United Children of the World Choir

Vienna Circle: Dec. 2012/Jan. 2013 - The Vienna Circle presents organisations and opportunities for English-speakers in Austria

United Children of the World Choir

For concerts, the children wear their ­country’s traditional dress | Photo: IDEA Society

Dr. Sandra Reindl-Schweighofer has had a diverse career in music. A graduate of New York’s Juilliard School, she has worked as a music director, a singer, a concert pianist, an orchestra conductor and a choir director. She is also the founder of Vienna’s United Children of the World Choir, which has been performing in Vienna at the UN and elsewhere since the early 1980s. At its zenith in the late ‘80s, there were 40 children from 33 different countries performing in the choir, with each child in his or her national costume, from Austria, Germany, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and France.

Schweighofer put the choir on hold for about a decade, for engagements as music director in schools in Japan, Germany, West Africa and China. Since she returned to Vienna in 2008, Schweighofer has been teaching piano and violin and directing youth choirs in the city.

The latest incarnation of the United Children of the World choir rehearses on Monday evenings from September to June, from 17:00 to 18:00 p.m. at the United Nations. Schweighofer teaches in both German and English, and the choir sings in both languages and occasionally in others. She hopes to “grow the choir”, which currently has 16 members aged 10 to 17 performing “songs from musicals, pop songs, scat numbers and a bit of jazz and gospel,” says Schweighofer. By choice, “nothing traditional”.

Schweighofer is also organising an International Youth Orchestra in Vienna, and she is looking for young people under the age of 18 who play orchestral instruments. Rehearsals will take place on Sundays from 11:00 to 13:00.

Schweighofer also has plans to found an international school for visual and performing arts in Vienna. She herself attended the New York High School of Performing Arts (made famous by the movie Fame), and she envisions a school much like this, combining music, drama and dance – as well as visual theatre and a programme for gifted youth, all “under one roof.”

She confided: “This is really where my heart lies.”

United Children of the World Choir
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International Youth Orchestra
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