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During centuries of Hapsburg rule, Slovenians from the upper classes often looked toward Vienna, the Imperial capital, for their higher education and cultural enrichment. The Slovenian Lands also gave the city its first bishop – and the man who helped to create the famous Vienna Boys’ Choir. Foto: EPA

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A Slovenian Bishop Who Helped to Create Vienna Boys’ Choir

Slovenia Revealed
21. March 2017 ob 06:48
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

During centuries of Hapsburg rule, Slovenians from the upper classes often looked toward Vienna, the Imperial capital, for their higher education and cultural enrichment. The Slovenian Lands also gave the city its first bishop – and the man who helped to create the famous Vienna Boys’ Choir.

Jurij Slatkonja was born in 1456 in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. Little is known about his early life, but like many Slovenians, he headed to Vienna for higher education. He completed his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, but his true passion lay in his faith -- and in music.

He quickly rose in the church ranks: He was named the court chaplain, became a cantor – a church singer – and composed several religious hymns of his own. His musical skills were noticed by the church authorities and he was named the master of the local boys’ choir. He restructured the choir and laid the foundations for the institution that would eventually become the world-famous Vienna Boys’ Choir. All the time, Slatkonja continued to dabble in physics and astronomy. He was also a close friend of the Hapsburg Emperor, Maximilan I.

In 1513, Slatkonja was named the Bishop of Vienna. The promotion was not just official recognition of his hard work; it also brought a more prestigious status to the city of Vienna, which had never had a resident bishop before. Staktonja was even allowed to continue his musical work as a bishop.

He died nine years later at the age of 66 and was interred in the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in central Vienna. His grave still bears the inscription identifying him as a Carniolan – a person born in the Slovenian heartland.

Jaka Bartolj