800 Jahre Thomana
800th anniversary of the St. Thomas Choir – in tune for centuries
Photo: ACCENTUS Music800 years and a special look: the traditional sailor suit of the boys from the St. Thomas choir in Leipzig.What do Johann Sebastian Bach and Sebastian Krumbiegel from the band "Die Prinzen" have in common? They both were "Thomaner" – one as cantor, the other one as pupil. This year, the world-famous choir of St. Thomas in Leipzig can look back onto 800 years of its history and is celebrated as one of the oldest existing choirs.
At the time of the choir's foundation, the boys sang for their livelihood, as a payment for tuition and accommodation. In 1212, Margrave Dietrich von Meißen founded a school in order to educate children to perform the musical services at the church of St. Thomas instead of the canons. The choir sang at church services, baptisms, weddings and burials, as well as during events of the council. The school of St. Thomas also accepted commoners and is therefore regarded as Germany's first school that was open to the public. Apart from the choir, the church of St. Thomas and the St. Thomas school belong to the "Thomana", which celebrates its 800th anniversary as a whole.
Numerous well-known musicians and composers were leaders of the choir of St. Thomas, including the Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach (from 1723 onwards). Celebrities have also emerged from the choir itself, for example the tenor and Kammersänger Martin Petzold and four members of the pop band "Die Prinzen".