The first professional concert orchestra in Austria, one of the oldest in Europe. Founded on the initiative of composer and conductor Otto Nicolai, critic and publisher A. Schmidt, violinist K. Holz and poet N. Lenau. The first concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra took place on March 28, 1842, conducted by O. Nicolai. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra includes musicians from the Vienna Opera Orchestra. The orchestra is led by a committee of 10 people. Initially, the team performed under the name “Orchestral Staff of the Imperial Court Opera”. By the 60s. organizational forms of the orchestra’s work have developed, which have been preserved to this day: the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra annually gives a cycle of eight Sunday subscription concerts, repeated on Mondays (they are preceded by traditional open rehearsals). In addition to the usual subscription concerts, the following are held annually: a concert in memory of the founder of the group O. Nicolai, a solemn New Year’s concert from works of Viennese light music and a number of extra-subscription concerts. Concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra take place in the Great Hall of the Vienna Musikverein during the daytime.
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has taken a prominent place in the musical life of the country. Since 1860, the orchestra, as a rule, performed under the direction of its permanent leaders – O. Dessoff (1861-75), X. Richter (1875-98), G. Mahler (1898-1901). Richter and Mahler significantly expanded their repertoire, including works by composers from different countries (A. Dvorak, B. Smetana, Z. Fibich, P. Tchaikovsky, C. Saint-Saens, etc.). Led by Richter, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra first went on tour to Salzburg (1877), and under the direction of Mahler made the first trip abroad (Paris, 1900). Major composers were invited as touring conductors: from 1862, I. Brahms, as well as R. Wagner (1872, 1875), A. Bruckner (1873), and G. Verdi (1875), repeatedly performed with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
In the 20th century, the ensemble was led by well-known conductors F. Weingartner (1908-27), W. Furtwängler (1927-30, 1938-45), G. Karajan (1956-64). F. Schalk, F. Motl, K. Muck, A. Nikisch, E. Schuh, B. Walter, A. Toscanini, K. Schuricht, G. Knappertsbusch, V. De Sabata, K. Kraus, K Böhm; from 1906 (until the end of his life) R. Strauss performed with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, who wrote Solemn Fanfare for the orchestra (1924). Since 1965 the orchestra has been working with touring conductors. Among the highest achievements of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is the performance of music by J. Haydn, W. A. Mozart, L. Beethoven, F. Schubert, R. Schumann, J. Brahms, A. Bruckner, H. Mahler, and also R. Wagner , R. Strauss. Since 1917 the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has been the official orchestra of the Salzburg Festivals.
The orchestra consists of about 120 people. Members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra are also members of various chamber ensembles, including the Barilli and Concerthaus quartets, the Vienna Octet, and the Wind Ensemble of the Vienna Philharmonic. The orchestra repeatedly toured Europe and America (in the USSR – in 1962 and 1971).
The orchestra invariably takes first place in all international ratings. Since 1933, the team has been working without an artistic director, choosing the path of democratic self-government. Musicians at general meetings solve all organizational and creative issues, determining which conductor to invite next time. And at the same time they work in two orchestras at the same time, being in the public service at the Vienna Opera. Those who want to join the Philharmonic Orchestra must audition for the opera and work there for at least three years. For more than a hundred years, the team has been exclusively male. Portraits of the first women accepted there in the late 1990s appeared on the covers of newspapers and magazines.