With its rich history as home to some of the world’s greatest classical composers, Austria is the perfect destination for any traveling ensemble. The history of western classical music is everywhere in this beautiful country, whether you’re planning to cruise the river that inspired the waltzes of Johann Strauss, tour the magnificent Vienna Opera House, or visit the birthplace of Mozart and the home of Joseph Haydn.
Largely known for their medieval castles and magnificent cathedrals, Austria is also home to many incredible outdoor venues. Whether you want to perform in an elegant gardens and scenic mountain retreats, there are no shortage of open-air venues in this Central European hotspot. In this post, we will highlight several wonderful outdoor venue options throughout Austria.
St. Stephen’s Square (Vienna)
In the heart of Vienna stands St. Stephen’s Square (also known as Stephensplatz), which is named after its most prominent building — St. Stephen’s Cathedral. On special occasions, the city council of Vienna and St. Stephen’s Cathedral will allow outdoor concerts in this popular square and, although most of them are rather informal, they are always well attended. Across the square from the historical cathedral you will find the Haas-Haus, a postmodernist building constructed of glass and steel. This provides a fascinating juxtaposition, as the new and old architecture come together in a beautiful display. This is a truly unique place for an outdoor concert.
Graf Perlas Hof (Biedermannsdorf)
A few miles south of Vienna you will find the beautifully restored and maintained Perlashof Art and Cultural Central. Located in a small village renowned for their food, wine, and cultural performances, this open-air stage can also be covered in case of bad weather.
Esterhazy Palace (Eisenstadt)
About one hour outside Vienna, you will find the wonderful Esterhazy Palace. Built 13th century, this beautiful palace was home to the infamous Esterházy family until it was converted into a baroque castle by Prince Paul I during the 17th century. During the summer, ensembles not only have the few chance to perform inside the palace in “Haydn Hall,” but also in the beautiful inner courtyard of the palace. These concerts are normally free of charge for the audience and are typically standing room only. During its lifetime the palace has played host to many great musicians, perhaps most notably its former long-time Kapellmeister (Choir Master), Joseph Haydn. Don’t miss out on performing in this historical landmark!
Mirabell Gardens (Salzburg)
Originally built in 1606 by Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich, today Mirabell Palace not only serves as the setting for some incredibly romantic weddings, but also as the venue for the “Salzburg Palace Concerts.” This palace has a rich history, which includes performances by the Mozart family and several appearances in a world-famous movie. In fact, the exquisite Mirabell Gardens were featured in several scenes in “The Sound of Music,” and remain one of the most important sights in Salzburg. Groups are able to perform on the steps in the park or in the little theater, either of which offer a terrific setting for your performance.
The Lake District
With flower filled valleys, incredible blue lakes, towering mountains, and majestic castles reflecting in the water, the Salzkammergut region of Austria is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Along these lakes, located just outside Salzburg, you will find a number of extremely picturesque places with lovely concert settings. These well-built venues offer great acoustics, enthusiastic audiences, and one of the most serene backdrops that you can imagine.
Imperial Court of Innsbruck (Innsbruck)
Located on the Alps with breathtaking views, the Imperial Court of Innsbruck remains one of the major cultural buildings in Austria, alongside the Schönbrunn Castle and the Imperial Court of Vienna. Opposite the Imperial Court is the Imperial Garden (Hofgarten), a 25-acre protected park located on the edge of Old Town. This is an incredibly prestigious venue, which means you will need long-term planning, an interesting repertoire, and excellent performances if you want to be accepted at the Innsbruck City Concerts, which take place annually during the summer. For any marching bands, you may have the unique opportunity to parade up and down the old city streets.
Surrounded by the high peaks of the Alps, you will find some of the most picturesque villages of Bavaria. Many of these villages are actually spa resorts and offer some fabulous performance stages for all types of groups. Many of these villages have their own wind ensembles and marching bands, so there’s ample opportunity to collaborate with locals and immerse yourself in the culture.
The history of western classical music is everywhere in Austria and we’ll help you experience and understand it. Learn more about taking your ensemble on a performance tour to Italy by visiting our website.