What are the best music festivals in Vienna in 2021? As always in Vienna, do have your ear on the ground in this ‘city of music’. If you are serious about music why not pick a Vienna music festival and then treat yourself to a daily dose of gorgeous tunes? To help you do that I have pulled together a festival guide for my home city:
Vienna Music Festival Guide. Prefer Bach to Mozart, motet to serenade? Each January, Vienna celebrates Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music for nine days. If you love to explore Old Europe’s sounds of harpsichords, recorders, lutes, and guitars, dive into the annual Resonanzen Festival.
For the past 28 years, the festival has been gathering top international orchestras and ensembles under a different theme. In 2021, the local Konzerthaus will turn into Noah’s Arc under the theme ‘Frutti di Mare’. On 23rd January, four different Ancient Music Ensembles will present musical treasures from the Hallstatt culture to music from the mid 18th century.
Dates: 23rd January 2021
Location: Wiener Konzerthaus, Lothringer Strasse 20, 1030 Vienna
Tickets: get tickets
Vienna Music Festival Guide. When you hear Akkordeon tunes, do you think of popular festivals, buskers and silent movies, too? Instead of searching for a street musician on Kärntner Strasse you can hear accordion bands at local events between mid February and mid March. In a mix of classical, popular and jazz concerts the best performers from Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Israel Italy, Poland and more countries will unfold their skills. On top of that, you will cut deep into Vienna’s urban fabric at venues such as Schutzhaus Zukunft, Café Mocca and Sargfabrik.
Listen here to a collection of the 2019 festival highlights:
Dates: 20th February to 21st March 2021
Tickets and Program: available from early 2021 at the event website
Vienna Music Festival Guide. What on earth have the Wiener Festwochen in common with The Sound of Music? Actually, both helped Austria after the Nazi Regime to re-set its image and re-connect with the world. While Hollywood adapted history in The Sound of Music, the Vienna Festival actively makes you think about Austria’s past in a forward-looking way through art and culture.
Since the 1950’s, the Wiener Festwochen blend the established with the latest in local and international art, music, dance, theater, performance, installation, and workshops. As much as unheard-of newcomers also classical artists form part of the festival.
During Austria’s largest cultural festival, expect fresh approaches to world classics performed by top orchestras, conductors, theater producers and singers. This photo shows Hungarian film maker Béla Tarr. Definitely, the festival’s highlight is the grand opening show in front of Vienna City Hall (free admission).
Due to current restrictions caused by Covid-19, the Vienna Festival will switch to a different format. On 16th May, the initial opening speech will be held online and broadcast in local media. From 15th May to 20th June, the Vienna Festival will use social media and the internet for daily extracts – ‘ gestures’ – of each program piece that cannot be performed in front of a live audience. From 2nd June, a few Vienna Festival artists will host installations in public spaces such as at Karlsplatz/Kärntnertor passageway. In addition, curator Miguel A. Lopez will transform his prologue And if I devoted my life to one of its feathers? into a billboard campaign across the city.
Dates: 14th May to 20th June 2021
Locations: various across Vienna
Programme and tickets: go to website
Vienna Music Festival Guide. Clearly, the Wiener Konzerthaus, the home of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, adores any kind of great music. Hence, its widely praised ‘Internationales Musikfest’ embraces the finest of classical and modern music as well as jazz and contemporary tunes. During seven weeks in May and June, you can choose from a dazzling array of events. All of them star top national and international orchestras, ensembles and soloists. In 2021, the concert series focuses on ancient Greek hero Prometheus, the visionary and creator of human civilization. Prepare for beautiful pieces by Beethoven, Liszt, Skrjabin and Nono that explicitly relate to the mythological figure.
Dates: 23rd May to 29th June 2021
Location: Wiener Konzerthaus, Lothringer Strasse 20, 1030 Vienna
Programme and Tickets: check the festival programme and more performances and get tickets
Vienna Music Festival Guide. Although the annual Donauinselfest (Danube Island Festival) has traditionally been Europe’s largest free open air festival it will slim down considerably this year. For two days, the long stretch of the Danube Island will host an outdoor party for no more than 1,250 guests, instead of several thousand. If you want to experience the best of Austria’s pop culture, join fun loving people, along with pop stars and radio stations, for three free shows, Vienna sausages, kebabs and beer. On Saturday (19th) evening, prepare for a show for ‘all generations’, while Sunday morning will host a mix of Schlager and folk music. The early evening will be dedicated to cabaret artists.
For the first time in its history, the festival toured all 23 Vienna districts last year, prior to its final shows on the Danube Island. Because of Covid19 restrictions, a tour bus brought 240 pop music and cabaret acts live into the neighborhoods.
Date: June 2021
Location: Danube Island (Donauinsel) – check website for program updates;
Vienna Music Festival Guide. Just outside of Vienna, Grafenegg Castle in the Danube’s Wachau Valley has become 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 romantic 19th century castle.
Between August and September, the ‘Cloud Tower’ auditorium will air sounds of famous classical composers. in 2021, the festival will again present a colorful mix of 18th and 19th century classics, jazz and swing to cult film music. Expect to hear Beethoven’s Eroica symphony, Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony, Schubert’s Unifnished to Ennio Morricone highlights.
Time: 10th June to 2nd September 2021
Location: Grafenegg Castle; Schlosstrasse 10, 3485 Grafenegg
Programme and Tickets: from early 2021, get tickets for various performances (the ticket site also offers a resale service in case your trip plans change). In case of bad weather there is an option to move the open air event to the onsite Auditorium.
Transfer And More: Conveniently, a festival shuttle bus runs from Vienna to Grafenegg and back. However, once you travel to Grafenegg you may as well visit UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wachau Valley nearby. For example, you could take a boat ride on the Danube, followed by lunch at a winery and exploring baroque Melk Abbey before getting showered with music and fireworks at Grafenegg. Get in touch if you need assistance.
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
Klezmore Vienna Festival
Vienna Music Festival Guide. When the Klezmer clarinets start teasing, laughing and chatting with you Jewish Vienna and its European heritage flourish again. During two weeks in November the Vienna Klezmore Orchestra along with other bands from Europe and overseas stage a dozen vibrant concerts across town. With that much Jewish dance music and Yiddish songs from the Steppes and Shtetls it’s hard to stay seated.
Wien Modern Festival
Vienna Music Festival Guide. Wien Modern is the ultimate local festival for contemporary music. Uniquely for Vienna, the event provides an international platform for contemporary music, supported by dance, performance, visual arts, film and video. In this photo from Wien Modern you see the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra under the baton of French conductor Sylvain Cambreling.
Each festival is related to a theme. In 2020, ‘mood/atmosphere’ will set the scene, through orchestra music, electronic music, film, workshops and performances. In general, you can choose between 50 events at around 16 locations.
Dates: end October to end November 2021