There are one to three dozen Vienna concerts in my hometown every day. They range from tourist traps to high quality music events. Make sure you avoid scams. I will show you how. You will also find a list of great and good concerts below, some even for free. Where there are caveats I will say so – there can be a fine line between a concert popular with tourists and a tourist trap.
Use this checklist to find a fantastic Vienna concert that is worth its money.
I often find that music from small ensembles at intimate places connects you more deeply with tunes and composers. St. Peter’s baroque church is such an intimate place, especially its crypt. A few travellers who heard that quartet ‘pull their strings’ would agree. ‘The fingering on some of the pieces was like the birds singing.’ (source: TripAdvisor). Prepare for signature pieces of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Vivaldi and more by Classic Ensemble Vienna. Read my review in Vienna Secret Classical Music.
Dates: weekends and certain weekdays throughout the year; 8.00 pm
Mozart Piano Sonatas At St. Peter’s
The baroque church of St. Peter is another splendid location to indulge in Mozart music. On Saturdays and Sundays you can listen to international pianists performing Mozart piano sonatas solo on a Steinway piano at the crypt.
The acoustics are great and the ambiente quite atmospheric. The concerts start in the early evening and last just 45 minutes – great for busy travellers and families.
Dates: throughout the year
Wolfgang Mozart’s famous Requiem sounds magnificent at St. Charles Borromeo. The sumptuous baroque church has a spectacular dome and colourful frescoes. Since the Mozart anniversary in 2006, the Orchestra 1756 (Mozart’s year of birth) and the Heinrich Biber choir perform the Requiem here every Saturday. The Mozart requiem has since turned it into one of the most popular Vienna Concerts. More than 40 musicians play on historical instruments, replicating the ambiente of the Requiem’s premiere in the 18th century. You will likely be in the company of a few other travellers avoiding variete shows to listen to Mozart.
Dates: from 11th March
Vienna Concerts. I would give my right arm if my own boy could sing like that. The choir boys of this 500-year-old institution have exceptional voices. They lend them to top classical Austrian music pieces from Mozart and Haydn to Bruckner and Schubert, as well as to international and modern choir music.
Access the concert calendars of three different locations in Vienna on the Vienna Boys Choir page.
Thanks to its acoustics and beauty, our landmark St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the best places to listen to classical Vienna concerts. The music ensembles are good quality, and sometimes you can hear the acclaimed ensemble of the Vienna University of Music and the Arts play there. My favourites are the concerts in the attic of Stephansdom. Expect regular Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concerts during the summer and early autumn of 2017, not to forget the Advent and Christmas concerts. Learn more in Stephansdom.
Free Organ Concerts
Some Viennese churches regularly stage organ concerts, such as the Church of the Augustines, the University Church and Church St. Peter. The concert series at Schottenkirche combines organ with piano, violin or a voice soloist. These concerts are generally free though most guests make a small donation.
If you are lucky you will come across amazing organ music from Wolfgang A. Mozart, Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert. Find out more on the website of the Association of Viennese Organ concerts.
Vivaldi At Karlskirche
Dates: from 17th March 2017
Concerts In Mozart’s House
Enjoy Mozart music under the fresco-decorated vaulted ceilings of a monastery where Mozart lived and composed for a few weeks. Four string players perform Viennese chamber music and string quartets, mostly by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This concert is very popular with tourists. Compared to a church concert it is more expensive, and the acoustics are so so. If you don’t mind intimate settings the small room seating around 50 will appeal to you.
Dates: almost daily;
Vienna Concerts. ‘It is the special sound’, say some. ‘It’s the world class conductors’, say others. Bein a real elite orchestra, the Philharmonics attract thousands of travellers to the city each year, and even more in front of the TV screens each 1st January, to watch them live performing the New Year’s Concert. Is it worth getting tickets at Musikverein, and how to reliably get Vienna New Year’s Concert tickets when you haven’t won the online drawing? There are a few hurdles you need to take but it’s not impossible for a prepared traveller to experience this orchestra live. to Access my special guide on the most elusive of Vienna attractions, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. See also Vienna New Years Concert ticket information.
Vienna Jazz Festival
Locations: various across Vienna, from the Vienna State Opera and Vienna Konzerthaus to open air concerts at City Hall square to Hundertwasser-designed incineration plant.
Programme and Tickets: visit website
Wien Modern is the ultimate Vienna festival for contemporary music. The event provides an international platform for developments in contemporary music, supported by dance, performance, visual arts, film and video. Each festival is related to a theme. At 2016’s Pop.Song.Voice you went to the bottom of pop sounds, lyrics, and the interplay of composed music, multimedia compositions, video and electronics. You can choose between 50 events at 16 locations.
Dates: 31st October to 1st December 2017
Seasonal Vienna Concerts
Spring is the season of music festivals in Vienna, and the start of a few annual concert series. Listen to international clarinettist Sabine Meyer playing Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto at the Vienna Musikverein’s Golden Hall. In 2017, you will get the opportunity to listen to Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition at Musikverein. In mid May, feel the walls of Theater an der Wien vibrate with a powerful interpretation of Joseph Haydn’s The Creation.
