The start of Wiener Singverein goes back the year of the foundation of the Society of the Music Friends in the year 1812, in Vienna. An ‘Institute for Choir Exercise’ was created already at that time, which was led by the well-known kapellmeister Antonio Salieri. The official establishment of the Wiener Singverein as branch society of the Society of the Music Friends took place in 1858. The joy and love in common making music connect them and lead to artistically outstanding performances. With 180 active members the Wiener Singverein is at present the largest concert choir of Vienna.
Many choir and choir orchestra works were unfolded by Wiener Singverein. Examples of it are Johannes Brahms’ Deutsche Requiem, Bruckner’s Te Deum and Gustav Mahler’s Symphonie No. 8. Particularly worth mentioning is also the premiere of the oratorio Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln by Franz Schmidt, which enjoys at present again of large popularity. In the beginning of the 20th century Wiener Singverein under Franz Schalk presented to the astonished public for the first time the great Bach’s oratorios in unabridged performances.
Wiener Singverein can proudly look back on their musical co-operation with almost all the great conductors of the 19th and 20th centuries. The most important names of the past: J. Brahms, Franz Schalk, William Furtwängler, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Karl Böhm and Leonard Bernstein. Herbert of Karajan shaped Wiener Singverein during the years 1947 to 1989 as a director of concerts of the Society of the Music Friends. He led the Wiener Singverein in more than 250 concerts and made with them records. CD and video recordings with Philharmonia Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and Wiener Philharmoniker, brought them world fame.
Wiener Singverein appered also with renowned conductors, such as Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Vladimir Fedosejev, Mariss Jansons, Seiji Ozawa, Georges Pretre and Franz Welser-Möst. The tradition of the great conductors is continued into the present.
Numerous national and international tours acknowledge the outstanding fame of the Wiener Singverein and give additional stimulus for the likewise ambitious professional work of the choir. Among the high points of its intensive travel activity rank tours to Australia, Japan and the USA, as well as concerts in Israel, Paris, London, Madrid, Berlin and Athens. Above all, however, was a performance of the Mozart’s Coronation Mass for Pope Johannes Paul II in the St. Peter Cathedral under the direction of Herbert of Karajan.
These artistic highs speed are the consistent sample work of as formed directors of Wiener Singverein as Johannes Brahms, Ferdinand Grossmann, to Reinhold Schmid and Helmuth Froschauer. Johannes Pronz leads Wiener Singverein since 1991. Under his guidance the choir changed itself to a flexible ensemble, which masters both Baroque works in small line-ups, and large vocal works of the Classical period, Romantic and Modern eras with bravoura. The high artistic level and the joy in the making of live music together keep their constant advancement.