New Year’s Concert in Vienna

New Year’s Concert for most people (also according to Wikipedia) stands for the concert of the Vienna Philharmonic. Here’s a question: is it because their New Year’s concert is simply the most famous? After all, the concert will be watched in more than 90 countries by over 50 million viewers. At any rate, it is not the only one….

Because it is the oldest? Or because “New Year’s Concert” has been their registered trademark since 2008? This has also led to lawsuits, as can be read in an article in the press of 2009 (notice: the article is only available in German). And we already wrote about it. You will find a nice anecdote in our blog article about the Vienna Hofburg Orchestra. But let’s get to the very core of this article. New Year’s concerts have become a part of the classic scene worldwide. And if you are not lucky enough to win at the ticket lottery for the for the New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic, you need not despair and may yet start the new year with goose bumps. At least in Vienna.

And our questions above will also be answered.

Where does it come from, the New Year’s concert? I found some very interesting information during the research …

The story of the New Year’s Concert states that the first of its kind was played by the Vienna Philharmonic. December 1, 1939. This time has no positive connection in the German-Austrian area, since it was the beginning of World War 2. The Philharmonics themselves had a historian (named Fritz Trümpi) prove that their first New Year’s concerts was a means to an end. It took place in honor of a War Winter Relief center. In addition, the number of their concerts at that time generally increased. Especially with waltz music. Goebbels wanted Vienna to be considered a “city of optimism, music and conviviality”. Yes, exactly, our morbid Vienna! They wanted to maintain the morality of the people with this lively and light music.

Is the next New Year's concert an anniversary?

One might think that the first New Year’s concert in 1939 would have to be an upcoming anniversary. But since the second took place on January 1, 1941, to call it the New Year’s Concert, one has to omit the year 1940. So in 2020 we will see the 60th New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic. Since their premiere they play in the golden hall of the Vienna Musikverein.

Everything waltz

Since the beginning the New Year’s concert is dominated by waltz sounds and in Vienna, it is now a tradition at 0 clock on New Year’s Eve to play the Viennese Waltz. This could be due to the fact that with wonderfully swinging waltz sounds it’s easy to glide into the New Year. In fact, it is based on the above intention. And on the love to everything “waltz” by Clemens Krauss, conductor of the first six New Year’s concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic. He especially loved waltzes of the Strauss dynasty.

Vienna is waltz!

The Viennese Waltz is the fastest dance of the world dance program after bars (about 60 bar per minute), who would have thought … (Attention: not after beats)

The waltz dancing at midnight to the turn of the year has a long tradition in Vienna. Here you can see the opera singing couple Sera Gösch and Franz Supper playing the waltz during a concert of the Vienna Hofburg Orchestra. The orchestra is conducted by Giuseppe Montesano, played here at Konzerthaus Vienna.

Supply and demand at the New Year's Concert

For a long time, the Vienna Philharmonics were the only ones with their classical New Year’s concert. Almost 40 years. Therefore, they have also managed to register the term as a word mark. Justification: Proof of transport validity. Many people are questioned and if it turns out that the word is clearly associated with a brand, then that applies. Proven as a word mark. Registered until 2028.

So for 40 years, they were the only ones. But at some point there was more demand than supply, especially in the city of Viennese Classic and the Waltz. Probably also due to increasing tourism. And so it happened that in 1976 the Wiener Symphoniker gave their first New Year’s Concert. Four years later, in 1980, it also became a tradition for the Vienna Hofburg Orchestra, at that time still under the direction of Gert Hofbauer.

New Year's concert worldwide

While the tradition is was based in Vienna, there are now New Year’s concerts all over the world.

The Prague Philharmonic will be playing a New Year’s Concert in Smetana Hall, the Calgary Philharmonic at the Jack Singer Concert Hall and also in Japan the Vienna Symphony Orchestra of the Volksoper Wien plays in Tokyo, in the Suntory Hall. At New York Lincoln Center a classical New Year´s concert will be performed, with dance interludes of the European Ballett Sankt Pölten. Whereas in Sankt Pölten itself (the capital of Lower Austria) the renowned Tonkünstler Orchestra performs on New Year’s Day.

There is a separate website called “Salute to Vienna”, which has set itself the task to produce and mediate New Year’s concerts based on the Vienna concerts throughout North America and Canada. According to their own statements, they can already look back on 185 New Year’s concerts produced in Canada and 338 in the United States.

New Year’s concerts all over the world, but they all have one thing in common: The main pieces were written by the Strauss dynasty. So, (almost) “all waltz” 🙂

In Austria alone, the two culture-driven online sites and (both sites only available in German, sorry) counted 33 New Year’s concerts in the year 2010. At that time, the fear of and end was rife in cultural circles due to the trademark for the word New Year’s Concert. But one thing is clear: the Vienna Philharmonic can not serve the market alone. There is enough demand for everyone. A traditional New Year‘s concert is an experience everyone deserves…

… and also in the Auditorium Symphonia in Jakarta the New Year is to be launched in a Viennese and classical way! 🧡 🎻

New Year's Concert in Vienna

Despite engagements and performances worldwide, Vienna is and remains the capital of the New Year’s concert. And as I said, the Vienna Philharmonic is not the only one in this city. They have the longest tradition, but not the only one.