Many local classical orchestras and venues take a summer break in July and August. There are the all-year-round tourist Vienna concerts at elegant town palaces such as Wiener Kursalon, Palais Auersperg, Palais Eschenbach or Palais Palffy. They fall under, what I would call, tourist traps. Consider alternative options such as church concerts and open air summer operettas, as well as quality music festivals.
Without exaggeration, these Vienna Danube concerts are more than a classical concert series. They are local Viennese Dr. Mai’s childhood dream come true. On summer nights, he attaches a couple of stylish sofa boats to a floating concert platform and sends you across the quiet waters of the Old Danube to the tunes of Haydn, Mozart, Strauss and Schubert. This experience is unique and not in any tourist guide (yet). Read more about the Vienna Danube concerts.
Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn Palace
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s annual free open air concert in the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, with fireworks. In 2016, acclaimed Russian conductor Semyon Bychkov (Chairs at Royal Academy of Music and BBC Symphony Orchestra), will lead the Vienna Philharmonics. Expect a spectacular show with top quality classical music.
Location: Schönbrunn Palace, palace gardens, in front of Neptune fountain; Schönbrunner Schloss- strasse 47 1130 Vienna,
Tickets: free admission.
Access the calendar for Summer Music Events in Vienna.
Open Air Concerts at Grafenegg Castle
Grafenegg Castle in the Danube’s Wachau Valley is an insider spot for lovers of classical and jazz music. Each summer top musicians and orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra perform at this 19th century romantic castle.
Between 22nd June and 10th September 2017, the ‘Cloud Tower’ auditorium will air sounds of famous classical composers.
Time: Summernight Gala – 16th and 17th June; Summer Concerts – 25th June to 13th August; Grafenegg Festival – 19th August to 11th September
Location: Grafenegg Castle; Schlosstrasse 10, 3485 Grafenegg
Tickets: visit website
Transfer: A private car and driver can take you straight to the concerts in around one hour, and pick you up. Get in touch for help.
The Christmas season offers classical music you may not listen to throughout the year: trumpets, choirs, and clearly Christmas Carols. Many of them take place in Vienna’s sumptuous baroque churches and at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The best concerts in 2016:
Candlelight Concert (see photo)
International soloists Soprano Diana Jacklin and Violinist Hartmut Ometzberger perform A Light at Christmas Time. Diana and Hartmut are the only voice and violin duo in the world (!). Hear their Christmas story through music and with candlelight in one of Vienna’s most beautiful small baroque churches. I’ve been there and loved the intimate yet festive atmosphere.
Date: 2017 date to be announced in November 2017
Location: St. Anne’s Church (heated), Annagasse 3B 1010 Vienna; just off Kärtnerstrasse
Tickets: EUR 20 (children under 18 years: EUR 10); get tickets onsite, 30 min before concert starts; to reserve tickets, call 0043 699 1923 1912;
Dates: various between 2nd and 23rd December 2017
Magic Trumpet at St. Anne’s Church Vienna
Location: St. Anne’s Church, Annagasse 3B, 1010 Vienna
Classic Ensemble at St. Peter’s (Advent adaptation)
Location: Peterskirche, Petersplatz 1, 1010 Vienna
Christmas Trumpet at Malteserkirche
Dates: to 28;
Location: Malteserkirche, Kärntner Strasse 37, 1010 Vienna
Traditional Bolschoi Christmas Concert (festive setting and national costumes)
Location: Wiener Konzerthaus, Lothringer Strasse 20, 1030 Vienna
Vienna Concerts.Vienna’s new year’s eve concerts cover both classical and contemporary concerts. 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 lay out the whole evening before you travel you can book some classical concerts together with a dinner package. Learn more about New Year’s Eve concerts in Vienna.
New Year’s Day Concerts and feedback on the Vienna New Year Concert
New Year’s Day is the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s annual New Year’s Concert, which is broadcast all over the world. The New Year’s concert is so popular that tickets are sold via a ballot. Registration takes place during a few weeks in January. If you weren’t lucky at the ballots, you can buy tickets via third party ticket providers. Prices are quite elevated for this level of classical experience. I have spoken with a local Viennese and with a traveller who both attended the concert to find out whether it was worth it – read their feedback in Vienna New Year Concert. Get more Vienna New Year’s Concert ticket information.
My Vienna Concert Highlights 2017
Almost every month, there is 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. Access these concert tips on
Things to do in Vienna, January
Things to do in Vienna, February
Things to do in Vienna, March
Things to do in Vienna, April
Things to do in Vienna, May
Things to do in Vienna, June
Things to do in Vienna, July
Things to do in Vienna, August
Things to do in Vienna, September
Things to do in Vienna, October
Things to do in Vienna, November
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. Specific dress codes for certain concerts, if any, will be indicated when you buy the tickets.
What Other Visitors Have Asked
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