Vienna is undoubtedly the world capital of classical music. The Classical movement started here, and many of the great composers lived and worked here for at least part of their lives.
Even today, the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic continue the classical tradition and are some of the best performers of classical music in the world.With this long and rich history, it can be daunting to plan a music-focused trip to Vienna. After all, you can only visit so many museums and listen to so many performances before getting burned out.
During our stay in Vienna, we checked out 4 of the best musical spots in the city. If you’re looking to experience the music scene during your stay, we’d like to recommend these as a perfect starter!
Haus der Musik
This was a really nice, modern museum that you could spend hours in. The first floor is all about the Vienna Philharmonic and its history, complete with a seating area where they play a video of a Vienna Philharmonic concert (perfect if you can’t score tickets to the real thing!).
The second floor is all about the physics of sound and has tons of really cool interactive exhibits. The third floor has a room for each of the great composers, and a free audio guide giving tons of information on the composers.
I love a good cemetery, especially when famous people are buried there. To get to the cemetery you can take the 6 or 71 tram directly, or the U3 metro if you want to walk a bit to the entrance. Enter at gate #2 (the main gate). If you go straight down the major path, the section with the composers is on the left (it’s labeled “Musiker”). Beethoven, Brahms, Johann Strauss I and II, and Schubert are all buried there, and there is also a Mozart memorial. If you keep walking down the major path, you’ll see the church (which is pretty impressive inside); Schonberg is buried closer to the church along the main path. You can get a map of the graves in the cemetery office if there are any other graves you’re interested in seeing.
Vienna Mozart Orchestra
We wanted to see a concert in the hall where the Vienna Philharmonic plays (Grober Saal in the Musikverein), and this was the only concert going on when we were there. The cheapest tickets were 45 Euro but I think it was worth it just to see the sparkling, golden hall. The musicians and singers were good (many from the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna Opera) and they dress up in period costumes which is kind of fun (obviously these concerts are geared more for tourists).
Of course, there’s also the Vienna Opera which we would have loved to hear, but they weren’t performing when we were there.
The Vienna Museum operates museums in former houses/apartments of Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, and Haydn. The museums are free with the Vienna City card, or 4 Euro each without the card. Some of the museums are more worthwhile than others. The Beethoven Pasqualatihaus didn’t have any information in English and it was pretty bare; it had a piano that he owned and some copies of some of his compositions. It also had the famous portrait of Beethoven done by Willibrord Joseph Mähler.
The Haydn house was a great museum with lots of his personal belongings and all descriptions in English. It also had a Brahms memorial room (since Brahms’ house in Vienna has been torn down).
Vienna has a wealth of musical opportunities for people with varied interests in classical music. Those with deeper interests in classical music will enjoy seeing the houses and gravesites of some of the most important and famous classical composers. Even if you’re not a huge classical music fan, I highly recommend checking out at least one concert while you’re in Vienna. With an abundance of highly talented musicians and a wide variety of venues and performance groups, you’re bound to find something interesting!
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