Phoenix Boys Choir Artist Director Georg Stangelberger announces retirement

Georg Stangelberger has been the Phoenix Boys Choir artistic director for 20 years and has helped the choir garner national attention. (Submitted photo)

Phoenix Boys Choir Artistic Director Georg Stangelberger has announced his retirement after the 2018-19 season following 20 years at the helm of the internationally acclaimed boys’ choir.

He plans to return with his family to his native Austria, according to a press release, stating that he came to the U.S. and the Phoenix Boys Choir from Austria in 1999 after 13 years as deputy artistic director and principal choir conductor of the Vienna Boys Choir.

“I hope the boys remember me as someone who inspired them to achieve excellence in their performances and sparked their curiosity for the history and culture of the world,” Mr. Stangelberger said in a prepared statement. “Also, I hope I taught them that life is not always easy, but determination and commitment will take them a very long way.”

Under his direction, the Phoenix Boys Choir reached international acclaim among the finest boychoirs in the world when it secured a first-place finish in the 2007 Summa Cum Laude International Youth Festival in Vienna, the release said.

Besides the awards and recognition, Mr. Stangelberger’s legacy is educating the boys, teaching them music, history and cultural aspects of the repertoire, along with exposing them to different languages, architecture and landscapes, while “meeting so many people who share the common bond of a love for the arts and music,” the release detailed.

During Mr. Stangelberger’s tenure, The Phoenix Boys Choir also earned an educational and outreach award from Chorus America for his vision and efforts to expand the choir’s program from a location in mid-town Phoenix to several “neighborhood training choirs” throughout the Valley, including Scottsdale, Peoria, Tempe and Mesa, the release noted.

The choir was also named a Phoenix Honorary Point of Pride by the city in 2002, the release added.

“Georg’s legacy will have a lasting impact on the Phoenix Boys Choir. His artistic excellence and commitment to the organization for 20 years has left an indelible impression on the lives of so many boys as well as the greater Phoenix arts community. We are grateful for his service and for Georg having the foresight to give the organization fifteen months to find a suitable replacement,” said Rob McIver, chair of the Phoenix Boys Choir Board of Trustees, in a prepared statement.

There will be an international search for a successor to be the third artistic director since 1960.

“It’s going to be an extremely exciting year ahead,” Phoenix Boys Choir Executive Director Oleg Shvets said in a prepared statement. “As we celebrate Georg’s achievements and continue to present amazing concerts, we will simultaneously face the arduous task of finding that talented and unique individual who can build upon Georg’s many accomplishments and lead our boys — and the whole organization — boldly into the future.”

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