The choir | Willkommen beim Amerlingchor

The choir

The Amerlingchor was founded in autumn 1991, at the special request of Hofrat Dr. Höglinger, who at the time was the headmaster of the Amerlinggymnasium (6th district, Vienna). The role of musical director was assumed by an ambitious music teacher , who was the choir’s choirmaster until 2009. Back then, the choir consisted of active and former pupils as well as some teachers. Even today, some of the former pupils are still members of the Amerlingchor.

The first concert took place in December 1991 in the Amerlinggymnasium's gym on the anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's death. The choir sang three easy pieces of this composer. Following this, the choir performed on end of term celebrations, on the school's open day and in church services. The Amerlingchor moreover organised annual Advent's concerts in the Salvatorsaal in the parish hall of Mariahilf.

Over the course of the first five years, the Amerlingchor gradually built up a small repertoire, which later made it possible to give a concert with a purely choral programme. As a preparation for this concert, a "choir week" in Podersdorf (Burgenland) was organised. Up until today, these rehearsal weeks are carried out. The first choir concert eventually took place on the 29th of October 1997 in the Salvatorsaal, on the occasion of the 200th birthday of Franz Schubert.

A next step was then taken the following year, in March 1998, when the Amerlingchor recorded its first CD in a recording studio. It was in that year that the increasing number of members enabled the formation of two separate choir groups, namely a choir for lower secondary (choirmaster: Mag. Thomas Raab) and a choir for upper secondary which included many former pupils. Already in Advent, a joined concert of these two choir groups was organised.

To the great delight of the choir, the Amerlinggymnasium was appointed the third place in the music section in a school ranking of the magazine "News" in January 1998. The article specifically mentioned the Amerlingchor's CD.

In 1998, pieces for choir and orchestra were first rehearsed during a choir week. This lead to the choir's first concert in the church Mariahilf (6th district), where Antonio Vivaldi's "Gloria" as well as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Krönungsmesse" were performed.

The traditional choir week became a firmly established event and was held in Annaberg (Lower Austria) in 2000. Up until spring 2006, this location served as a yearly destination for rehearsal weeks. Furthermore, a long desired project was finally realised: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Requiem", which was performed in November 2000 in a concert in the church Mariahilf.

On the occasion of the choir's ten-year-anniversary, a concert with a purely choral programme was planned, in which one of Johann Sebastian Bach's more comprehensive pieces of music was performed. The choir days in 2001 and 2002 were hence used to rehearse Bach's motet "Jesu, meine Freude", as well as short pieces from Heinrich Schütz, Antonio Vivaldi and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to be performed in the anniversary concert in the church Mariahilf.

After an emphasis on the performance of sacred music in previous years, a concert with exclusively secular pieces was prepared in 2004. In November 2004, this programme with works from the Renaissance to the Romantic period was then performed in the beautiful Palais Eschenbach. In the following year, the Amerlingchor gave a festive Christmas concert on the magnificent premises of the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna in addition to the traditional Advent's concert in the Salvatorsaal on the 19th of December 2005.

As a contribution to the "Mozartjahr" in 2006, the Amerlingchor held three concerts: in May, an evening with a collection of cheerful pieces of the composer was organised, and in autumn, Mozart's "Requiem" was performed twice that years already for the second time in the history of the choir. The first concert was given in the church Mariahilf, and a week later, at the hour of Mozart's death on December the 5th, the second concert took place in the famous St. Stephen's Cathedral.

After having been the musical director of the Amerlingchor for eighteen years, the music teacher decided to step down from that role in summer 2008. The choir thus had to reorganise and therefore held a casting to find a new choirmaster. Each candidate rehearsed with the choir for just under an hour, after which all members voted for their favourite candidate in a democratic vote. From October 2009 until spring 2014, Giuseppe Montesano was the musical director of the Amerlingchor.

With Giuseppe Montesano as a choirmaster, rehearsals became much more intense from the beginning of the year 2010. Although the time for preparation was limited, the choir already gave a joined Advent’s concert with the Incanto Vocale and the Vet Med Chor after only a few weeks. At the very beginning of the year 2010, a new and versatile repertoire was prepared. The fans of the Amerlingchor were granted a brief preview of this programme in March, when the choir contributed to a concert conducted by Giuseppe Montesano in St. Peter’s Church, by performing three pieces of W.A. Mozart together with the Vet Med Chor and the strings from the Freies Studentenorchester Wien.

These same three pieces were then presented once more (with the same line-up) in a joined spring concert of the Amerlingchor and the Vet Med Chor in the church Mariahilf. Both choirs furthermore performed excerpts of their a cappella repertoires.

In June, the Amerlingchor organised a concert with the title „A tu lado“ to conclude the season, the programme of which consisted wholly of the a cappella pieces prepared that year.

In autumn 2010, the choir’s as yet most productive period started. Due to the success of the previous year and the commitment of the new choirmaster, the number of members doubled and more demanding projects could be approached. After the traditional Christmas concert, the new pieces from the a cappella repertoire were performed in the spring concert “Hamba Lulu” in April 2011.

At the end of May, the Amerlingchor  travelled abroad for the first time. The choir paid visit to the acquainted choir of the musicology department of the University of Athens. Together, W.A. Mozart’s requiem was performed with Nikos Maliaras as a choirmaster and conductor. Moreover, an a cappella concert was given, in which both choirs presented their individual repertoires and also sang some pieces together.

Two weeks later the Amerlingchor furthermore performed Mozart’s requiem twice in Vienna in a joined concert with the Vet Med Chor and orchestral accompaniment of the Akademischer Orchesterverein Wien. These two concerts took place in the Johann Nepomuk church and in the Aula der Wissenschaften, the solo parts being performed by Judith Halász (Soprano), Magdalena Anna Hofmann (Alto), Alexander Kaimbacher (Tenor) and Alexander Puhrer (Bass). The two sold-out concerts were the most successful ones in the history of the Amerlingchor.

At the beginning of the 20th season, in autumn 2011, the Amerlingchor left Vienna in order to give a concert in other parts of Austria for the first time. It was at the end of November that the choir participated in the international “Adventsingen” in Stift Melk with a short programme. Still, the traditional winter’s concert was not to be omitted and took place in St. Ulrich’s Church. Additionally, a small ensemble of the choir presented four Christmas carols at the Aula der Wissenschaften on the occasion of the Science Brunch with the topic “Christmas and feasts of other religions”. After that, rehearsals for the new a cappella repertoire began. On a choir journey to Italy, this programme could be tested in two concerts in Turin and Milan before being presented in the grand finale of the season: the anniversary concert in the Berio-Saal at the Wiener Konzerthaus in June 2012.

The choir kicked off its third decade in December 2012 with the baroque concert "Sacred Music for Queen Mary" at the Aula der Wissenschaften, presenting works by Purcell, Bennet and Byrd. May 2013 saw the choir travelling to Ireland to take part in the Cork International Choral Festival. In December, Voci Nuove from Ireland joined the choir in the concert "Wie der Hirsch schreit", presenting works by Mendelssohn, Mozart and others. Participating in Slovakia Cantat in Bratislava in early 2014, the Amerlingchor won a Silver Band.

In the autumn of 2014, the choir chose Julia Czepiel as its new artistic director.