Austria - Land of Music

Austria - Land of Music | Editor: Florian Lieke

Austria - homeland of Mozart, Falco and Co. But what has Austria really got to offer regarding music? That is what we will reveal here.

Orchestra at Vienna Konzerthaus

Music of Austria: Classical Music

"Land of mountains, land by the river" - the Austrian national anthem begins with these lines and alludes - quite clearly - both to the many mountains and to the second longest river in Europe, the Danube. But another point also plays an important role in Austria and belongs more or less to the national cultural heritage: music! In particular Vienna has been considered the world's capital of classical music for centuries. In no other city in the world have so many famous composers lived, wrote music and created world-famous pieces of music. From Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Anton Bruckner, Johann Strauss, Franz Schubert to Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven - the list is long.

And even today everyone can whistle along to Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik or sway to the Danube waltz An der schönen blauen Donau by Johann Strauss. This is the reason why there is still a breath of music in the air of Austria's capital. If you want to be taken back in time, we recommend a visit to the Vienna Hofburg Orchestra or the Vienna Philharmonic. At different locations that are full of history and at the same time full of atmosphere, as for example the Vienna State Opera or the Vienna Konzerthaus, one dives into the world of classical music for a few hours. Those who like operettas should pay a visit to the Volksoper.


If you can't get regular tickets anymore, you can buy standing room tickets for 10 Euros at the box office about 80 minutes before the beginning of a performance.

Violinists at Vienna Konzerthaus
Conductor in front of orchestra at Vienna Konzerthaus

However, you can also immerse yourself into the world of Strauss & Co. for a few hours in the other federal states. For example, at the Mirabell Palace Concerts in Salzburg or at the Festspielhaus in St. Pölten. The Wiener Sängerknaben provide for extra goose bumps. For more than 500 years, boys between the ages of nine and fourteen have been trained year after year to become choirboys and perform primarily classical operettas, but also world music and pop. In addition to the annual tours, the Boys' Choir regularly performs in the concert hall "MuTh" and in the Vienna Hofburgkapelle. Those who are interested in classical music should definitely consider a visit. Absolutely worth seeing!

Music of Austria: Traditional Music

Of course not only orchestras and operettas play an important role, but also traditional folk music. This is reflected in all possible areas of life where people gather, enjoy life together, celebrate and dance. Traditional music is strongly influenced by brass orchestras and ballroom dancing music. First and foremost, there is the "Schrammelmusik", which is mainly represented in Vienna, where old familiar songs are played in small groups of two to four people and with hardly more than an accordion and guitar. Nowadays the Schrammelmusik can be found especially at the Viennese "Heurigen" and usually represents the icing on the cake of a rustic evening.

Schrammel musicians in the vineyards of Vienna

© WienTourismus/Peter Rigaud

Not to forget and above all internationally known is also the alpine yodelling, which can be found from state to state in various facets. Particularly in Western Austria the so-called Ländler is an essential part of the musical culture. This traditional dance is said to have contributed fundamentally to the waltz that is known worldwide today - which in return also comes from Austria.

Hollywood in Vienna

© Hollywood in Vienna

Music of Austria: Soundtracks

Casablanca, Robin Hood or The Third Man - these award-winning films have one thing in common: the accompanying music was written by Austrian composers. Max Steiner is probably one of the best known Austrian composers and is considered to be the "father of film music" in Hollywood. With his music soundtracks to Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, King Kong and numerous other Hollywood films, he has not only given millions of people goose bumps, but has also inspired and influenced renowned artists such as Hans Zimmer and John Williams to this day. In honour of his numerous successes, the Max Steiner Award was brought into life, which is presented annually to famous composers during the "Hollywood in Vienna" evening gala at the Vienna Konzerthaus.

In addition to Steiner, other film musicians such as Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Anton Karas, Ernest Gold, Fritz Spielmann and Walter Jurmann should also be mentioned, who also strongly influenced the world of film music in their days and were honoured with Oscars or Grammy Awards.

