On Air Now
Classic FM Drive with John Brunning 4pm - 7pm
Established around 1498 in the form of six singers at the Viennese Court and becoming the Vienna Boys' Choir in 1924, today's choristers perform the best classical repertoire around the world.
Aged between nine and 14, the Vienna Boys' Choir aims to tackle as much diverse repertoire as possible. They perform music in many different styles, including motets, lieder, masses, oratorios, symphonic works, children’s operas, and world music.
Since 1948, the Vienna Boys' Choir have attended a boarding school at Vienna's Palais Augarten. There's a special rehearsal space for the boys to prepare for concerts.
The boys are split into four different choirs, named after iconic composers linked to the choir's history: Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and Bruckner.
The iconic uniform of the Vienna Boys' Choir. The boys have been allowed to wear the Austrian national emblem since Walt Disney filmed a fictional drama starring the choir, and persuaded the government to allow it.
Haydn and his brother were headhunted to become choristers in the mid-1700s. At that time, the choir wasn't called the 'Vienna Boys' Choir', but the Imperial Court musicians were certainly held in high esteem.
In 1945 the boys performed at Christmas, singing festive tunes for American troops in Vienna. The choir split into two groups to entertain as many people as possible - some performed in Saltzburg, and others stayed in Vienna.
The choir released its album 'Die Wiener Sängerknaben und ihre Schönsten Weihnachtslieder' (The Vienna Boys' Choir and their most beautiful Christmas songs) in 1967. They're pictured here in the same year.
Princess Diana met the choir in Vienna in 1986. 14-year-old chorister Franz Dominik presented her with a bunch of flowers.
Since becoming the 'Vienna Boys' Choir' in 1924, the boys have sung in more than 100 countries on almost 1000 tours. Here they are pictured meeting President George Bush.
In 2012 the choir performed at the traditional New Year's Concert at Vienna's Musikverein. They sang alongside the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Latvian maestro Mariss Jansons.
The boys' diverse Viennese repertoire is inspired by the many classical musicians who passed through and lived in Vienna over the years. Gluck, Mozart, Salieri, Beethoven and Bruckner, among others, were all drawn to the Imperial Court.
The group of singers now known as the Vienna Boys' Choir included the young composer Franz Schubert. He auditioned for the choir when he was 11, and stayed until he was 16, composing some of his early pieces while he was a chorister.
The first director of the group of choristers now known as the Vienna Boys' Choir. Emperor Maximilian I requested that two basses and six boys be employed to provide accompaniment to the church mass.
The boys are returning to the UK in September 2012 for the first time in ten years. They will be performing a selection of Viennese repertoire, inspired by their home city's rich musical traditions.