© The Independent/Sarah Bancroft
The Tölzer Knabenchor is a boys' choir with its roots in the Bavarian town of Bad Tölz. The choir group is still led by director and singing master Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, who founded the choir in 1956 when he was only nineteen years old. The founder was once a student of Carl Orff's and worked with him a few years. At the outset, the group was composed of 170 boys divided into several separate choirs. Children are admitted for entrance trials from second grade from schools in the Munich area. The choir is not affiliated with any boarding school and the children are tutored in choir and individual lessons in Munich. The repertoire covers vocal music from the medieval to the modern, folk music, madrigals and motets, church music from the baroque to the classical, solo roles and opera for children's choirs. The choirs recruit most of their members from Munich, but still get some boys from the smaller town of Bad Tölz. The group is actually composed of several choirs. Together, they or their individual members give more than 250 concerts and opera performances a year in many parts of the world, including countries such as Japan, China, Israel, and the United States, and multitudinous festivals.