Founder of Vienna Boys’ Choir remembered in Novo Mesto

Novo Mesto – A ceremony will be held in Novo Mesto on Sunday marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Jurij Slatkonja, the founder of the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Novo Mesto Bishop Andrej Saje will celebrate Mass at the cathedral this morning, with Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore delivering the sermon.

Slatkonja was born on 21 March 1456 in Ljubljana when Slovenian lands were under Habsburg rule. He studied in Ljubljana, moving to Ingolstadt in 1474, and then continuing his studies in 1475 in Vienna, where he received a bachelor’s degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1477.

He went on to become priest and a chaplain and cantor at the court in Vienna. He was also a provost of Novo Mesto and the canon and provost of the Diocese of Ljubljana.

In 1498 he founded the choir that later became known as the Vienna Boys’ Choir, becoming its singing master.

Later, he became chapel master of the Vienna Court Chapel, and the senior chapel master.

In 1513, Emperor Maximilian I, with whom Slatkonja had friendly ties, appointed him the bishop of Vienna. But Slatkonja also continued to work as the main music organiser in the city and probably also composed music himself.

He died on 26 April 1522 in Vienna, and is buried at the Vienna Cathedral.

The Novo Mesto music conservatory, which was set up by the Novo Mesto Diocese in 2007, is named after him and continues his musical work.

The conservatory’s choir and orchestra will perform at today’s celebration Mass.