Vienna Symphony Orchestra

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The Vienna Symphony Orchestra is a symphony orchestra that performs around 160 times a year, around 110 of which are in Vienna . They are active as a touring orchestra around the world , play a substantial part of the opera productions in the Theater an der Wien and are Orchestra in Residence at the Bregenz Festival .



Chart positions
Explanation of the data
Wiener Festwochen ( Rainhard Fendrich & Wiener Symphoniker)
  AT 1Template: Infobox chart placements / maintenance / NR1 link 07/05/1992 (18 weeks)
From Vienna with Love ( Conchita Wurst & Wiener Symphoniker)
  AT 1Template: Infobox chart placements / maintenance / NR1 link
11/02/2018 (9 weeks)
  DE 77 10/26/2018 (1 week)
  CH 84 28.10.2018 (1 week)
The Symphoniker with Bertrand de Billy at the Festival of Joy , Vienna 2013
Wiener Konzerthaus

The orchestra was founded in 1900 as the Vienna Concert Association with the aim of allowing the general public to participate in cultural life by attending affordable concerts. So at the beginning of the 20th century, so-called popular concerts were held, in which salon pieces for orchestra or potpourris were often played. The first concert took place on October 30, 1900 under Ferdinand Löwe . The orchestra brought a number of important works to premiere or Austrian premiere , as Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 (UA), Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 6 (EA) and Franz Schmidt's The Book with Seven Seals (UA). The Workers' Symphony Concerts , which have been organized by the Socialist Education Center under David Josef Bach since 1907 and were often directed by Anton Webern in the 1920s, were also of great cultural and political importance .

In 1913 the concert venue, the Wiener Konzerthaus , was inaugurated. The upper-class patronage support came to an abrupt end in the First World War , the orchestra was merged with the Wiener Tonkünstler-Orchester and from 1921 entered the service of the two major Viennese concert organizers as the Vienna Symphony Orchestra , without giving concerts independently. Since 1924, the newly founded Radio Verkehrs-AG (RAVAG) had been using the orchestra's services for performances, but a permanent financial crisis remained. Richard Strauss conducted charity “monster concerts” in which the Vienna Symphony Orchestra performed together with the Vienna Philharmonic .

In 1933, RAVAG, already controlled by the corporate state, took over 50% of the orchestra services and forced the termination of the orchestra service contracts. Jewish musicians were dismissed and the orchestra continued to operate under the name Wiener Symphoniker with a new organizational statute and worsened employment regulations. Oswald Kabasta became the new head of the orchestra, and the Wiener Symphoniker received international attention for the first time on major tours in England and Italy in 1935 and 1937. After the National Socialist takeover, the orchestra was communalized for the first time in its history and placed in the first category in accordance with the tariff regulations for German cultural orchestras, which meant fee increases of up to 30% for the musicians. It is therefore not surprising that among them (as with the Vienna Philharmonic ) there was a disproportionately large number of party members and candidates. Until 1944 the orchestra played a. a. in KdF concerts, in the Reichsrundfunk and in the major Viennese concert series, before it was shut down in August this year - already considerably reduced in terms of personnel due to conscription calls .

After the end of the war, Viennese concert life was resurrected under unimaginably difficult conditions. The “Festival Concert for the Reconstruction of the Orchestra” took place on September 16, 1945 and brought Mahler's 3rd Symphony - music by a composer who had not been played since 1933. Since almost all important conductors fell under the denazification regulations , Hans Swarowsky took over the post of chief conductor at short notice, and Josef Krips was also instrumental in rebuilding concert life. From 1948 Herbert von Karajan was the concert director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien, quasi chief conductor of the orchestra, and achieved great international success with him on tours in Germany in 1950 and 1953. From an organizational point of view, however, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, now subsidized by the City of Vienna, continued to function as a rental orchestra without its own house and program autonomy. The first “real” chief conductor after the end of the war, Wolfgang Sawallisch , suffered as a result, under whose direction the orchestra first undertook major overseas trips to America and Japan in the 1960s . Even Carlo Maria Giulini failed because of the inextricable organizational structure and resigned after three years chief conductor of time (1973-76).

It was not until the 1980s that the orchestra gained a certain degree of autonomy from concert organizers and was able to organize its own concerts in their halls. In addition, their cooperation with each other and with the orchestra management improved considerably and led to a far more professional program and schedule planning. After an interlude with Gennady Roschdestwensky , the collaboration with Georges Prêtre as first guest conductor and with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Vladimir Fedoseyev led to gratifying results. Between 1986 and 1996 the orchestra, in collaboration with Christian Kolonovits, also enjoyed success as the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra Project (VSOP) with several long players and concert tours. In autumn 2005 Fabio Luisi took over the position of chief conductor, who ended his activity in 2013. The Swiss Philippe Jordan has been chief conductor since 2014 . In 2018, the Colombian conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada was appointed as Jordan's successor from the 2021/2 season. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra has been playing the annual National Day concert since 2006, and the TV Easter Concert Spring in Vienna for more than 40 years.

