December 2023 Every day, my home city stages one to three dozen Vienna concerts. To make things more complicated, the ‘capital of music’ hosts events with varying levels of quality. Let’s assume you are after quality music events and would like to avoid tourist traps. To facilitate your choice I’m sharing a list of great and good concerts below: from Vienna Philharmonic to organ concerts. Where there are caveats I will say so. In fact, there can be a fine line between a concert popular with tourists, and a tourist trap. As a guideline, use this checklist to find a fantastic Vienna concert that is worth its money.
In the run up to Christmas trumpets, strings and choirs provide give classical music special vibes. Many of them take place in our sumptuous baroque churches and at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. (There is a BIG difference to department store Christmas crooners!)
To give you examples, here are the best concerts and chamber music events in 2023. For further details and booking, use the links below. Tip: If you go for a church concert, smaller buildings have a shorter reverberation time, and therefore better acoustic experience.
Vienna Boys Choir At Christmas in Vienna Grand Concert
US visitors – this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience American lyric-coloratura mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato singing alongside our Vienna Boys Choir!
Dates: 15th and 16th December 2023
Location: Wiener Konzerthaus, Lothringer Strasse 20, 1030 Vienna
Magic Trumpet at St. Anne’s Church
When a gifted trumpeter and an organist ‘communicate’ about Christmas in a small baroque church it pays to listen.
Dates: from 30th November 2023
Location: Annakirche, Annagasse 6, 1010 Vienna
Christmas Concert at the Minorite Church
On Christmas and Boxing Day, two violins, two violas and a cello along with a divine trumpet evoke the most powerful tunes of Mozart, Bach, Händel and Vivaldi at Minoritenkirche.
Dates: 25th and 26th December 2023
Location: Minoritenkirche, Minoritenplatz 1, 1010 Vienna
Advent and Christmas Concerts at Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral)
Right in the city center our landmark St. Stephen’s Cathedral opens up space for divine sounds. Every Friday and Saturday in the run up to Christmas, one of Vienna’s best orchestras uncorks fine classics that Europeans already enjoyed 300 years ago. Among them are selected pieces from Bach’s Christmas Oratory, festive chamber music by Mozart and selected pieces by Joseph Haydn.
Dates: 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th and 23rd December 2023
Location: Stephansplatz 1, 1010 Vienna
Sound of Christmas at the Imperial Capuchin Church
Knowing that the Emperor Quartet and its master trumpeter always play Austrian Christmas songs I wouldn’t leave my seat without having listened to ‘O Tannenbaum‘ or ‘Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht‘.
Dates: from 29th November 2023
Location: Kapuzinerkirche, Neuer Markt, 1010 Vienna
Advent, Christmas and New Year at St. Peter’s
Without a doubt the Classic Ensemble Vienna gathers some of the finest classical quartets to perform music. They masterfully conquer each tune, accentuate at the right point and let each piece drift across the audience in perfect harmony.
Dates: from 20th December 2023 to 4th January 2024 (exc 24th December and 1st January)
Location: Peterskirche, Petersplatz 1, 1010 Vienna
The first thing to remember is thatVienna’s new year’s eve concerts are rare prey for MANY locals and travellers. In general, they cover both classical and contemporary music. Many contemporary concerts are free and form part of Vienna’s big street festival ‘Silvesterpfad’, while the classical concerts take place in warm concert halls. If you want to properly arrange the evening before you travel you can book some classical concerts together with a dinner package. Learn more aboutNew Year’s Eve concertsin Vienna.
New Year’s Day Concertsand feedback on the Vienna New Year Concert
New Year’s Day is theVienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s annual New Year’s Concert, which is broadcast all over the world. Since the New Year’s concert is so popular that tickets are sold via an online draw. You can apply for tickets between 1st and 28th February. If you weren’t lucky at the ballots, you can buy tickets via third party ticket providers. Because it takes various parties to ensure tickets are available after the drawing, prices are quite elevated for this level of classical experience.
To find out whether ticket prices are worth the expense I have spoken with a local Viennese and with a traveller who attended the concert. Read their feedback in Vienna New Year Concert. For obtaining practical tips, find out more inVienna New Year’s Concert ticket information.
Between March and June 2023, you are up for a few classical music delicatessen in Vienna. While Easter Sunday marks several highlights at Musikverein, Konzert and Wiener Staatsoper make sure you check the concert calendar for particular highlights. Alternatively, listen in on Vivaldi’s baroque masterpiece Four Seasons, which relates to amazingly to Vienna’s baroque scenery.
Right on Easter Sunday morning the Vienna Boys Choirwill sing at the Imperial Court Chapel – probably Spring’s best wake up call.
Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn Palace
During the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s free annual concert in the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, thousands of music fans celebrate on the lawns. Expect a spectacular show with top quality classical music and fireworks.
Time: 8th June 2023
Location: Schönbrunn Palace, palace gardens, in front of Neptune fountain; Schönbrunner Schloßstrasse 47 1130 Vienna,
Summer is a tricky time for serious music fans in Vienna: Many local classical orchestras and venues take a summer break in July and August. While all-year-round Vienna concerts continue at elegant town palaces such as Wiener Kursalon, Palais Auersperg and Palais Palffy they often feature as tourist traps.
Access the Vienna concerts calendar forSummer Music Events in Vienna.
Annoyingly for some music fans, the vast majority of classical concerts in Vienna take place in the evenings. If you know where to dig, however, you will find amazing matinees, lunchtime concerts and afternoon concerts. Some take place fairly regularly, some offer a limited number of tickets, and some music events are even for free. In Vienna Daytime Concerts, find out where to look and how to attend.
Classical Concerts With Small Children
Which classical concerts are the best to visit with children? In order for the whole family to enjoy a classical music event, you can either attend a classical concert adapted for children, or an event for adults that is suitable for kids as well. In Vienna, both options exist. Click on Classical Vienna Concerts With Small Childrento find inspiration.
Location: Minoritenkirche, Minoritenplatz, 1010 Vienna
Bookings: get tickets for Vivaldi – The Four Seasons
To begin with, music from ensembles can connect you more deeply with tunes and composers. For example, the quartet at the crypt of St. Peter’s pulls literally all their strings to revive the world’s best classical music – and they do it masterfully. ‘The fingering on some of the pieces was like the birds singing.’ (source: TripAdvisor). In fact, many of this ensemble’s musicians have excellent track records. Prepare for signature pieces of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Vivaldi and more by Classic Ensemble Vienna. To get the full story, read my review in Vienna Secret Classical Music.
Dates:weekends and certain weekdays throughout the year; 8.00 pm
‘It’s the special sound’, say some. ‘It’s the world class conductors’, say others. As a matter of fact, the Philharmonics attract thousands of music connoisseurs each year. Not to mention the millions of TV spectators watching their New Year’s Concert each 1st January. Is it worth getting tickets at Musikverein? How to reliably get Vienna New Year’s Concert tickets when you haven’t won the online drawing?
Despite a few hurdles it is not impossible for a prepared traveller to experience this orchestra live. For this reason, I’m sharing my special guide on the most elusive of Vienna attractions, theVienna Philharmonic Orchestra. For practical advice, visitVienna New Years Concert ticket information.
Vienna Concerts. Sometimes I imagine my own boy sing like a Wiener Sängerknabe. Surely the choir boys of this 500-year-old institution have exceptional voices, which are regularly heard in Wien. While most expect the Wiener Sängerknaben to sing Mozart, Haydn, Bruckner and Schubert, the Vienna Boys Choir also excels in modern choir music.
In spite of their extensive world tours, you will likely meet them when in Vienna as the Sängerknaben split into four different choir groups.
Access the concert calendars of three different locations in Vienna on the Vienna Boys Choir page.
Concerts at Musikverein
With a history dating back to the mid-19th century Musikverein is one of the most prestigious concert halls in the world. Over the years it has hosted countless legendary performances and world-renowned musicians.
Specifically, the Golden Hall stands out for its excellent acoustics, often regarded as one of the best in the world:
The reverberation time is between 2.4 and 2.8 seconds in the middle frequencies and increasing towards the low frequencies. This area has proven to be very suitable for classical and romantic orchestral musicians – think Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss. Subsequently, concertgoers can expect crystal-clear sound and a rich, immersive auditory experience.
Despite its grandeur, the Golden Hall offers an intimate atmosphere, allowing the audience to feel close to the performers. There are various seating options, including the famous “Golden Balcony” and the main floor, each offering a unique perspective on the performance.
As the home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Musikverein hosts one of the most esteemed orchestras globally, known for its excellence in performing the works of Viennese composers.
While the world’s classic fans know the Golden Hall from countless New Year’s Concert broadcasts, the smaller Brahms Hall is massively underrated. When the hall opened in 1870 the local press and critics described the Greek Renaissance interiors in red, gold and green as a ‘true little treasure chest’.
Classical Concerts At St. Peter’s
Why do so many quality concert organisers choose St. Peter’s Church (Peterskirche)? Not least because of its excellent acoustics, especially among the crypt’s vaulted ceilings. Throughout the year this baroque church hosts classical concerts, including chamber music performances and organ recitals, operas and children’s operas, operetta evenings and Viennese Songs.
