“The treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care. Choirs must be diligently promoted, especially in cathedral churches” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the 2nd Vat. Council: Sacrosanctum Concilium 114).
Knowing about the wide-ranging musical tradition of the monastery, which started with Gregorian chant some 900 years ago, several choirs (with over 90 choristers) share a diversified musical heritage there.
The Abbey Choir
The Abbey Choir has a long history of singing at High Mass on holidays throughout the year (Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Whitsuntide, St. Augustine’s Feast Day [28 August], St. Leopold’s Day [15 November], St. Cecilia’s Day [Day of Church Music]) and participates in special occasions of the canonry. Its repertoire consists of the Latin versions of the Ordinary (orchestral mass) and other church music works from the classical and the Romantic period. Since 1990, Helmut Lerperger has been the director of the choir. In addition to his function as choirmaster of the Abbey Choir he is also head of the Babenberg Ensemble, which he initiated, and has been abbey organist ever since 1985.
In 2007, the vocal ensemble Cantorey was founded at Klosterneuburg Abbey. Since that time, the ensemble has made regular musical contributions to the Chapter Mass of the abbey church. Its repertoire ranges from a-cappella works in the polyphonic vocal style of Renaissance music and songs from the late Romantic period to contemporary compositions. In addition, Cantorey focuses especially on Gregorian chant as well as rediscovering the repertoire of the former Boys Choir at the abbey. Augustinian Canon Meinrad Bolz is the founder and director of Cantorey. At his initiative, a soloist ensemble was formed parallel to Cantorey: the Capella Claustroneoburgensis, which also performs together with Cantorey.
Apart from the two abbey choirs, the abbey parish has had its own choir, the Vokalkreis singing group, since 2011. In 2016, Christian Stiegler became its director. Rehearsals are scheduled for specific projects; the dates are given on the abbey parish website. The location for the rehearsals is Pfarrheim “Schiefergarten”. In contrast to the other two choirs, participation in the Vokalkreis requires no previous musical experience. In addition to folksongs from Carinthia and spirituals, simple songs in four voices from a variety of eras are part of the repertoire.
JugendCantorey is the youngest of the abbey’s choirs. Since April 2015, children and youngsters have come together to get to know its classical choir repertoire. They acquire a basic knowledge of music and are instructed in voice technique. This choir is the first step towards the specific fostering of young musicians at the abbey. The initiator and director of this choir, too, is Canon Meinrad Bolz.
All the choirs are happy to welcome new members. Anyone interested may come to rehearsals at any time. Please check with the choir directors for more information.