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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 22, 2009

A few tickets remain for the Vienna Boys' Choir concert Feb. 13

Tickets are still available for the concert by the Vienna Boys Choir, presented by the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, in the West High School Auditorium.

One of the most treasured musical ensembles in the world, the Vienna Boys' Choir continues a tradition that dates back to 1498, when Emperor Maximilian I moved his court and his court musicians from Innsbruck to Vienna and stipulated that boys were to be among the musicians. Until 1918, the imperial choir sang exclusively for the court, at mass, at private concerts and functions, and on state occasions, and the boys worked with musicians including Mozart, Gluck and Bruckner.

In 1918, after the breakdown of the Hapsburg Empire, the Austrian government took over the court opera but not the choir boys. The choir owes its survival to the initiative of Josef Schnitt, who became dean of the Imperial Chapel in 1921. Schnitt established the boys' choir as a private institution: The former court choir boys became the Wiener Sängerknaben, and the imperial uniform was replaced by the sailor suit, then the height of boys' fashion.

Funding was not enough to pay for the boys' upkeep, and in 1926 the choir started to give concerts outside of the chapel, performing motets, secular works and -- at the boys' request -- children's operas. Within a year the Wiener Sängerknaben were performing in Berlin, Prague and Zurich. Before the end of the 1920s, they were performing throughout Europe. In the early 1930s, they began touring internationally in the United States, Australia and South America.

Today there are around 100 choristers between the ages of 10 and 14, divided into four touring choirs of equal stature. The four choirs give around 300 concerts and performances each year in front of almost half a million people. Each group spends nine to 11 weeks of the school year on tour, visiting virtually all the European countries, and they are also frequent guests in Asia, Australia and the Americas.

Remaining tickets for the Feb. 13 concert of the Vienna Boys Choir are $40 ($36 for UI students and senior citizens, and $20 for youth). Tickets can be ordered online at

The Hancher box office is open for phone or walk-up business in Suite 107 in the south building of the Lindquist Center, at the corner of Madison and Burlington streets, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. Parking is available in the metered lot by the UI Main Library on Madison Street, or in the Old Capitol Town Center parking ramp at the corner of Clinton and Burlington streets.

From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at

The concert is supported by Leonard and Marlene Hadley; Albert B. and Jean M. Hood; John and Danette Raley, RE/MAX Partners, American Family Insurance; and University of Iowa Community Credit Union through the University of Iowa Foundation. Media support comes from The Gazette.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

OTHER INFORMATION: At the time of this release, about 50 tickets remain available.


STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073 (office), 319-430-1013 (cell), 319-338-4274 (home),