The Wiener Symphoniker perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at the Wiener Konzerthaus. For 42 years.

Two New Year’s Concerts, at 11:00 and 18:00 on the 1st of January 2020, are to be enjoyed at the Liechtenstein Garden Palace. Performed by the Vienna Hofburg Orchestra. With up to 50 musicians and four excellent opera singers. Last year they had two fantastic soprano achievements: Manami Okazaki (coloratura soprano), who has already been accompanied by the Vienna Hofburg-Orchestra and the Japanese-Austrian Festival Choir at the Vienna State Opera. And Martha Hirschmann (mezzo-soprano). Both women are captivating with their beauty as well as their vocal power.

The ladies on January 1st 2020 are just as amazing as the year before: Martha Hirschmann is going to sing again for the Vienna Hofburg-Orchestra, this time with the Australian-German Anna Voshege (coloratura soprano) by her side.

The ladies have two strong men at their side, again Stefan Reichmann (tenor) and Michael Mrosek (baritone). Both were already on stage for the Vienna Hofburg-Orchestra and/or also on the stages of the world.

These four promise a brilliant start to the year 2020. Those who do not want to miss that should quickly decide on tickets. Both concerts are almost sold out.

See for yourself:

Here is an excerpt from the New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Hofburg Orchestra 2018, performing “Brüderlein und Schwesterlein”:

New Year with authentic Viennese Classic

If you would like to start the New Year in a classical but more intimate way, you should visit the New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Residence Orchestra. On January 1, 2020 at 20:15 the chamber orchestra will play Viennese Classic in the Rosenkavalier-Saal of the Palais Auersperg. Accompanied by an opera couple and a ballet couple. You will be transported back to a time when not even the big state orchestras existed. When the prince invited only exclusively and you were so close to the action that you could even follow the fingering of the first violin. An experience one should have made in the world of classical music. We have already reported on the Vienna Residence Orchestra more in detail.

Das Wiener Residenzorchester auf der Stiege des Palais Auersperg

For the New Year, the Vienna Residence Orchestra presents Viennese classical music in the authentical chamber music style

How can I visit a New Year's concert in Vienna?

First to the tough part: Tickets for the New Year’s Concert of the Philharmonic are difficult to get hold of. They are so sought after that they are raffled each year already in February. Only on their own homepage. For 2020, you could register from 1st to 28th of  February 2019. It is supposed to be managed similar for 2021, but there are still  no infos on their homepage available for  that. We will keep an eye on that.

If you are not among the lucky few, then there is still the television, because it is now broadcast live in 92 countries. For all who are in Vienna at the New Year 2020 we have a public viewing tip: 2018 for the first time, the concert was also  broadcasted live on January 1st, 2019 at 11:15. At the Riesenradplatz of the Vienna Prater, on an LED wall. Also, for 2020 we suppose that it will take place again, still there is no information online. We will track that and keep you posted!

And as I said, this is not the only New Year’s concert in Vienna. For the Concert of the Symphonic Orchestra at 8 pm tickets are still available on their homepage.

Tickets for the musical fireworks of the Vienna Hofburg-Orchestra in the beautiful Liechtenstein Garden Palace can be found on our site. Here are a few impressions of the palace and the orchestra:

Palais Liechtenstein Außenansicht
Herkulessaal des
Das Wiener Hofburgorchester auf der Bühne im Herkulessaal/Palais Liechtenstein

The New Year’s resolution

Anyone who has long been intent on starting the new year with more classical culture in Vienna has more opportunities than to just hope for a ticket for the Vienna Philharmonics. And from now on, no excuse! It just belongs to the New Year in Vienna, so it should actually also be done by a lot more Viennese people. Yes, I appeal to all those Viennese who – just like me – let too much of the culture pass by. “It’s right next door. I can attend a classical concert at any time”. And this is exactly where the trap lies: the procrastination starts and once again a year without much culture has passed. Therefore, dear friends, book your ticket now for an incredible 1st of January 2020 with the Vienna Hofburg-Orchestra or the Vienna Residence Orchestra.

In my article about the Vienna Hofburg-Orchestra, I reported on my own experience at the New Year’s Concert at the end, maybe that will convince you 😊


We have shown in this article that while the word New Year’s Concert is rightly associated with the Philharmonic, the initial questions were clarified:

  • Yes, theirs is the first and oldest New Year’s concert
  • Yes, it is registered as a word mark (most connect the concert with the orchestra)
  • Yes, it is also proven that theirs is the most famous of all New Year’s concerts.

But it can not satisfy demand alone, not even in the city of Vienna. Therefore, there will always be other New Year’s concerts and they may continue to call themselves that … hopefully 😉

If you would like to know more about classical concerts in Vienna, you are welcome to get an overview in our article “classical concert in Vienna – 7 helpful tips“. Or just keep checking our blog!

Whether with classical music or without, we at wish you all a good start to the year 2020 !!!

zwei Sektgläser die anstoßen auf das neue Jahr

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