Austrian government supports Vienna Boys Choir to help it out of financial difficulties


BERLIN (AP) — The Austrian government said Saturday that it is giving the country’s centuries-old Vienna Boys Choir 800,000 euros ($884,000) to help it out of severe financial difficulties.

“It goes without saying that we will rescue them from their financial plight,” Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said.

“We are proud of this world-famous choir, which has existed for more than 500 years and is part of the Austrian identity, and we will do everything we can to secure its future,” he added in a written statement.

The choirboys should be able to “go into the coming year without existential worries,” the chancellor added.

The choir had been struggling with rising costs due to inflation and a lack of income after many of its concerts were canceled during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Vienna Boys Choir’s history dates back to 1498. At that time, the future Emperor Maximilian I moved his court and court music from various residences to Vienna and laid the foundations for the Vienna Court Music Chapel and the Vienna Boys Choir.

The approximately 100 singers between the ages of 9 and 14 are divided into four choirs that perform all over the world. Since 2004, there has also been the Vienna Girls Choir, which performs separately.

The president of the choir, Erich Arthold, expressed his gratitude for the quick financial aid provided by the government.

“It’s a cushion that will see us through to the end of the season” in August, he told Austrian news agency APA. He had previously told daily Kronen Zeitung newspaper that the boys’ choir would need 800,000 euros to keep going.

The Austrian chancellor said that the government and the choir would work together in coming months “to find a sustainable solution that will ensure the long-term financing of the Vienna Boys Choir and the Vienna Girls Choir.”

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