The Choir School of The Paris Boys Choir – also known in France as La Maîtrise de Sainte-Croix de Neuilly – is, since its creation in 1956 by Louis Prudhomme, the choir school of a wider educational institution: Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix, a reputed Parisian private school. It brings together elementary and junior high school boys wishing to practice choral singing intensively and obtain a top flight musical education. The Choir School was preceded, in the founding years of Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix in the early 20th Century, by a more loosely structured choir: La Schola.
The Paris Boys Choir, often considered by major critics as one of France’s most significant and active boys choirs, is currently headed by Conductor & Music Director Francois Polgár, former Choir School student, former Director of the Paris National Opera Chorus (Chœur de l’Opéra National de Paris) and of the French National Radio Choruses (Chœurs et Maîtrise de Radio-France), and “Victoire de la Musique” (France’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards) recipient.
The Paris Boys Choir provides music services to Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix’s religious ceremonies and official functions, often participates in major music festivals and regularly performs major works with orchestra, such as Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah or Haydn’s Creation. It also performs a cappella a repertoire of pieces, both sacred and profane. The Choir’s presence in numerous major European and international festivals (Oxford & Bath in Great Britain, Wengen in Switzerland, Avigon & Aix-en-Provence in France, Valencia in Spain, Woodstock Mozart Festival in the U.S., Châteauguay in Canada, etc.) presently makes it one of France’s most outstanding and active choral ensembles. The Paris Boys Choir seeks to emphasize the distinctiveness of its elite roster exclusively composed of young male choristers and which confers on the ensemble an exceptional vocal color, unique within the French musical landscape.
During the School Season, the Choir’s regularly performs in some of Paris’s major churches (Saint-Sulpice, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Saint-Louis-en-l’Île, Saint-Eustache, etc.) as well as leading concert halls (Opéra Comique, Olympia, Salle Pleyel, Palais des Congrès, Palais Omnisport de Paris-Bercy, etc.).
During Pope Benedict XVI’s 2008 France tour, The Paris Boys Choir had a central role at the Pope’s public, outdoor mass on the Esplanade des Invalides in Paris, and François Polgàr was chosen to conduct the 2,500 chorister-strong combined choir gathered for the event. The Choir was also chosen to record the French version of the anthem for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. In November 2011, the Choir gave a concert with the Principal Organist of the Windsor Royal Chapel.
Every summer, The Paris Boys Choir goes on tour. It has traveled throughout France, and performed in Great Britain, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Canada, the U.S., throughout Eastern Europe, Russia, etc. For the 2013 Summer Season, the Choir was on tour in South Korea, for its first official appearance in Asia. In July 2016 the Paris Boys Choir will be on tour in China.
The Choir’s discography is edited by Sony Classical France and exhibits a concern for the spiritual elevation of listeners as well as that of the choristers themselves. Among other works, they have recorded Fauré’s Requiem in its original 1893 version, a repertoire of motets dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, a cappella motets and French Christmas carols.
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