House of the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria

The Haus des Musikvereins in Vienna is home to the famous "Goldener Musikvereinssaal", where, as one of the acoustically best halls in the world, the famous New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is played every year.

For short, the "Musikverein" is the name given to the house of the Vienna Musikverein in the capital of Austria. It is located on Musikvereinsplatz in the centre of Vienna and is most famous as the venue for the New Year's Concert, which takes place every year on 1 January and is broadcast in 90 countries.


PICTURES: Musikverein in Vienna

Photo gallery: Haus des Musikvereins in Vienna

Origin of the Musikverein

The ancient columns and pediment reliefs of the Musikverein building in Vienna actually make the impressive building a temple of music, Austria - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

The Vienna Musikverein was founded in 1812 by Joseph Sonnleitner as the "Society of Friends of Music in Vienna" and originally held its concerts at the Tuchlauben, very close to the famous Graben.

The hall at number 12 there, with only 700 seats, soon became too small for the Musikverein's concerts. So in 1863, under Emperor Franz Joseph I, it was decided to erect a concert building opposite the magnificent Karlskirche as part of the extension of the Ringstrasse.

Theophil Hansen was commissioned as architect, who would also lay the foundation stone for the Austrian Parliament in Vienna only 11 years later. Just like the parliament, the Musikverein's house is also strongly influenced by Greek classicism. The ancient columns and gable reliefs actually make the impressive building a temple of music.

The magnificent organ in the Great Hall was also designed by Hansen in its first version, on which Anton Bruckner performed in the Musikverein's first organ concert.

On 6 January 1870, the first concert was held in the Musikverein Hall, whose reputation for excellent acoustics was soon known throughout the world. The musical sound is also excellent in the Brahms Hall, which was designed for small chamber music concerts.

Expansion of the Musikverein House

On January 6, 1870, the first concert was held in the Musikvereinssaal in Vienna, whose excellent acoustics were soon known throughout the world, Austria - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

Since 2004, the Haus des Musikvereins has had four additional halls, located in the basement of the building and partly financed by the Austrian industrialist Frank Stronach.


Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, they were furnished not only with stone and wood but also with the modern building materials glass and metal and named after their respective dominant materials. The four new halls are used not only for concerts but also for rehearsals, workshops, receptions and conferences.

Great Hall (Golden Hall) - one of the best concert halls in the world

In addition to the fantastic acoustics, the Great Hall at the Musikverein in Vienna with its red and gold ornamentation is also a feast for the eyes architecturally, Austria - © Clemens PFEIFFER CC BY-SA3.0/W
© Clemens PFEIFFER CC BY-SA3.0/W

The Great Hall of the Vienna Musikverein, also known as the "Golden Hall", is known worldwide for its magnificent acoustics and is one of the best concert halls in the world. This fact is particularly remarkable because it was not until the 20th century that the first studies on room acoustics were made and Hansen therefore relied on his intuition - and also on chance - when designing the concert hall.

And so the sound-diffusing surfaces (balconies, boxes and sculptures) fit ideally into an optimal cuboid-shaped room volume with the exact number of seats (2000 - so that the audience does not absorb too much sound) to create a perfect concert hall that achieves a reverberation time of about 2 seconds.

In addition to the fantastic acoustics, the Great Hall with its red and gold decorations is also a feast for the eyes architecturally. It is therefore not surprising that the Great Hall in the Haus des Musikvereins was chosen as the venue for the world-famous New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

World-famous New Year's Concert in Vienna's Musikverein House

The traditional New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Vienna Musikverein is the most famous New Year's Concert in the world, Austria - © RichardSchuster/WrPhilharmoniker
© RichardSchuster/WrPhilharmoniker

The New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has been welcoming the new year every year since 1939. In the first two years, the New Year's Concert in Vienna was still held on 31 December. For this "Extraordinary Concert" a public dress rehearsal was held the day before. In 1941 the New Year's Concert was moved to 1 January, but the custom of New Year's Eve concert and dress rehearsal (today: preview) has endured to this day.

Already on 30 December, the Golden Hall at the Musikverein will be decorated with magnificent floral decorations comprising umpteen thousand blossoms for the preview performance. Mainly well-known pieces of classical music from the Strauss era are played. Traditionally, the New Year's Concert ends with the Radetzky March by Johann Strauss Vater. Before that, the famous Danube Waltz is played as a second encore, after which the orchestra wishes the whole world "Happy New Year!".

The Vienna New Year's Concert is broadcast in over 90 countries and watched by millions of viewers on television, making it the most famous New Year's concert in the world. Since 2010, the concert has also been available as a live stream on the internet.

New Year's Concert live - with a lot of luck!

Anyone who wants to experience the New Year's Concert live on site must order tickets at least one year in advance and then also be lucky. Because from 2 January to 28 February, applications are accepted for ticket wishes, which are then raffled off among the worldwide contenders. The prizes range from 30 to 940 euros, depending on the category!


Tip: Somewhat cheaper alternatives to the "real" New Year's Concert are the preview on 30 and the New Year's Eve Concert on 31 December. The programme is exactly the same as at the New Year's Concert and even the original flower decorations are already in place.

Related links:

Official website of the Vienna Musikverein with current programme
Ticket information for the New Year's Concert