The History of the Chorus Direction
The history of the Chorus Direction of the Volksoper is difficult to reconstruct: Before Michael TOMASCHEK ( assistant Choral Director from 1987 to 1991, Choral Director since 1991) Prof. Franz GERSTACKER (1964-1991) was the Chorus Director. Since in earlier times the choral coaches preparers of the Volksoper Chorus were not mentioned in the printed evening cast lists (in the 19th century it was not even customary to include the name of the conductor of the evening performance!), it is problematic to construct a listing of the choral directors.
Oral tradition mentions the names Franz HOLECZEK as well as Rudolf SCHRAMEK, who although he only had one hand accomplished notable pianistic feats as chorus conductor and later as head solo coach. Franz SCHREKER, whose Opera “Irrelohe” was premiered on October 16th 2004 at the Volksoper left a lasting influence on the Volksoper. Schreker, who as a 14 year-old organist performed at the Döblinger Pfarrkirche, was engaged as assistant choral director and stage music conductor in the 1907-1908 season.
In the following year he founded the Vienna Philharmonic Chorus, which he prepared for the world premieres of Arnold Schoenberg’s “Gurrelieder” as well as Gustav Mahler’s “Klagendes Lied” and Eighth Symphony. Schreker’s influence on the Volksoper continued when his composition student Franz Salmhofer later became Director of the Volksoper.
Reference: Gösta Neuwirth:" Franz Schreker", Wien, Bergland Verlag
Our chorus owes its high artistic level, in addition to the extensive vocal training of its members to the cooperation with outstanding choral directors such as Helmut Froschauer, Peter Burian, Prof. Franz Gerstacker, and Conrad Artmüller, to name a few. Prof.Michael Tomaschek has been the artistic director of the Konzertvereinigung since 2002.