Music of Austria: Modern Music

„Er war Superstar, er war populär, er war so exaltiert, because er hatte Flair! Er war ein Virtuose, war'n Rockidol und alles rief 'Come and rock me Amadeus'!“ With those lines the musician Falco not only made it to the top of the charts in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, but also in the US and has remained the only Austrian in this respect until today. From Rock Me Amadeus to Der Kommissar - Falco has shaped the Austrian music landscape from the bottom up and is jointly responsible for the turnaround and increasing diversity of the Austrian music industry. Especially in the areas of pop, rock, hits and hip-hop, numerous influences and achievements have been recorded over the past decades.

Man playing guitar on stage

One movement in particular deserves special mention: Austropop. Austropop has been a common name for pop music from Austria since the 1960s and has been associated for songs with a clearly recognizable Austrian dialect in the past. Among the most famous representatives of Austropop are Rainhard Fendrich, Georg Danzer, Wolfgang Ambros, E.A.V., Peter Cornelius, S.T.S. and Ludwig Hirsch. The band Opus achieved international success with their hit Live is life. Austropop in a modern form revive Wanda, Pizzera & Jaus as well as Seiler und Speer. In the field of hits, the singer Udo Jürgens was able to prove himself over decades and within the entire German-speaking area.

The artist Conchita Wurst, alias Tom Neuwirth, aroused great international interest by participating and winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014. Since then, Neuwirth has been able to place himself repeatedly in the German-speaking charts with electro pop songs. Sold-out stadiums and millions of fans can be shown by the self-proclaimed "folk rock'n'roller" Andreas Gabalier. With a mix of hits, pop and Austrian folk music, the Carinthian-born artist is successful beyond his own national borders. Parov Stelar, Klangkarussell and MÖWE, on the other hand, mix up national and international clubs and festivals with their electronic sounds. With several number one hits, Austrian rapper RAF Camora is currently one of the most successful rappers in the German-speaking area.

Man singing on stage

Anyone looking for authentic and modern folk music from Austria is best off with Hubert von Goisern's music. In his songs, the Upper Austrian presents Austrian folk music and alpine rock in a lively and rocky way and not least lets numerous international influences and music styles such as reggae, jazz and soul flow into his works.

Interior view of the Vienna State Opera

Music of Austria: Classical Festivals

The annual classical music festivals, which take place in many different provinces and turn the country into a big stage, once again demonstrate the love of Austrians for music. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world are thus entertained year after year by national and international theatre, opera and dance performances. Among the most famous and popular festivals are the Vienna Festival (Vienna), the Seefestspiele in Mörbisch (Burgenland), the Bregenz Festival (Vorarlberg), Salzburg Festival (Salzburg), the Theater Festival in Lower Austria (Lower Austria), the Styriarte (Styria) and the Lehár Festival in Bad Ischl (Upper Austria).

Music of Austria: Festivals

Of course, there are also numerous offers for those who are not interested in classical music and theatre. Especially worth mentioning is the largest open air festival in Europe with free admission: The Danube Island Festival. Year after year, the open-air music festival at the end of June attracts millions of people from all over the world to Vienna's Danube Island and makes it shake. From pop to rock, from famous national to international artists - the Danube Island Festival has something for everyone. For those who prefer rock, we recommend the Nova Rock Festival in Burgenland.

View of crowd at concert

Metalfans will get their money's worth at the Kaltenbach Open Air in the Styrian mountains. Finest electronic sounds and rhythms can be expected at the Frequency Festival in Lower Austria or Electric Love Festival in Salzburg. Jazz lovers are best off at the annual Jazz Festival in Vienna.

Experience the diversity of Austria's music

The musical landscape in Austria is broad, rich in history and diverse. Would you like to learn more about this diversity or would you like to follow the trails of Mozart, Beethoven, Falco & Co.? Then book your next flight to the World Music Capital right here and let yourself be captured by the breath of music. To get you in the mood during your flight we have put together a "Charming Austria Spotify Playlist" for you:

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