The orchestra's area of ​​responsibility is diverse. In addition to six cycles that the orchestra organizes together with the Wiener Konzerthaus , it includes two cycles for the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in the Wiener Musikverein and a chamber music cycle as an in-house event, as well as numerous special concerts. In addition, the Wiener Symphoniker have been playing several opera productions every year since 2006 in the Theater an der Wien , which after a long period as a musical stage is used again exclusively for opera productions. In addition, tours have taken place in Europe and overseas; the Wiener Symphoniker have performed every summer since 1946 at the Bregenz Festival , with whose development they are closely connected. Recently, the orchestral work has also found an important addition in the direction of youth work, benefit and open-air concerts. Since the 2017–18 season, the Wiener Symphoniker have also been leaving their traditional venues in the heart of Vienna for the Grätzl concerts and bringing their music to Vienna's municipal districts.

In 1951 the Symphony Orchestra was one of the winners of the Karl Renner Prize .

Criticism from the Court of Auditors

An audit carried out by the Vienna City Audit Office and published in 2017 by the Wiener Symphoniker Association criticized a number of issues for the audit period from 2013 to 2015. According to the report, in addition to the musicians' salary scheme, the additional pensions granted to employees before 2016 are decisive for the financially precarious situation of the club.

The Court of Auditors also criticized the generous regulations regarding the non-termination of the already employed musicians in the course of the abolition of pragmatization in 2015 and the granting of generous anniversary bonuses in the past. He also sees too much staff and underutilization of the musicians on full pay. At the same time, some of the orchestra members took on extra paid sideline jobs such as teaching or engagements in ensembles. Another point of criticism was the incomplete implementation of the recommendations from the inspection report of the control office at the time in 2006.

Intendant Johannes Neubert told the daily newspaper Der Standard : “The results of the orchestra are balanced. Our company also stands up to the comparison with other European symphony orchestras - with regard to the amount of subsidy, capacity utilization, audience numbers and degree of self-coverage. "The problem of the" balance sheet loss ", says Neubert," arises from provisions that we have in the balance sheet for a pension statute that was terminated eleven years ago need to form. There is, however, a guarantee from the City of Vienna for this, which cannot be shown in the balance sheet. ”This“ contaminated site is a challenge for the orchestra as well as for the municipality of Vienna.

At the end of 2015, the balance sheet loss was 64.08 million euros. Since 2012, this means an increase of 10.3% in just four years, which was mainly due to a changed interest rate in the calculation of the provisions for the additional pensions promised to employees. In 2015, these pension provisions amounted to around EUR 60.03 million. The fictitious debt repayment period was approx. 93 years.

The subsidies from the City of Vienna have increased by 41.6% in 10 years since 2005. In 2013, the Wiener Symphoniker Association received basic funding of 14 million euros from the municipality of Vienna, additional funding of 146,000 euros and federal funding of 254,355 euros. In 2014, the funding approved by the municipal council increased to 14.64 million euros and in 2015 to 14.92 million.


The orchestra's chief conductors were:

Many other famous conductors also stood at the orchestra's podium, such as Claudio Abbado , Leonard Bernstein , Karl Böhm , Sergiu Celibidache , Jascha Horenstein , Rudolf Kattnigg , Carlos Kleiber , Otto Klemperer , Christian Kolonovits , Lorin Maazel , Bruno Maderna , Zubin Mehta , Karl Richter , Mendi Rodan , Horst Stein , Bruno Walter and Bruno Weil .


Anton Bruckner Ring


See also

Web links

Commons : Vienna Symphony  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Chart sources: Charts AT DE CH
  2. Awards: AT
  3. Manfred Permoser: The Vienna Symphony Orchestra in the Nazi State, Vienna 2000
  4. ^ VSOP - The Vienna Symphonic Orchestra Project. Retrieved December 5, 2015 .
  5. Spring in Vienna · 20./21. April 2019 | Vienna Symphony Orchestra . In: Wiener Symphoniker . December 13, 2016 ( [accessed October 9, 2018]).
  6. ^ Wiener Symphoniker from January on Vienna-Tounee. Retrieved October 9, 2018 .
  7. Vienna City Hall Correspondence, December 13, 1951, sheet 2230
  8. Vienna City Hall Correspondence, January 26, 1952, sheet 111
  9. ^ Ljubiša Tošić: Financial management of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra: diligence and its price. In: . November 6, 2017, accessed October 9, 2018 .
  10. ^ Association of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, examination of the conduct, review; Subsidy audit at, accessed on June 7, 2018
  11. Wiener Symphoniker waste tax money, accessed on June 7, 2018
  12. ^ Wiener Symphoniker: Wolfgang Sawallisch
  13. ^ Andrés Orozco-Estrada becomes chief conductor of the Wiener Symphoniker . Article dated March 29, 2018, accessed March 29, 2018.
  14. ^ Jan Nast is the new director of the Symphony Orchestra . ORF, July 1, 2019, accessed on July 2, 2019.
  15. Franco Faccio's “Hamlet” live-time-shifted from the Bregenz Festival. In: July 19, 2016, accessed October 22, 2017 .