Basic information

The boys choir "Pueri gaudentes" has its home at the Elementary Music School in Prague 7 and unites about 200 singers, both children and ”nearly grown-ups”, in four departments. It is one of four boys choirs existing in the Czech Republic. The choirmaster has been Zdena Součková since the establishment of the choir in 1990.

The name "Pueri gaudentes" is derived from the basic name of the choir "Radost" ("Joy"). In translation it means Joyous Boys. The members of the choir sing with joy and they want to bring joy in their singing to their listeners.

The choir consists of four departments. The concert department comprises fifty 11-14 year old boys and thirty 15-19 year old young men. One hundred and ten 7 - 12 year old boys sing in three preparatory departments. These preparatory departments aim at teaching the boys the basics of singing and music theory and to prepare them for singing in the concert department. The boys come to rehearsals from all over Prague, some even from the vicinity of Prague. Foto: koncert s Evou Kriz-Lifkovou v Klatovech, srpen 1998

According to the tradition even the boys with breaking voices remain in the choir, although they cannot sing at concerts and their singing abilities are limited for some time. At this critical stage it is very important that the boys keep in touch with the choir and remain its part, influenced by its cultural environment. They attend rehearsals, listen, train and improve their professional knowledge. After their voices have changed, they become legitimate members of the men’s part of the choir. Almost all the young men in the choir have been members of its boys' departments.

The boys participate in many interesting activities including tours abroad. While traveling abroad, in Europe as well as overseas, the boys want to present their singing at the concerts as well as deepen the friendship and cultural ties with their hosts and get to know as much as possible of the host country's natural beauties, places of interest and culture.

"Pueri gaudentes" have also participated in all performances of the opera Carmen in the State Opera in Prague. This cooperation has been later extended to other operas - Turandot, Boris Godunov, Bubu from Montparnass and The Czech Christmas Mass. The members of the choir also perform with leading Czech singers and music ensembles. The boys also record various programmes for radio and television. State Opera House in Prague: G. Bizet: CarmenThe choir cooperates with the composers Pavel Jurkovič and Emil Hradecký, who dedicated several of their music compositions to the choir.

The repertoire of the choir is very varied. It does not limit itself to only certain kind of music. It comprises both pieces only for boys' voices (soprano and alto) and pieces for for men’s choir (tenor and bass) and mixed choir repertoire. The choirmaster aims at acquainting the boys with compositions of various composers, music periods and styles. They are religious and secular pieces, folk songs of many nations in different arrangements, all kinds of choral music from Gregorian chant through medieval songs and polyphony to the music of contemporary composers. Most members of the choir play music instruments and they provide their own instrumental accompaniment.

Although "Pueri gaudentes" are today considered the best boys' choir in Prague, its choirmaster as well as its members incessantly strive to improve their singing performance in ever more difficult repertoire.

History

The chorus "Pueri gaudentes" was set up in September 1990 by its choirmaster Zdena Součková in response to the growing interest of both boys and their parents in choir singing. Thanks to everybody's concern, good will and perseverance, the initial obstacles, doubts and mistrust were overcome. Mainly, the tenacity and unyielding work of the conductor Zdena Součková proved that the idea of the choir was meaningful and legitimate. Eight years of hard work bore its fruit. The choir improved its quality and demonstrated it at numerous concerts in the Czech Republic and also on concert tours abroad in Italy, Austria, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Japan, Greece and Spain.

Its international debut took place in 1993. The destination of the first tour was Sicily. The choir got to know typical Italian temperament at many of its concerts. This temperament even enhanced the surprising success of the individual performances. Two years later the choir took part in the first international competition in its history. The boys got to the semi-finals at the children choir festival in February 1995 in Nantes. A year later "Pueri guadentes" brought home their first award. They won the first prize in Neerpelt (May 1996, Belgium) in the independent category of boys choirs. The Christmas tour to the Netherlands closed their successful year. In July 1997 the choir participated in another competition of boys choirs. This time it was in Lecca (Italy). Even then the chorus did not leave without a prize, it took the second place in the competition. In July 1998 "Pueri guadentes" undertook a two week tour to Norway and Sweden. The year 1999 meant the biggest challenge for the chorus - a tour to Japan. But the boys managed even this difficult task. After seventeen days thirty-five members of the chorus came home victorious, crowned with many successes. In July 2000 the choir went on tour to Greece. The boys brought silver medal from the international competition of choir singing from Preveza. The successful year was concluded by Christmas tour to Spain. Tours abroad have not finished with that, however. In 2001 Pueri Gaudentes took part in an international festival in Poznan, Poland, and in 2002 they toured in Spain, Austria and Italy. For 2003 they prepared a special tour, “a tour of good will II“ to Japan. The Pueri men’s choir succeeded at the “Prague days of Choir singing” – they got the first prize. In 2004 Pueri Gaudentes set out to the “Northern tour” visiting Germany, Poland, Sweden, Finland Esthonia, Latvia and Lithuania. And – last but not least – the men’s choir won silver at the international competition in German Lindenholzhausen.

"Pueri gaudentes" also cooperate on recording CDs.. They produced their first profile CD in spring 1996. In 1997 they cooperated on publishing a CD called "Spirituals and Gospels" together with the mezzo-soprano singer Eva Kriz-Lifková. In 1998 they recorded a CD dedicated to G. Fauré (Requiem, Pavana) together with the Pardubice Chamber Philharmonic and the conductor Bostock Douglas. In 1999 they offered their listeners Christmas CD "Sem,sem,sem pastýři" ("Here, Here, Here Shepherds"). The CD "10 Years of Pueri gaudentes" was part of the celebrations of the choir’s 10th anniversary. In 2002 the choir cooperated in recording Pohádky z rozkvetlé louky a stříbrné tůňky (Fairy Tales from the Meadow of Flowers and the Silver Pool) with the Czech actors T.MedvState Opera House Prague: Czech Christmas Massecká and P.Soukup. The last CD published so far is Zkouška na koncert (Concert Rehearsal) recorded in 2003. Besides all these CDs, the choir cooperated on many other projects with well-known Czech artists. It also records various programmes for radio and television.

Since 1994 the boys have taken part in all performances of George Bizet's opera Carmen in the State Opera in Prague. This cooperation has been extended later to other operas: Turandot, Boris Godunov (1996-1998), Bubu from Montparnass (1999), The Czech Christmas Mass (since 1998), Dorian Gray (2000), and The Physics (2000), The Magic Flute (2002). The members of the choir performed together with the famous Czech music ensembles and singers for example Lloyd Webber's Requiem or participated in the famous project of Bernstein's Mass at The Prague Castle. The chorus also cooperates with the composer Pavel Jurkovič who dedicated it a few of his own music compositions. The choir also takes part in various beneficent events. In 2002 the boys sang for the movement “Na vlastních nohou” (“On One’s Own Legs”), in 2003 at the concert “Voices for Hospices” and in 2005 Pueri Gaudentes co-organized the beneficent concert “Kdo může, pomůže” (“Anyone can help”) to help the victims of the destructive tsunami in Eastern Asia.


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