Earlier today, we attended this year's concert of one of the oldest and most renowned musical institutions in the world, the VIENNA BOYS' CHOIR at the Stern Auditorium of CARNEGIE HALL. The concert has become a staple on New York's festive calendar along with Radio City's Christmas Spectacular and Handel's Messiah. The concert was conducted by NIKOLAUS MULLER while GERALD WIRTH was artistic director. The programme included traditional sacred music and folk songs from around the world, and a selection of popular Christmas carols like Hark the Herald Angels Sing, The First Nowell, White Christmas, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, and Jingle Bell Rock. One of my favorites was ECHO by ORLANDO DI LASSO. The choir ended the concert with their famous rendition of SILENT NIGHT.
From Carnegie Hall and Vienna Boy's Choir websites:
The Vienna Boys' Choir was founded by Imperial decree of Hapsburg Emperor Maximilian I in 1498 to fulfil his wish to have choristers in the Imperial Chapel. Such luminaries as Mozart and Gluck composed music for the Chapel choirboys, Franz Schubert sang in the choir from 1808-1813 and Anton Bruckner became the organist in 1867.
Today, those who wish to join the choir attend a special preparatory school and must pass an exam when they are nine years old. While in the choir, the boys range in age from ten to 14 and number about 24 while on tour. They have made more than 20 Carnegie Hall appearances since 1937 and have performed annual holiday concerts since 1990.
Built with money mostly donated by the Scottish-born industrialist Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Hall opened in 1891, when a visiting Russian pianist/composer called Peter Ilyich Tchaikovksy was the guest of honour. Originally called Music Hall, it was renamed after Carnegie in 1898 and has hosted the world's top artists and orchestras for over 100 years.
The main hall - seating 2800 -is now called the Isaac Stern Auditorium, and there are two smaller venues: the Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall, seating up to 644 (which reopened in September 2003, after being a theatre, then a cinema for most of the building's history) and the Joan and Sanford L Weill Recital Hall, seating 268.
Until 1962 it was also home to the annual New York Philharmonic Orchestra season (before Avery Fisher Hall in the Lincoln Center opened). Now it hosts a number of series by home-based ensembles such as the American Composers Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, as well as an unbelievable host of visiting artists and ensembles.
Carnegie Hall is located at 881 Seventh Avenue at 57th Street.