On a visit to the City of Music, there are more than enough options available to choose from if you’re looking to take in the musical culture. From the long-standing Vienna Boys’ Choir in the grand surroundings of the Hofburg Chapel, to smaller, more intimate venues, whatever you’re looking for is taking place somewhere nearby. There are also modern entertainments, but while you’re here, you should get a taste of old Vienna.
It might take a while, but once you’ve decided what you want to see, you’ll need some tickets. Fortunately, finding concerts and buying tickets has never been easier. Find out more about how to see upcoming concerts in Vienna below.
As one of the world centres for classical music, there are numerous orchestral performances that take place regularly in historical buildings such as the Musikverein, Wiener Konzerthaus and the Kursalon. Apart from the Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra), there’s a dedicated Mozart Orchestra, and a Royal Orchestra.
Special performances also take place in churches, or in the orangerie at Schönbrunn. Chamber music is often played at Schloss Laudon. Cafes provide more intimate venues for small piano concerts if the thought of crowds is off-putting.
Then there are the most famous names in the Viennese music scene: the Opera and the Boys’ Choir. Naturally, the former is best viewed at the State Opera House, but there’s also the Vienna Volksoper, which holds a few hundred performances a year of its own, and the Theater an der Wien, with its own opera company. The Boys’ Choir can be seen regularly at their own venue, MuTh (which stands for Musik und Theater), and on Sundays at the Hofburg Chapel.
For these two, which are the most popular, it’s recommended that you buy tickets as far in advance as possible. For other performances, you may be lucky enough to get seats at the last minute, but as always, the early buyer gets the best pick of the bunch. Most venues and companies have dedicated websites where you can purchase tickets, but if you’re looking for something less specific, or if you want to attend several performances across the city, you can simplify your search with a little bit of know-how.
Vienna Concerts is an official contractual partner of the venues and orchestras, and a very useful English-language resource for buying tickets, even at the last minute. It’s also a great place to go if you haven’t decided what you want to see yet; the calendar allows you to look up the dates of your stay to see what’s happening around the city while you’re there. All of the big performances are there.
One more thing that you should catch, if you can, is something more quotidian: a performance of Wienerlied, Vienna’s own style of traditional music. These songs are sung in the Viennese dialect and usually express some aspect of life in the city – love, death and wine are common themes. While humour is another common feature, Wienerlieder can also be sad or angry. Modern bands continue the tradition, sometimes blending the traditional sound with more contemporary ones.
For visitors in the spring, listening to this unique sound is easily done, as around the end of April and the start of May is the annual wean hean, a festival celebrating Wienerlieder. Performances are held around the city, so there’s no excuse not to go.
During the rest of the year, your best bet is to head to a heuriger, or wine tavern. These iconic parts of Viennese life have long been centres of Wienerlieder, and nowadays it’s no different. Heuriger Hengl-Haselbrunner holds traditional performances every Tuesday, almost year-round; and the Liebhartstaler Bockkeller has more contemporary groups on the first Monday of every month, as well as groups playing Schrammelmusik, a type of local folk music. There’s also the option of taking a Wienerlied boat ride – a relaxing blend of music, food and wine as you drift down the ever-present waters of the Danube.
No matter what your tastes, there’s a concert to suit everyone, and it’s easy to discover what’s on and how to get tickets. Musical performances are at your fingertips, just waiting for you to find them.