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Peter Schreier (b1935)


Schreier’s father was a church organist, cantor and teacher who gave him his initial musical training; then at eight years old he entered the preparatory class for the esteemed Dresdner Kreuzchor (Choir of the Church of the Cross). He sang one of The Three Boys / Die Zauberflöte in 1944, an experience that suggested a musical career to him; and when he was ten, he entered the Choir School of the Kreuzchor. This was after the wartime bombing of Dresden, so the few choir members and choir masters lived together in a cellar on the outskirts of the city. Schreier was then singing as a boy soprano, but it was soon discovered that he was in fact an alto, and as such he rose to become the first alto soloist with the choir. The conductor of the Kreuzchor, Rudolf Mauersberger, recognised his musical gifts and provided him with many opportunities, including the performance of compositions especially written for his voice, as well as recordings (1948–1951). When Schreier was sixteen his voice broke and he became a tenor, enabling him both to remain a member of the Kreuzchor and eventually to realise his ambition of singing the tenor Evangelist parts in the Bach Passions and Christmas Oratorio.

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