A Cultural World Heritage

The Boys’ Choir School as a potential part of UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Choral music is flourishing all over the world – and in countless variations

The classical European choir tradition has the special background that it was the mixed boys and men’s choirs that originally performed the compositions by the greatest composers of the time – from the medieval unison song to the Renaissance polyphony and the great symphonic choral works by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Schubert…

The prerequisite for the work of the boys’ choirs is the choir schools – a living practice that has brought the world music from Palestrina and Mozart to Britten, Nielsen and Bernstein for 1500 years.
A unique performaning practice and a sound world of well-educated boys created in a special educational environment and in the meeting with adult singers and musicians.

The Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir is a part of this practice.
The choir boys at Our Lady Church in Copenhagen were associated with Christian IV’s Kantori (chorus).
Inspired by a visit by Bach’s Thomaner Chor almost 100 years ago, The Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir gained its present identity with a municipal-run singing school as its home – and with the clear charter to perform the choral music composed for boys’ and men’s voices; exactly as it is intended.

We are taking good care of the amazing buildings that have always accommodated this music.
Care must also be taken in the music, the choir schools and the practices that have created the musical life behind the beautiful facades for centuries.

In our time there is a great interest in how music was originally performed: How was the “authentic” sound?

Here, the choir schools offer a solid tradition of keeping this particular culture of sound straight.

Practitioners of the classical boys’ and men’s choral tradition gathered at a meeting in Paris this year to disseminate the soundscape that so many of the greatest music history had in mind when composing:

  • Cappella Musicale Pontificia Sistina
  • Choir of New College Oxford
  • Choir of King’s College Cambridge
  • Choir of Westminster Cathedral
  • Choir of Westminster Abbey
  • Thomanerchor Leipzig
  • Dresdner Kreuzchor
  • Wiener Sängerknaben
  • La Maitrise de Colmar
  • Musique Sacrée a Notre Dame de Paris
  • Escolanía de Montserrat
  • Glinka Choral College St. Petersburg
  • Københavns Drengekor

The Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir is chairing this work.

Thursday, September 26 at 17:30 hosted a meeting at Sankt Annæ Gymnasium about this work: Everyone who is a part of this practice already – young or old – but also everyone who sees the importance of this work was invited. From the city and the country-side, from the music scene and more broadly from the cultural scene and the surrounding community, and more than 600 participated.
>> Read about the meeting here

In all the participating countries, the goal is to be included on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
But most importantly, the goal is to promote boys to participate in the rich choral life around the world in collaboration with adult professional singers and musicians.

Ebbe Munk
Artistic director and chief conductor at Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir,
Chairman of the working group “The Boys’ Choir School”.


Read about the new project’s background and goal:
THE BOYS’ CHOIR SCHOOL as a potential part of UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Read the endorsements from a number of the participating choirs and institutions:

Københavns Drengekor: About the classical boys’ choir schools as initiator of European choir music
Thomanerchor Leipzig 1:2 Letter
Thomanerchor Leipzig 2:2 – Endorsement – Unterstützungserklärung
Cappella Musicale Pontificia Sistina Endorsement Intangible Cultural Heritage
Choir of New College Oxford Endorsement Intangible Cultural Heritage: THE BOYCHOIR TRADITION in Europe and further afield.
La Maitrise de Colmar: Les maîtrises de garçons comme patrimoine immatériel de l’humanité
Musique Sacrée a Notre Dame de Paris: Patrimoine des écoles maîtrisiennes – The Heritage of Choir Schools
Escolanía de Montserrat: Endorsement, Intangible Cultural Heritage
Glinka Academy – St Petersburg (Russia): Endorsement; Intangible Cultural Heritage


KDK Notre Dame

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    26 September 2019 more than 600 choir singers, representatives from Danish and international music society, politicians, parents and others participated in a large UNESCO meeting at Sankt Annæ Gymnasium.
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  • HRH The Crown Prince new patron of Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir
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    It is a message forward with great joy and gratitude.
  • New CD Sicut Cervus – Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli, Sven-David Sandström: Sicut Cervus
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  • TV recording of Carmina Burana concert
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    The recording is from the first of three concerts in December 2018.
  • CRCC concert tour Europe 2018
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  • Opéra Comique Paris, March 2018
    Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir participated on March 27 at a large concert in a completely full opera house: 1200 invited guests experienced Accentus, Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir, Maîtrise popular de l'Opéra Comique, Finoreille de l'Opéra de Lille and Maîtrise de Toulouse. All in a beautiful evening organized by Fondation Bettencourt Schueller.
  • In the memory of His Royal Highness Prince Henrik
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  • Københavns Drengekor
    Sat 31.03.2018 / kl. 19:00
    Vor Frue Kirke, The Cathedral of Copenhagen
    Påskevesper i Københavns Domkirke lørdag d. 31. marts
  • CRCC Concert Tour 2017: New York and US Virgin Islands
    Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir on Tour 2017: Make A Joyful Noise - A Choral salute to the USVI Centennial.
    New York and the US Virgin Islands, formerly known as "De Vestindiske Øer".