...following the tradition of classical boys' choirs

 

The boys' choir Pueri Cantores du Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg was founded in 1993. From 1987 to 1993, the choir worked on a private basis until it was integrated into the Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg. The choir has become established thanks to the active support of the headmastership of the Luxembourg Conservatoire, the Workshop of Sacred Music, the boys' parents, the young singers themselves and the patrons of the choir. The choir situates itself within the line and the tradition of classical boys' choirs and has managed to acquire a considerable amount of repertoire.

 

Conductor


Pierre Nimax jun. was born in Luxembourg in 1961. He started his musical studies with his father, Pierre Nimax, and went on having organ lessons with A. Leblanc and P. Drauth.

He was awarded several prizes at the "Conservatoire Royal" in Brussels, among which a First Prize in organ in the class of Prof. H. Schoonbroodt. Pierre Nimax jr. then took up studies of sacred music with Dr. Prof. R. Ewerhart at the "Hochschule für Musik" in Cologne. He also studied composing with A. Müllenbach at the Luxembourg Music Conservatory.

Since 1986, he has presided at the grand organ of St. Martin's Church in Dudelange, Luxembourg. He has been a teacher of sacred music and organ at the Luxembourg Conservatory of Music since 1991, where he also founded a boy's choir, the "Pueri Cantores".

Pierre Nimax jr. has given numerous recitals and concerts, both as an organist and as a conductor, in Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Japan; he has made several discs as well as radio, television and film recordings, musicological publications and various editions of music.

 

Pedagocical Structure

 

The singers are all pupils or students of the Conservatoire. The choir brings together boys and adolescents who show a special liking for singing and who reveal a promising voice.

 

Voice Training

 

Voice training is in the hands of Marie-Reine Nimax-Weirig. This essential part of the boys' training within the frame of the program of the Pueri Cantores, is crucial both for the tone-colour of each single voice and the overall sound of the choir. This training is rendered especially difficult, since the breaking of the voice may, in many cases, occur already at the age of 12 or 13, so that the period of a thorough artistic training of the individual boy's voice is limited to a few years only.

The organizers consider it as very important that the majority of the adult members of the choir should already have been singing in the choir when they were boys; in this way, the singers have at their disposal an extensive knowledge of scores as well as an intensive vocal and musical educational background.

 

Voice Teacher

 

Marie-Reine Nimax-Weirig (Luxembourg) studied singing at the Royal Conservatoire in Brussels with Jules Bastin, and with Loretta Clini and Jacqueline Lainé in Mons, where she was awarded a Prix Supérieur. At the Luxembourg Conservatoire, she studied singing and opera with Ionel Pantea. She has appeared as a soloist in numerous concerts (song-recitals, oratorio, opera) and has taken part in recordings in Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy. She has been a solfeggio- and singing teacher at the Luxembourg Conservatoire since 1992.

 

Selection Criteria

 

Each singer in the main choir is a student at the municipal Conservatoire and studies solfeggio. He has tuition in one or several instruments and attends the parallel courses. He has at his disposal a voice that can be trained and developed and that is being assessed by the conductor and the voice-teacher. Moreover, his ear for music, musicality, power of concentration, pitch and intonation are being judged. Before becoming a member of the main choir (at the age of 9 or 10), the boy is part of the initiation choir, in which he is being taught the basics of choral work. Admission to this initiation choir can already be gained from the age of 4: this precocious musical education is based on games, dance and imitation.

 

Work Schedule

 

Choir rehearsal:

-one hour twice a week

Voice-training:
- half an hour once a week 
  in groups of 3 to 4 singers 
Initiation choir:
- one hour once a week

 

Solo Work

 

Singers who reveal an outstanding vocal talent and musicality are given some solo work. The concert-programs regularly feature pieces for one or more soloists. Thus it often happens that one of the boys is entrusted with a solo-part in an opera or oratorio, such as, among others, "Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher" by A. Honegger, "Elijah" by F. Mendelssohn or the A.L. Webber "Requiem".

 

Repertoire

 

The repertoire stretches from Gregorian chant to contemporary music both sacred and profane, including either works for treble-voice only, or for mixed choir from four to eight voices. The diverse program of the performances includes choral a-capella works, pieces for voice and instruments as well as varied vocal combinations.

The choir regularly takes part in big oratorio productions. In the arrangement of programs, special emphasis is put on Luxembourg choral music.

 

Seminars

 

In connection with the INECC (European Institute of Choral Singing), the choir invited Jaume Miranda (conductor of the Vienna Boys' Choir from 1989-1993) and Pep Falco (musical assistant at the Escolania de Montserrat) in order to hold choir-seminars. The choir regularly organizes educational sessions, so for instance at the youth hostels of Hollenfels, Schengen, Troisvierges, D-Marienburg, where intensive work promotes both musical and social experiences. During these musical encounters, a community of interests has given rise to many a friendship and serves as a thorough basis for a harmonious musical co-operation.

 

Concerts

 

Ever since they were founded, the Pueri Cantores have taken part in numerous musical performances, such as the Printemps Musical in 1994, the International Festival of Music in Echternach and within the context of the Lunchtime Concerts in Luxembourg. Concert work has taken the choir across the borders to Germany, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain. The Pueri Cantores have often been asked to sing at the grand ducal court and were invited to sing at Princess Alexandra's baptism and at the First Holy Communion of Prince Félix. It was a special honour for the choir to count Prince Guillaume among its active members.

 

Guest Conductors

 

Pierre Cao; Eckhard Weyan; Jaume Miranda; Roland Kaber; Carlo Hommel

 

Co-operation

 

Capella Vocalis Reutlingen; Domknabenchor Riga; Ensemble Vocal du Conservatoire de Luxembourg; Chorale Mixte du Conservatoire de Luxembourg; Spee-Chor Trier; Madrigal du Luxembourg; Amis du Chant Luxembourg; Psallette de Lorraine; Lëtzebuerger Männerkouer '89; Actor- and producer Michael Lonsdale 



Concert-Tours

 

Attendance at the International Pueri Cantores Congress in Rome, participation in the musical part of the New Year's Mass at St Peter's and the memorial service of O. di Lasso and Palestrina at the Basilica Sancta Maria Maggiore, concert at the Gesu ë Divino Lavatore Church.

1996: Catalonia/Spain Concerts and musical services at the Cathedral of Barcelona, at the University of Barcelona, in the baroque church of Sitges, at the basilica of Montserrat and in the medieval abbey of St-Antoine/France. Reception with the Consul for Luxembourg in Barcelona.

1996: Germany Performances of the Bach Christmas Oratorio together with the boys' choir Capella Vocalis Reutlingen at the Benedictine Abbey Maria Laach, at Christ Church in Reutlingen and at the Protestant church in Lauffen/Neckar.

1998: Riga/Latvia Invitation to the Third International Festival of Boysí Choirs, by the Boysí choir of the cathedral of Riga.

 

CD-Productions

 

At Christmas 1994, the choir recorded the CD "Et in Terra Pax" in favour of Caritas/Luxembourg.

In spring 1997, a second CD,"Hymnus-Paradigms of the Future", was produced in connection with the 10th anniversary of the  Benoy Trustee.

 

International Contacts

 

Regular contacts are being fostered with famous boys' choirs such as :

the boys' choir of Hannover; the Escolania Montserrat/Catalonia; Trondheim/Norway; Solothurn/Switzerland Regular contacts are being fostered with famous boys' choirs such as :



Musical institutes:

CEDIME  (Centre européen de documentation et d'information des maîtrises d'enfants); INECC (Institut européen de chant choral); Foederatio Internationalis Pueri Cantores Europa Cantat

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