8 December, 2019
The article was originally published in the December edition of The Plus.
“A choir consists of many individuals who have to act as a team. A good concert can become a great performance if every single participant can bring his own personality to the mix.”
Who: Over more than 700 years old, one of the best boys choirs in the world, the Vienna Boy’s Choir is a band of boy sopranos and altos. Comprising of over 100 boys aged between 10 to 14 years of age, most of the boys hail from Austria while some from all over the world. Their tours are specific to the four Austrian composers they cover, namely, Schubert, Haydn, Bruckner, and Mozart. Constantly upgrading their genre by including newer trends in music, the Vienna Boys have managed to stay relevant and have become the pièce de résistance in their journey.
The beginnings of the choir can be traced to the year 1498 when Emperor Maximilian I laid the foundation stone for the Viennese Court Music Orchestra, of which the Boys’ Choir was a part.
Join the Band-Wagon: In Vienna, it is often possible to hear the Vienna Boy’s Choir regularly as part of the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle or the Holy Mass in the Hofburg Chapel on Sundays (September to June). In 2012, they opened the MuTh, which is their new concert hall in the Augarten. The name MuTh is an abbreviation of ‘Music and Theater’ and its stage is home to avant-garde music and theater productions.
The MuTh is located right next to the Augartenpalais, where the Vienna Boys learn, live and sing. The new music center is a powerful cultural stimulus in the Augarten. The MuTh builds bridges: Between music and theater, tradition and experiment, great artists and above all – between experts and the next generation.
In October end and November, the Choir toured the Indian subcontinent by covering Mumbai and Delhi. Their ensemble was titled ‘A Passage to India’ and they began with their traditional and classical favorites by Mozart, Rossini, and Schumann. They ended the concert with a twist on Amir Khusrow’s Qawwali ‘Man Kunto Maula’ and Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite bhajan ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’ commemorating his 150th birthday. The troupe also featured Rishan a 14-year old boy from Gurgaon who has been touring with the Choir for the last four years and graduated from their institution recently. This ensemble is a perfect example of the harmonious confluence of how music, like all other art forms, has no barriers.