Wilten Boys’ Choir
The Wilten Boys’ Choir from Innsbruck is one of the most renowned boys’ choirs in Europe and has a long-standing tradition. Its history dates back to the 13th century. The predecessors of the Vienna Boys' Choir were founded by Emperor Maximilian I as the “Singknaben aus Wilten” (Singing Boys of Wilten).
Throughout all those centuries, their tradition has only been interrupted at times by wars, for example during the Second World War. Afterwards, Norbert Gerhold from Langenlois and Otto Karasek of the Wilten Abbey re-established the choir. It was conducted by Gerhold until 1982 and many accomplished recordings and major tours, for example to Denmark, Israel and Japan took place during that time. In 1983, Armin Kölbl from Innsbruck took over the role of Artistic Director and he was followed by Howard Arman from London in 1986. In 1991, Arman founded the Innsbruck Capellknaben choir with members of the Wilten Boys’ Choir. At that time, Johannes Stecher took over as Artistic Director and he systematically developed the choir to its current ensemble.
Today, the choir has 190 members, who are divided into six groups – from junior choirs to concert choirs and male voices – and trained partly in collaboration with the Tyrolean State Conservatory. Johannes Stecher conducts the Wilten Boys’ Choir section of the Tyrolean State Conservatory. He is supported by vocal teachers Britta Ströher, Martin Senfter BA, Johannes Puchleitner and Albert Frey, as well as Vinzenz Arnold and Albert Frey for the junior choirs.
The choir members attend various schools in the greater Innsbruck area and attend choir rehearsals and vocal training one to three times a week, depending on their age. The youngest choir members are four or five years old.
Our repertoire is ever changing and growing, as our choir members – and this is unavoidable with children’s choirs – are quickly changing and moving from soprano or alto to tenor or bass. The choir focusses on early church music, from Renaissance and Baroque to classical music and Romanticism.
On the one hand, we perform music from the 20th century and, on the other hand, we include composers like William Byrd, Heinrich Schütz, Johann Sebastian Bach, Anton Bruckner and Arvo Pärt. However, numerous recordings of our choir in the classical genre are available, with masses and oratorios by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn.
As a Tyrolean choir, we are committed to upholding the tradition of authentic folk songs. Therefore, yodels and folk songs from the Alpine region, as well as religious folk songs – especially during Advent and Christmas – are frequently part of our repertoire.
We also focus on opera and choral-symphonic works. The Wilten Boys’ Choir took part in the following works at the Salzburg, Bregenz and Tyrolean Festivals, at the Tyrolean and Vorarlberg State Theatre and at various opera houses in Italy, most recently at the Scala in Milan: The Magic Flute (Mozart), Carmen (Bizet), Tosca (Puccini), Lohengrin (Wagner), Parsifal (Wagner), Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck), Der Rosenkavalier (Strauss), Werther (Massenet), Perséphone (Stravinsky),The Child and the Spells (Ravel), The Cunning Little Vixen (Janáček), War Requiem (Britten), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Britten), The Turn of the Screw (Britten), Albert Herring (Britten), Cadence Macbeth (Zehm), Turandot (Verdi), Macbeth (Verdi), Meine Bienen (Händl Klaus/Franui), Die tote Stadt (Korngold), Shylock (Kanyar/Fassbaender), Symphony No. 8 (Mahler), Kaddish (Bernstein), etc.
Concerts and Tours
Over the past few years, the choir has continued to and performs mainly in German-speaking regions. However, we have also organised major world-wide concert tours. These have already taken our young singers already to countries like China, Japan, Israel, Romania, Denmark, France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Every year, we take part in the autumn concerts at the Innsbruck Court Church and perform the cantatas, the Christmas Oratorio and the St. Matthew Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach together with the Academia Jacobus Stainer Baroque Orchestra, which is conducted by Johannes Stecher, and organise the popular Advent concert “Weihnacht in Tirol” (Christmas in Tyrol) at the Götzens pilgrimage church (Tyrol). Every two years, we arrange a Mother’s Day concert and a benefit concert for the “Kinder für Kinder” association at the Congress Innsbruck concert hall.
Further information: www.saengerknaben.com