World-famous youth choir brings reputation to Emens

Patrons at Emens Auditorium will have the chance to hear one of the world's oldest and most respected musical groups tonight, as the Vienna Boys Choir's North American tour makes its stop at Ball State.

Created in 1498 by Emperor Maximilian I, the Boys Choir was founded to provide sacred music for the Austrian monarchy.

They reside and are schooled in the Palais Augarten in Vienna, a restored 18th-by Ian Palmer

chief reporter

Patrons at Emens Auditorium will have the chance to hear one of the world's oldest and most respected musical groups tonight, as the Vienna Boys Choir's North American tour makes its stop at Ball State.

Created in 1498 by Emperor Maximilian I, the Boys Choir was founded to provide sacred music for the Austrian monarchy.

They reside and are schooled in the Palais Augarten in Vienna, a restored 18th-century palace. Prospective choir boys must pass an exam at age 9, and perform with the group from age 11 through 14.

Famous figures such as Mozart, Haydn and Schubert have all composed for or have themselves been members of the Vienna Boys Choir.

The organization consists of four ensembles, each numbering from 24 to 26 members.

Often, two of the groups will be performing on world tours, while two remain in Vienna to sing at the Imperial Chapel's Sunday mass and on holy days, as they have done for nearly their entire history.

In addition to its touring and mass performances, the boys' choir has also lent its voices to a number of recordings and films. American films featuring its singing include "Primal Fear," "The 13th Floor," and, most recently, "I.C.E."

Austrian-born conductor Martin Schebesta, who has led the Vienna Boys Choir since 1994, said audience reactions to the tour have been enthusiastic.

"I think it's very well-received; we get standing ovations," he said.

The choir features a variety of styles in its programs; in addition to traditional and classical pieces, they perform international folk songs and modern pop music.

Their current program includes works by Schubert, Mendelssohn, Strauss, Paul Simon and Elvis Presley.

"We try to do some lighter music (as well as classical works)," Schebesta said. "It's fun for the boys."

Tickets for tonight's performance, which begins at 7:30, are $15.century palace. Prospective choir boys must pass an exam at age 9, and perform with the group from age 11 through 14.

Famous figures such as Mozart, Haydn and Schubert have all composed for or have themselves been members of the Vienna Boys Choir.

The organization consists of four ensembles, each numbering from 24 to 26 members.

Often, two of the groups will be performing on world tours, while two remain in Vienna to sing at the Imperial Chapel's Sunday mass and on holy days, as they have done for nearly their entire history.

In addition to its touring and mass performances, the boys' choir has also lent its voices to a number of recordings and films. American films featuring its singing include "Primal Fear," "The 13th Floor," and, most recently, "I.C.E."

Austrian-born conductor Martin Schebesta, who has led the Vienna Boys Choir since 1994, said audience reactions to the tour have been enthusiastic.

"I think it's very well-received; we get standing ovations," he said.

The choir features a variety of styles in its programs; in addition to traditional and classical pieces, they perform international folk songs and modern pop music.

Their current program includes works by Schubert, Mendelssohn, Strauss, Paul Simon and Elvis Presley.

"We try to do some lighter music (as well as classical works)," Schebesta said. "It's fun for the boys."

Tickets for tonight's performance, which begins at 7:30, are $15.


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