composers as Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert once ranked among these singers, while opera stars like Max Emanuel Cenčić, Herbert Lippert, and Georg Nigl acquired their basic training here. The Vienna Boys’ Choir is admired all over the world and undertakes international tours every year. And because the singers have also had careers in film and television, their popularity reaches far beyond the realm of classical music fans. Their repertoire is correspondingly diverse, ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day, from motet to folk song. Their Festival debut will offer something for everyone, ranging from Handel and Mozart to Hindu chant and the score from the film Sister Act – with a reference to sacred music as the shared underlying thread.
With the friendly support of the Walter Haefner Stiftung
Wiener Sängerknaben © Lukas Beck
The Vienna Boys’ Choir
The Vienna Boys’ Choir can look back over centuries of history. While the earliest reference to a boys’ choir in the Vienna Hofburg Chapel dates from 1296, the official year of founding is 1498, when Emperor Maximilian I moved his court to Vienna. Up until 1918, the Choir, in which such composers as Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert were trained, sang exclusively for the Imperial Court; the ensemble subsequently started performing for the general public. Since 1926, more than 2,500 Choirboys have undertaken approximately 1,000 tours in 98 countries. Today, the Vienna Boys’ Choir is organized as a private association. Comprising about 100 active members, they are divided into four concert choirs that each spends 9 to 11 weeks of the school year on tour. Almost 300 performances take place annually before nearly half a million listeners. The Boys’ Choir maintains a close relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic, in whose New Year Concerts they also participate, as they did most recently in 2016 under Mariss Jansons. They have also performed with Christian Arming, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, and Simone Young. The Choir’s repertoire ranges from the Middle Ages to the present and from motet to folk song and world music. 26 films and 17 TV documentaries covering the history and work of the Vienna Boys’ Choir have been made. The members of the Choir are recruited from a group of about 300 children and young people who are students at the Vienna Boys’ Choir’s own school. About one quarter goes on to embark on artistic careers: examples include the opera singers Max Emanuel Cenčić, Herbert Lippert, and Georg Nigl and the conductors Helmuth Froschauer, Erwin Ortner, Peter Schneider, and Gerald Wirth, all of whom were first trained as members of the Boys’ Choir.
5 February 2019
Jimmy Chiang © Lukas Beck
A native of Hong Kong, the conductor and pianist Jimmy Chiang started learning piano at the age of four and was already appearing as a concert pianist at the age of 13; he later studied harpsichord, organ, cello, and composition. Seiji Ozawa and Leopold Hager rank among his mentors. After Chiang won first prize at the International Lovro-von-Matačić Competition in Zagreb in 2007, he was initially engaged by the Theater Lübeck. In 2009 he transferred to the Theater Freiburg as Kapellmeister, where he led a production of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre together with stage director Calixto Bieito. Chiang has been Kapellmeister of the Vienna Boys’ Choir since 2013, where he directs the Haydn Choir, one of the four subgroups into which the Vienna Boys’ Choir is divided. He has given concerts with this ensemble throughout Europe and has toured to the United States (including to Carnegie Hall in New York) and Canada several times. Chiang has regularly performs with the Vienna Boys’ Choir in Asia, including on tours to Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan, where he most recently prepared the Choir for a program of works by Salieri and Schubert conducted by Riccardo Muti. Chiang has collaborated as a guest conductor with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, and the Zagreb Philharmonic. He has made guest appearances at the Komische Oper Berlin, the Theater Heidelberg, and the Schlosstheater Schönbrunn in Vienna. In 2016 he made his debut as Artistic Director of the new Hong Kong – Vienna Music Festival conducting Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony.
5 February 2019