The Göttingen Boys’ Choir, founded in 1962, is a mixed choir of boys and young men (SATB). In the main choir, about 60 singers aged from 9 to 25 years sing sacred and secular works from all periods of music history.
The great school of a cappella music forms the basis of the repertoire. In addition to great choral symphonic works such as Bach’s Christmas Oratorio or Handel’s Messiah, there is also contemporary music such as Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and adaptations of popular songs and pop songs. The Göttingen Boys’ Choir is particularly attached to the musical legacy of its founder Franz Herzog. Since 2003 the choir has been directed by Michael Krause.
Structure of the Choir
Although the choristers do not live in a boarding school like their famous colleagues in Leipzig, Regensburg or Dresden and therefore do not rehearse every day, the high musical demands are reflected in regular and frequent rehearsals. The main choir rehearses two to three times a week, including one full Saturday per month. There is also a week of rehearsals every summer and special rehearsals for concerts and recordings.
To encourage the next generation of choristers, there is already an offer for preschool boys. This is followed by groups at elementary schools for boys aged from 5 to 7 years. Singers aged from 7 to 9 years who have already participated in these programmes can continue to sing in the two pre-choirs, which are also open to newcomers. These pre-choirs prepare young singers for the main choir by offering them individual singing lessons as well as the first introductions to music theory.
Concert tours and choral exchange
The concert tours are a highlight in the choir’s annual programme. Concert tours have taken the Göttingen Boys’ Choir throughout Germany, Poland, France, the USA, Switzerland, Great Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Belgium, South Africa and Japan (see a list of tours in German here). Outstanding concerts such as those in the Kreuzkirche in Dresden, in Central Parish Durban in South Africa, in the German Embassy in Tokyo, or in Nagarekawa Kyokai Hiroshima, bear witness to the choir’s role as a cultural ambassador for Göttingen.
The Göttingen Boys’ Choir places great emphasis on choral exchange both on tour and in normal choral life. The choir has long-standing relationships with boys’ choirs and mixed youth choirs in Germany and abroad, for example with the Cantores Minores from Helsinki or the Poznan Nightingales (see a list of cooperations in German here). The choir regularly participates in choral festivals such as the Eurotreff in Wolfenbüttel.
On the occasion of its 60th anniversary in 2022, the Göttingen Boys’ Choir has invited the Maîtrise de la Sainte-Croix de Neuilly (Paris, France), the Singknaben der St. Ursen-Kathedrale (Solothurn, Switzerland), den Chorus Cathedralis Iuniorum (Turku, Finnland) and the Stuttgarter Hymnus-Chorknaben for an international boys’ choir festival. The festival will take place in and around Göttingen from 30 September to 3 October.
The Göttingen Boys’ Choir has made numerous recordings, CDs and radio and television broadcasts which testify to the high musical standard of the choir. In the summer of 2021, despite the difficult conditions of the pandemic, a film production „Dancing Messiah“ took place as part of the Göttingen Handel Festival in cooperation with the Ballet Group Art la Danse Göttingen, a regional school choir and the orchestra of the International Handel Festival Göttingen. The Christmas Concert 2021 was broadcast live on YouTube.
The Göttingen Boys’ Choir is independently operated by a non-profit association (Göttinger Knabenchor e. V.) and supported by the following institutions: