Capital of Culture Opening Ceremony: 20 January 2024

Photo: © Oskar C. Neubauer

Chor der 1000Choir of 1000

The year of the European Capital of Culture Bad Ischl Salzkammergut will be opened on 20 January with a festival concert to be held in the Kurpark in Bad Ischl. With one of the oldest forms of communication in the alpine world, the yodel, the noise of the world will be transformed by a 1000-voice choir. Singers of all ages from choirs across Upper Austria and Upper Styria are set to perform a programme under the leadership of Hubert von Goisern with support from percussionist Christoph Sietzen and choir director and vocal trainer Susanne Fabian.

"... After a fanfare by Leonhard Paul, performed by twenty-three brass players from the participating municipalities, perhaps the most vocally powerful yodel Austria has ever heard rang out: Hubert von Goisern assembled one thousand singers of all ages from the region, who stood in groups on the flanks of the large stage and in the audience. Accompanied by only a percussionist (Christoph Sietzen), the singer from the Salzkammergut played strange sounds on the electronic theremin, before he began to yodel and a powerful echo was found in the chorists conducted by Susanna Fabian. A beautifully executed reflection on folk music culture and the impressive mountain ranges of the Salzkammergut ..."
Frankfurter Allgemeine 23.01.24

Capital of Culture Bad Ischl Salzkammergut Opening Ceremony

ORF 20 January 2024

The main act of the night was without a doubt the "Choir of 1000" led by Hubert von Goisern. Fanfare players, bells, electronic sounds, choral singing with yodels performed by the man himself - the world musician wove diverse sounds into an atmospheric carpet of sound, a mix of the traditional and modern, completely in the spirit of the Capital of Culture's programme. (dpa)

Hubert von Goisern yodels from Ischl out into the world

Salzburger Nachrichten 22 Januar 2024 | Text: Magdalena Pichler

Atmospheric opening for the Capital of Culture Bad Ischl / Salzkammergut on Saturday evening

Bad Ischl. The Bad Ischl church bells can be heard ringing. 1000 voices take up the sound, meld with it and rub against it. It seems as though the whole Kurpark in Bad Ischl is resounding and the people are sending a message out into the world. Hubert von Goisern yodels to it with feeling and passion, at times solo, sometimes with the choir, for example for the Sarsteiner Jodler.

The Choir of 1000 is not just on stage at the opening ceremony of the European Capital of Culture Bad Ischl / Salzkammergut, but in the audience too. An impressive body of sound is created. Electronic music and percussion mingle with the traditional yodel. Local traditions and the new or even the world stand not in opposition, but in harmony despite some friction.

This is what Hubert von Goisern stands for and this motto can also be seen as symbolic for the entire programme of the Capital of Culture Bad Ischl / Salzkammergut 2024. [...]

A "Choir of 1000" sings to church bells

Salzburger Nachrichten 20 January 2024 | Text: Hedwig Kainberger

Hubert von Goisern and his assistant Susanne Fabian are preparing a spectacular vocal event.

A highlight on Saturday, the opening day of the European Capital of Culture, will be an unusual body of sound: at least 1000 voices - mainly citizens of the Salzkammergut - in the Bad Ischl Kurpark will sing two yodels and compete against church bells.

The huge choir will not simply perform the Kohler and Krippenstoana yodels. Their musical director has created additional parts and variations in tempo and sound. The yodels will be "completely re-interpreted" and yet remain "recognisable, as they were originally intended," Susanne Fabian revealed. The music school teacher and vocal trainer, who also leads the Hodgepodge Choir in Bad Goisern, has been supporting Hubert von Goisern in the preparations for months and has visited many of the choirs in the Salzkammergut participating in the opening in order to describe the project and details.

She says of the "Choir of 1000"'s performance at the opening ceremony on Saturday at 5pm: "Everything involved is bombastic." 23 brass players from 23 municipalities will play. And Christoph Sietzen will play percussion, marimba, and large drums. A synthesizer will be used too.

The organisers have a number of tricks up their sleeves to bring so many people - at least 1000, "we didn't turn anyone away, everyone is very welcome" - to one tone. Aside from the many rehearsals with the regional choirs, which took Susanne Fabian and others through the Salzkammergut, there was a special rehearsal last Sunday with just the choir leaders - as well as some individual singers; the choir leaders then share what they had learned with their own ensembles.

Only one dress rehearsal with Hubert von Goisern is planned for the entire "Choir of 1000". And since folk music and yodelling in particular are not conducted with beats like a classical music concert, and because the more than 1,000 choir members also elicit something other than classical singing from their vocal cords, Hubert von Goisern invented a language of symbols that was printed out and distributed to the singers.

And then there are the church bells! They will ring and the "Choir of 1000" will sing with them. Technical amplification will enable the church bells, about 250 metres away as the crow flies, to be heard in the Kurpark as though they are right next door. Can a choir singer pick up the sound of church bells? That would be too difficult, says Susanne Fabian. Therefore, among the thousand there were several choirmasters who picked up notes from tuning forks and hummed to those around them. The audience should hear this as if the choir were singing different chords from and with the bells.

The "Choir of 1000" will perform for about 15 minutes. What will happen exactly is difficult to put into words, says Susanne Fabian. "You need to experience it. It'll be a great sound experience."

HvG at the Capital of Culture Opening Ceremony press conference

Salzkammergut 2024 19. Jänner 2024

HvG on BBC Radio 3

1 January 2024

Happy New Year! 2024 has been rung in with style with the New Year's Concert in Vienna – including the interval film, which this time was filmed in Capital of Culture banner city Bad Ischl. Eagle-eyed viewers may have spotted the various locations as well as the ballet costumes designed by Susanne Bisovsky. During the interval in Britain, BBC Radio 3 talked to Hubert von Goisern about the Capital of Culture Salzkammergut 2024.

Bethany Bell · New Year's Day Austria Culture Report for BBC Radio 3