The Soloists of the Tölzer Knabenchor: The chamber chorus of the Tölzer Knabenchor is made up of some 15 soloists whose special talents stood out in the choir.
For more than five decades they have sung in all the world’s opera houses and concert halls, including Paris, Rome, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Madrid, Milan, Vienna, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, São Paulo, Mexico City, Shanghai and Tokyo. They also make regular guest appearances at such major festivals as Salzburg, Bayreuth, Vienna, Aix-en-Provence, Orange, Avanches, Spoleto and Edinburgh.
Of their many CD recordings, special mention should be made of their complete recording of the solo and choral parts in J. S. Bach’s Cantatas under Nikolaus Harnoncourt (nominated for a Grammy in 1982), the St. Matthew Passion under Gustav Leonhardt, Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony under Leonard Bernstein, the complete recording of Heinrich Schütz’s Kleine Geistliche Konzerte and Geistliche Chormusik under Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden and their recording of Orlando di Lasso’s Penitential Psalms, which won the Diapason d’Or and Echo Classic Award.
Their opera and concert repertoire includes Amore from Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Il ritorno d’Ulisse, L’incoronazione di Poppea, the Three Boys from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, Apollo, Hyazinth, Melia and Zephyrus from Mozart’s Apollo et Hyazinthus, the Waldvogel from Richard Wagner’s Siegfried, the Shepherd Boy from Tannhäuser, Yniold from Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Amore from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Miles from Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw, 18 solo boys’ voices from Jörg Widmann’s Das Gesicht im Spiegel and Young Joseph from Hans Zender’s Chief Joseph, as well as Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, Gustav Mahler’s Das klagende Lied and Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
The Tölzer Knabenchor was founded in 1956 by the conductor and voice teacher Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006. Since 1971 it has also rehearsed in Munich, where more than 200 boys are instructed at four levels of proficiency by Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, the artistic director Ralf Ludewig and seven other voice teachers; later they are supervised in their own men’s chorus.
The foundation of their work is a joy in singing coupled with the boys’ own creativity, spontaneity and self-discipline. After completing their training, they give up to 250 concerts or opera performances all over the world every year with music from the Middle Ages to the present day. One special point of focus is the church music of the Baroque and classical eras.
The Soloists of the Tölzer Knabenchor have achieved fame as the Three Boys in Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, which they have recorded 12 times on CD. The choir makes guest appearances in Japan, China, Israel, the United States and almost every country of Europe. They have worked with conductors of the stature of Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Celibidache, John Eliot Gardiner, Maris Jansons, Herbert von Karajan, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Kent Nagano, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Georg Solti and Marcello Viotti.
They have received many awards for their recordings, including special prizes for Orff Schulwerk, the German Record Critics’ Prize for Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (1973), the French Record Prize for Mozart’s opera Apollo et Hyacinthus, the French Diapason d’Or and an Echo Classic Award from the German Phono Academy in Berlin for Orlando di Lasso’s Penitential Psalms (2003).
The Tölzer Knabenchor is supported by the State of Bavaria, the District of Upper Bavaria, the City of Bad Tölz and the Bayerische Volksstiftung. Since 2010 they have been Ambassadors of SOS Children’s Villages.