Celebrate the rich history of the home where The Philadelphia Orchestra first made its sound famous—the glorious “Grand Old Lady of Locust Street.”
What do Mozart, Bruckner, and Schubert have in common in addition to being renowned composers? They were all choir boys in the Viennese Court. The Vienna Boys Choir has attracted many great musicians since 1296 and have been delighting listeners for centuries since.
Today, the Vienna Boys Choir consists of 100 boys between the ages of 10 and 14. They make up four touring choirs—Bruckner, Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert. Altogether, the choirs give about 300 concerts each year across five continents, performing for nearly a half million spectators. Their repertoire includes everything from medieval to contemporary music, as well as the choir’s own arrangements of Viennese music.
The concert they are bringing to Philadelphia on December 15, Christmas in Vienna, showcases these gifted young musicians in an extraordinary program featuring Austrian folk songs, classical masterpieces, popular songs, and, of course, holiday favorites. We chatted with a few of the boys to find out what they enjoy most about touring and what they hope to do in Philadelphia.
What is your favorite part about touring with the Vienna Boys Choir?
Fabian, 13: I love the traveling itself. We get to see a lot. And I like the singing.
Jin-wook, 13: Oh yes, the many different countries, and cultures. People are always very nice!
Gabriel, 10: This is my first tour! There is no school, and we have been on the road since October. It is a real adventure.
What is your favorite piece or who is your favorite composer?
Fabian: I like to listen to American pop music. But my favorite composer is probably Mozart. He has the most intricate melodies.
Jin-wook: Hard to say. I like lots of different kinds of music. I do listen to quite a lot of pop music, and I think Marshmello is fun.
What is your favorite musical genre to perform?
Fabian: It’s the mix that I like, the variety. Apart from singing, I play the piano, the guitar, and sometimes a Mongolian horsehead fiddle. That’s just for fun. I am not very good at it.
Jin-wook: To sing, anything with a lot of rhythm or with a soulful melody. One of my favorites has to be Schubert's “Ave Maria,” possibly because it was my very first solo, in Singapore.
Gabriel: I like everything!
What do you hope to see while visiting Philadelphia?
Fabian: The Liberty Bell and some historical landmarks. Maybe the Betsy Ross House.
Jin-wook: There is a farmers’ market. And Benjamin Franklin's Museum.
Gabriel: I would like to eat a Philly cheesesteak. I think our tutors have something planned for us. We have a free day in Philadelphia!
Photo by Lukas Beck