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Saxony's most famous boys' choirs

»Die Prinzen« are considered an exception on Germany's music scene. Their impressive voices and incredible a capella singing have made the five musicians famous across the country. And their musical roots lie in Saxony, where they sang in Leipzig's St Thomas' Choir and the Dresdner Kreuzchor from a young age.

Kreuzchor Dresden

Knabenchor in festlich geschmückter Kirche.
The Dresdner Kreuzchor sings the Kreuzkirche Dresden's Christmas Oratory, accompanied by the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra.  ©  dpa - Bildfunk

Boys' choirs have a very long tradition in Germany and Austria. Saxony's two choirs are among the oldest in the country. The history of the Dresdner Kreuzchor spans well over seven centuries, having originally been founded as a Latin school at the »capella sanctae crucis«, the Dresden Kreuzkirche. Today, the Kruzianer are trained at Dresden's Evangelisches Kreuzgymnasium, where they also take artistic lessons, i.e. choir practice or singing lessons.

Leipzig's St Thomas' Choir

Die Sänger des Thomanerchores stehen aufsteigend nach dem Alter in den Chorreihen.
The 93 members of St Thomas' Choir are aged between 9 and 18.  © dpa - Bildfunk

The history of Leipzig's St Thomas' Choir dates back around 800 years. The »Thomaner« are closely associated with the name Johann Sebastian Bach, who himself directed the choir as a cantor at St Thomas' Church. The choir is today still dedicated to cultivating Bach's vocal works. The boys are taught at St Thomas' School, where, similar to the Kruzianer, they receive intensified artistic education.

Both musical interplay and the sense of community among the singers are important for cohesion within the choir, whether it be the Kruzianer or Thomaner. As such, the boys not only work with one other; they also live together – in the respective school's boarding facility. Closely interweaving work and living spaces helps strengthen the feeling of belonging.

Despite Saxony being home to two of the most famous boys' choirs, there is no trace of any rivalry. The choirs have performed together on a number of occasions, and both are considered fixed artistic institutions in their respective cities. They are among Germany's best known choirs, but also enjoy global success, regularly undertaking concert tours to the USA, Canada or Scandinavia.

The choirs traditionally spend Christmas at home in Saxony, where they thrill people with their performances and emotional songs during this reflective, contemplative time.

Founded as the Kapellknabeninstitut in 1709 following Augustus the Strong's conversion to Catholicism, the Dresdner Kapellknaben are today the boys' choir of the cathedral (formerly the Hofkirche), with some 100 members. The boys primarily sing spiritual music from all eras during church services and concerts, and their tours have taken them across Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy, France, Poland, the Netherlands, the USA and Cuba.

Advent carols with the Dresdner Kapellknaben at the Saxon State Chancellery

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