The architectural inspiration for St. Peter’s came from the iconic St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome. This groundbreaking church marked the advent of domed structures in baroque Vienna. Due to space constraints, it adopted a remarkably compact form, with its oval interior ingeniously accommodating a considerable amount of space, adorned with rectangular additions. The church captivates all who visit with its lavishly ornamented interior, resplendent with golden stucco work.
Dates:throughout the year
While more Mozart is served in this concert series prepare for an utterly different experience. In the gothic hall of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, 40 musicians and a choir create a monumental sound cloud made of Wolfgang Amadeus’ famous Requiem. In that case, it’s all about the spectacular side of art and music, as you will experience in this sumptuous church packed with colourful frescoes.
In the past years the Mozart requiem has turned into one of the most popular Vienna concerts. Every Saturday, the musicians of the Orchestra 1756 (Mozart’s year of birth) play on historical instruments, replicating the ambiente of the Requiem’s premiere in the 18th century. Because of the quality of this concert you will likely be in the company of other travellers avoiding Mozart ‘varieté shows’.
Dates: 28th and 31st October 2023, special concert on the anniversary of Mozart’s death on 4th December (St. Stephen’s Cathedral);
Mozart And Beethoven Quartets
Vienna Concerts.Never underestimate the power of four instruments. Since Mozart wrote 23 pieces for string quartets, and Beethoven 17, this concert series pays tribute to a key classical music format. Beneath the colourful baroque frescoes and pink marble columns of St. Anne’s Church musicians of renowned local orchestras spread pure bliss with two of Mozart’s and Beethoven’s most elegant chamber music.
Johann Strauss Music
Every now and then I put on a Strauss CD for Sunday breakfast. And I do get emotional in Austrian Airlines when hearing the Blue Danube Waltz while landing in Vienna. But where would I listen to live Strauss music in Wien, without falling into a tourist trap? The truth is, you’ll need to be VERY selective with picking the right venue and orchestra. If you ask me as a Viennese the best place to enjoy Strauss music is watching an operetta at Volksoper Vienna. To explore not just the best music venues but also Strauss places in Vienna read my Johann Strauss Vienna Guide.
Thanks to its acoustics and beauty, our landmark St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the best places for classical Vienna concerts. Equally important, the music ensembles are good quality. Sometimes the acclaimed ensemble of the Vienna University of Music and the Arts performs there as well.
If you are lucky your trip dates will coincide with one of the cathedral concerts in the attic. In any case, expect regularVivaldi’s Four Seasons concerts during the summer and early autumn. On top, the cathedral will regularly stage pompous organ music on its brand new Giant Organ. By all means visit the Advent and Christmas concerts if you are around. Learn more about current music events in Stephansdom.
Free Organ Concerts
Besides Sunday masses, some Viennese churches regularly stage organ concerts, such as the Church of the Augustines, the University Church and Church St. Peter. Additionally, the concert series at Schottenkirche combines organ with piano, violin or a voice soloist. Although these concerts are generally free most guests make a small donation.
Since free organ concerts take place infrequently, it’s worth starting your research upfront. Watch out for amazing organ music from Wolfgang A. Mozart, Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert. In order to facilitate your search visit the website of the Association of Viennese Organ concerts.
When in Vienna, you can now explore the city’s rich music history with an expert at hand. Off the big stages, renowned Austrian conductor and pianist Christoph Campestrini will discuss classical Viennese music with private clients and small groups: from Mozart and Beethoven to Schubert, from Strauß to Mahler. All you need to bring is a love for classical music.
Vienna Unwrapped reader Lillian Martin and her son Ethan spent an evening with Maestro Campestrini on the piano, and later at a concert. Find out more about this Vienna music experience.
My Vienna Concert Highlights 2023
Almost every month, there is a music festival or a one special one off concert that you shouldn’t miss. Some of them take place at the Vienna Musikverein, the illustrious home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
If you’d like to listen to a particular type of music check my favourite local festivals in the Vienna Music Festival guide. To find out about special one-off concerts, visit my monthly highlights for
January:Things to do in Vienna, January
February:Things to do in Vienna, February
March:Things to do in Vienna, March
April:Things to do in Vienna, April
May:Things to do in Vienna, May
June:Things to do in Vienna, June
July:Things to do in Vienna, July
August:Things to do in Vienna, August
September:Things to do in Vienna, September
October:Things to do in Vienna, October
November:Things to do in Vienna, November
December:Things to do in Vienna, December
For most classical Vienna concerts there is no need for ‘black tie’ dressing unless you attend the New Year’s Concert. Specificdress codesfor certain concerts, if any, will be indicated when you buy the tickets.
Vienna Concerts: What Other Visitors Have Asked
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…
Classical Concerts Dress Code
We are going to be in Vienna for a few days and on April 25th we are going to Die große Operettengala ‘Salute to Vienna’ …