Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Saxon Boy’s Choirs

In many parts of Germany and also beyond, there are boys’ choirs with a long tradition and of outstanding quality. From as long ago as the 13th Century three boys’ choirs have existed in Saxony: the Thomanerchor of St. Thomas’ Church in Leipzig, the “Kreuzchor” of the Kreuzkirche in Dresden and the “Dresdner Kapellknaben” of the Cathedral (former court chapel) in Dresden.

Facts & figures

Crucial date: all seasons
Inscription: 2014
Domains: oral traditions and expressions; performing arts
Where to find: Saxony


Musica Sacra Saxoniae-Stiftung zu Dresden
Stephan Zimmer (President)

The particular sound of the boys’ choirs had been cultivated by the 16th Century under the sponsorship of electoral Saxon rulers by high-ranking musicians such as Heinrich Schütz and Johann Sebastian Bach, who composed works especially for them. The three boys’ choirs are still particularly obliged to their former choirmasters and conductors to this day. Their repertoire is supplemented by new works composed for the respective choir. All three choirs maintain boarding schools in which, at any given time, between 100 and 150 active singers aged between ten and 19 are instructed and trained.

The singers are selected according to their talent without any confessional or religious preconditions. The boy’s choirs attract tens of thousands of listeners to their performances every year. The choirs are an important component of the musical lives of their cities and also enjoy international renown.


Wissen. Können. Weitergeben..
Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission, 2019