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