The history of Chorus Puerorum Cathedralis Nidarosiensis

The Nidarosdomen Boys Choir is Norways eldest boys choir, and continues the more than 900 year old boy choir tradition of Nidarosdomen. Tho’ the choir is now independent, this is still our main concert arena, where we also regularly participate at church services.

At the end of the 9th century Norwegian and English stonemasons came to Trondheim to build the Christchurch, the precursor of Nidarosdomen. In one of the chapels of the cathedral the priests would teach the sons of the stonemasons Gregorian song og liturgy, and the boys would participate during church services – just like todays boys choir. This was the beginning of The Trondheim Cathedral School and the boys choir tradition of the cathedral.

During the years to come, separate education rooms were built close to the church – most likely where Trondheim Cathedral School is situated today. The Cathedrals economy controlled much of the life of these boys. During the plague the conditions were so poor  that the choir boys had official permission to beg in public. Their days were often long, as they in addition to school were obliged to sing at devotional services, weddings, funerals and regular mass. After high mass they were even obliged to return to school for examination in the sermon of the day.

In 1806 the Choir’s formal connection to the Cathedral School was dissolved. Song duties were now assumed by Domsognets Almueskole, and in then again in 1862 by Waisenhusskolen which held them until 1905. For the next 22 years Trondheim was without a boys choir, but coming up to the 900- jubilee for the death of st. Olavs, res. kap. Arne Fjellbu, later bishop, took the initiative for a new boys choir, which was to include boys from all over Trondheim.

The autumn of 1927 the Nidaros Cathedral Boys Choir was back, with Erik Saltnessand as conductor. And with him the choir was also finally back at Trondheim Katedralskole. I 1948 the cathedral organist Ludvig Nielsen som took over as conductor, before 1. amanuensis at Trondheim’s Music conservatory, Bjørn Moe became the conductor in 1973.

The Cathedral School and Nidarosdomens Boys Choir are still closely connected. All choir practises are held at Trondheim Katedralskole, just across the road from Nidarosdomen.

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