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Hong Kong to hear "voices from heaven"

The world renowned Vienna Boys' Choir will perform under the baton of Raoul Gehringer in Hong Kong next month.

Featuring the works of Mozart, Schubert, Strauss and Schumann, as well as some contemporary and light music, the concert will take place at 8pm on Wednesday, October 25, at the Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

The Vienna Boys' Choir was officially founded in 1498, when Emperor Maximilian I moved his court and his court musicians from Innsbruck to Vienna.

In 1918, after the disintegration of the Habsburg empire, the Austrian government took over the court opera (ie, the opera, its orchestra and the adult singers), but not the choir boys. The Vienna Boys' Choir owed their existence 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 Vienna Boys' Choir, and the imperial uniform was replaced by the sailor suit, which was 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 the chapel, performing motets, secular works, and, at the boys' request, children's operas.

Today there are around 100 choristers between the age of 10 and 14, divided into four touring choirs giving around 300 concerts and performances each year in front of almost half a million people. They visit most European countries, and are frequent guests in Asia, Australia and the Americas.

Together with members of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Chorus, the Vienna Boys' Choir maintains the tradition of the imperial musicians: as Hofmusikkapelle they provide the music for the Sunday Mass in Vienna's Imperial Chapel, as they have done since 1498.

Concert by Vienna Boys' Choir is presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

Tickets priced at $300, $220, $160 and $100 will be available tomorrow (September 20) onwards at URBTIX outlets, while senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients may have 50% off (limited quotas for CSSA recipients on a first-come, first-served basis). A 10% discount applies to Friends of LCSD performing venues.

For enquiries about the programmes, call 2268 7321 or visit . Ticketing enquiries and reservations can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at .

Ends/Tuesday, September 19, 2006

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