Founded in 1982, the Czech Boys Choir Boni Pueri is one of Europe’s leading ensembles, carrying on the tradition of a choir that has been active in the Metropolitan Chapter of St Vitus in Prague since 1252. The present choir, which has 200 members ranging in age from 4 to 19, has performed more than 3,000 concerts not only in the Czech Republic, but also on tours in Japan (Tokyo Bunka Kaikan concert hall, St Mary’s Cathedral), the United States (Grace Cathedral in San Francisco), Canada (Francis Winspear Centre for Music, Edmonton), South Korea (Seoul Arts Centre), China (National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Shanghai Oriental Art Centre), the United Kingdom, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Netherlands (Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, De Doelen in Rotterdam), Denmark, Finland, France, Italy (Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo), Monaco, Germany (Meistersingerhalle in Nuremberg), Poland, Austria, Russia (Svetlanov Hall and Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow), Spain (Basilica Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona), Switzerland, Ukraine and the Vatican (Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore).
Boni Pueri also performs at important state events and international meetings and conferences (including the Czech national award ceremony for Sir Nicholas Winton, the state visits of German President Joachim Gauck, Austrian President Heinz Fischer and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the enthronement of Cardinal Dominik Duka) and has appeared alongside numerous distinguished artists (José Carreras, Bobby McFerrin, Thomas Hampson, Pavel Šporcl and others). The choir has made recordings for television and radio and worked with important ensembles and orchestras the world over, and released more than 30 CDs.
The choir is often invited to perform as a guest artist at festivals around the world (Prague Spring, Europalia, AmericaFest, Jeonju Sori Festival, Shanghai International Arts Festival, Moscow Easter Festival, Moscow Christmas Festival of Sacred Music, Concentus Moraviae, Smetana’s Litomyšl). In July 2004 it became the first European host of the international festival of boys’ and men’s choirs “World Festival of Singing for Men and Boys”, and went on to host its second run in 2008.
Boni Pueri also works closely with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2010 the choir participated in monumental performances of Mahler’s 8th Symphony—the “Symphony of a Thousand”—under the conductor’s baton of Christoph Eschenbach (Prague, Hanover, Hamburg). In 2017 the choir accepted an invitation to participate in a several-year music project titled “Czechs Masters in Vienna” and collaborated with the famous Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester to perform Johann Stamitz’s Missa solemnis.
Other important music projects have included a two-choir production of the St Matthew Passion, which enjoyed 50 repeat performances; the complete three sets of Jan Dismas Zelenka’s Responsoria, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, requiems by Mozart and Fauré, Dvořák’s Mass in D and other works. Other projects have included première recordings of works by Czech Baroque composers—Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer, Pavel Josef Vejvanovský and Jan Dismas Zelenka. The record of Zelenka’s Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis received the prestigious Cannes Classical Award in 2003. The choir’s repertoire also includes theatre productions of the Theresienstadt children’s opera Brundibár by Hans Krása and the Baroque operas The Fairy Queen and Dioclesian by Henry Purcell. Boni Pueri has played a part in the rediscovery of works by Johann Baptist Wanhal and Václav Tomášek.
The choir also performs works by contemporary composers. It has given world premières in the 4D audiovisual project Voices of the Light with the composer Robert Jíša and the British soprano Christina Johnston, and Aleš Březina’s Requiem with Iva Bittová and Vojtěch Dyk with the Musica Florea orchestra. The choir has been recording contemporary film music (the scores for the American drama series Missing, music for the South Korean series Chicago Typewriter, the Czech film Angel of the Lord 2, the documentary Aldabra).
The choir is part of a unique arts school for boys’ voices, the first of its kind in the Czech Republic. The Boni Pueri choir received the 2012 Award of the Czech Choirs Association for its exemplary promotion of Czech culture abroad, and in 2015 the choir was given the title of Cultural Ambassador of Europe by the European Federation of Choirs.