Sistine Chapel Choir
Source – www.vatican.va
Click on link to access Recordings of Hymns for Liturgical Year
The Schola Cantorum Romana, created mainly for Papal ceremonies, re-organized by Saint Gregory the Great, underwent major modification with Pope Boniface VIII, and reached the maximum splendor of its art. It fell rapidly into disuse when the Popes were forced to leave Rome and reside at Avignon and in fact Pope Urban V, who returned only temporarily to Rome, dismissed the Schola Cantorum and transferred the benefits it had hitherto enjoyed to the Cathedral of St John in the Lateran. When Gregory XI brought the Papal See back to Rome, the papal cantors also returned; and since then, the rank of Primicerio, Director of teaching the art of singing, also required to have the gift of composing music, was succeeded by the Maestro di Cappella, or Master of the Choir.
Pope Sixtus V entrusted the cantors themselves with the task of electing the Maestro di Cappella pro tempore, as well as the selection of new cantors by means of audition. It was Pope Pius VII who returned to the tradition of appointing a Perpetual or permanent Maestro di Cappella and the first was Giuseppe Baini. He was succeeded by Domenico Mustafa and then Lorenzo Perosi, appointed by Pope Leo XIII at the request of Mustafa himself. Pope Pius XII, advised by Perosi, appointed Domenico Bartolucci vice-Master and then permanent Maestro di Cappella and Director.
It was Pope John XXIII who, at the request of the Maestro di Cappella, re-organized the Choir and re-established the Schola Puerorum with an attached day-school, assigning to the Choir its own premises while revising and modernizing the role of the adult cantors. The Choir depends directly on the Prefecture of the Papal Household and it is present at all papal liturgies as well as those of cardinals.
Since May 29, 1997 the Choir has been directed by Giuseppe Liberto.