Vienna, October 19, 1913. The cornerstone of the Konzerthaus in Vienna is laid, and everyone who is anyone in Vienna is present at the opening concert, including the sovereign protector of this major project, the aged Kaiser Franz Joseph I. And they are there despite the fact that the Konzerthaus is explicitly intended as a counterpole to the grandiose Musikverein, as a hall for all social classes.
The opening program features a mix, typical of the Konzerthaus, of classical and new music, namely Beethoven’s Ninth preceded by the Festive Prelude that Richard Strauss wrote specifically for the occasion. That this work was later appropriated by the Nazis is another matter.
Built in only two years, the building was originally planned to be much larger, an “Olympion” that, in addition to concert halls, would also house a bicycle hall and an ice skating rink, located next to an open air arena designed to host events for up to 40,000 people. But even in the “pure” Konzerthaus, 4000 people are able to pass in and out unimpeded to visit this “meeting place of artistic aspirations,” this “house of music” and “house for Vienna.”
© Ulla Pilz, ORF - Radio Österreich 1


  • 1910 several musical organizations join together to form a private association, the Vienna Konzerthaus Society, which continues to operate the Konzerthaus to this day.

  • The Konzerthaus is a joint project of Silesian architect Ludwig Baumann and experienced theater architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Gottlieb Helmer.

  • The building originally consists of three halls, the Small, Mozart, and Great halls (the latter with over 1800 seats); in 2002 the Berio Hall is added in the basement; all the halls can host concerts simultaneously.

  • The organ in the Great Hall was made by the Rieger organ building company and is Austria’s largest organ, as well as the largest concert organ in Europe.

  • The Vienna Konzerthaus is also home to internationally-acclaimed festivals, with the Resonanzen Early Music Festival at the beginning of the year and the wien modern Festival in autumn.

  • The long-time ensembles-in-residence are the Vienna Symphony, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Quatuor Mosaïques, Hagen Quartet, and Klangforum Wien.

  • Youth programs are also given priority at the Vienna Konzerthaus, embodied by the Vereine Musica juventutis (for young professional musicians) and Superar (for supporting young people through music), both based here.

  • The Vienna Konzerthaus currently presents over 500 events and 55 different subscription series each year; making music accessible to larger audiences has taken on a key role since Matthias Naske became Artistic Director in 2013.

Did you know?

  • The architecture of the Konzerthaus is very much a child of its time, in which the final offshoots of a historicist Empire style merge with elements of Secession and Art Nouveau in a unique way.

  • Since its inception the Vienna Konzerthaus was the home of the “worker symphony concerts,” and until 1934 an important venue for different events of the workers’ movement and social democracy.

  • 1934 the famous popular-theater actress Hansi Niese collapses in the lobby of the Konzerthaus and dies on the way to the hospital.

  • Several Artistic Directors of the Konzerthaus also have a major impact after moving on: Hans Landesmann is instrumental at the Salzburg Festival, Alexander Pereira at the Zurich Opera and La Scala in Milan, and Christoph Lieben-Seutter directs the Elbphilharmonie.

  • 2017 the “folk rock ‘n’ roller” Andreas Gabalier sues Matthias Naske, Artistic Director of the Konzerthaus, alleging that he will not allow him to perform in his venue. The lawsuit is dismissed by the court of first instance, an appeal has been filed.

  • The current president of the Konzerthaus association, Christian Konrad, describes the venue, which derives only 12% of its budget from public funding, as “certainly the least-subsidized cultural enterprise in Central Europe.”