Schubert Organ, Lichtentaler Pfarrkirche © Bwag/Wikimedia

„I was born for nothing but composing“

Keeping Franz Schubert's choral life's work alive

Franz Schubert Choir Competition

Franz Schubert was born on 31 January 1797 as the son of a teacher in the former Viennese suburb of "Himmelpfortgrund" and baptized in the Lichtental parish church. Here he received his early musical education through the choral director Michael Holzer, sang in church services, played the violin and also performed on the late baroque organ built in 1774. In addition, he spent five years as a choirboy at the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle. At the age of 17 he composed and conducted his first mass in F major for the 100th anniversary of the Lichtental Church - his first great success in public. This debut stage, where his first composition premiered, is probably the best-preserved memorial to his work and music, and therefore a special Viennese landmark. 

After a short time as a school assistant, Schubert lived as a freelance composer. Although he already died at the age of 31, he left behind a rich and varied opus of about 1000 works, including 7 masses, 8 symphonies, 15 string quartets, 22 sonatas, chamber music works, operas and musical comedies, and over 600 songs. A significant part of his life's work consists of around 130 completely preserved choral works. The composition of polyphonic songs occupied Schubert throughout his creative life and his pieces now hold a prominent place in the repertoire of challenging choral literature.

Keeping his work alive and spreading it throughout the world - this is one of the aims of the Schubert Society Vienna-Lichtental, founded in 1984. In the year of its founding, it initiated the 1st International Franz Schubert Choir Competition in Vienna, which since 2007 has become a permanent tradition for choirs all over the world thanks to INTERKULTUR's organisational and artistic support. Honorary patronage over this event is provided by the respective Mayor of the City of Vienna and the Bishop of the Archdiocese of Vienna, and the Department of Culture of the City of Vienna additionally provides the Schubert Choir Prize in the amount of € 2,000.00.  

In 2020 the 32nd International Franz Schubert Choir Competition will take place in Vienna, Austria, from 11th to 15th November and the Schubert Society is once again looking forward to collaborating with choirs from all over the world in fulfilling its mission of "helping the work of Franz Schubert, in conjunction with his places of activity, (...), to gain greater recognition and significance".

More information about the 32nd International Franz Schubert Choir Competition and impressions of past editions are available here. For further updates keep following the event's official Facebook page!

Thanks for all background information to Friedrich Lessky (Austria), Artistic Director of the Franz Schubert Choir Competition