The Vienna Residence Orchestra is a chamber orchestra in Vienna with a long tradition. It performs daily at the beautiful Palais Auersperg in the middle of Vienna´s governmental district, accompanied by opera singers and a pair of ballet dancers.
If you want to know what a chamber orchestra is, you can find out in our article “Classical Concert in Vienna – 7 helpful tips“.
The short version of the dictionary definition at google is: “smaller orchestra that plays mostly chamber music”. Of course, the obvious question for a non-professional is: what is chamber music, then? The google dictionary provides us with: “Music for a small group of musicians or singers”. Ok,so we got that figured out. 😉
For all those who do not want to read our article about classical concerts, we kindly summarize once again:
A chamber orchestra is much smaller than a symphony orchestra. It also usually represents fewer instrument groups. But why? There is a beautiful sentence in the German Wikipedia article on orchestras (which considerably differs from the english one): “The increasing rejection of the taste of the Romantic and the appropriate cast made the chamber orchestra the ideal ensemble for the performance of the largely forgotten music of the Baroque and Classical.” The chamber orchestra exists in a variety of forms, sometimes blurring the boundaries to the Salon Orchestra as well as to the symphony orchestra. Here you can find a nice article on that topic. But what distinguishes it definitely from the symphony orchestra is that it is not necessarily conducted by a conductor, but – like the salon orchestra – by the first violin. These are also called concert masters. That was the case especially in the early days of the chamber orchestra and then again from the 1970´s on.
The Vienna Residence Orchestra sometimes performs as a salon orchestra. Its ensemble – as variable as the symphony orchestra and the chamber orchestra – can consist of 5 to 15 musicians, sometimes more. The composition is no less different, but most of the time piano and strings form the core. But even that can also be true for symphony and chamber orchestras.
The exact definitions can be found under the respective orchestral links, and on closer inspection you will find that all boundaries are blurred and a strict definition is almost impossible. This is called artistic freedom. 😊
The Vienna Residence Orchestra, however, was founded as a chamber orchestra and thus also performs in one of the most beautiful halls for chamber music, the Rosenkavalier Hall in the Palais Auersperg. There it interprets Viennese classical music with a core composition of piano and strings. It is accompanied by opera singers and a ballet couple. Just like the performances that were held in those princely ballrooms. The Vienna Residence Orchestra already does this in a long tradition.
What is meant by a long tradition is explained below. But a long tradition speaks for constancy, and for going together through thick and thin. It speaks for musicians and other employees who know what they are doing. Of course, there are and always were changes and no one is perfect in his job, but the WRO does actually have employees who have been there since its founding, or for 20 years, because that was the time when its creator established the daily concert series.
The orchestra was created in 1990 and with its daily concert series it was one of the first of its kind in Vienna that wanted to bring Viennese classical music to a larger audience. I deliberately use the term ‘created’ and not ‘founded’. Because a successful orchestra is not just founded like a company. In theory, it is enough for a human to register them and do a few very dry tasks, such as fulfilling certain requirements, etc. Such an orchestra has to be created, you need the right musicians, the right pieces, a conductor to lead the troupe properly. And classical music needs a lot of flair. It is not just the musicians and the conductor, but then it starts … venues, engagements, reputation, etc
It was founded by the unique – so it is said – Paul Moser, gifted pianist and conductor who collaborated with, among others, the philharmonic orchestras Györ, Bratislava, Budapest and Florence. Even privately, he was an impressive character and a man to whom family meant a lot. This is also shown by the fact that he founded the Vienna Residence Orchestra together with his wife Sylvia Moser, who still has the business management until today. As a child of two state opera singers, she was also born into music, and after graduating she began a remarkable career with engagements at major European opera houses. Even on a trip to pop music, she succeeded in 1980 with the group Blue Danube reaching the eighth place at the European Song Contest for Austria. The more detailed biographies of both can be found here on the homepage of the Vienna Residence Orchestra.
Unfortunately, Paul Moser died too early in 2004 at the age of only 45, leaving her and her grown-up children the traditional orchestra, which is by now one of the most established orchestras in Vienna. The children enjoyed classical music lessons and also their partner in the company and his family are absolutely classical music aficionados and everyone is involved. Such interaction between interests and entire families is rare in the corporate sector, and has probably helped them to master every phase of an operation sooner or later. That, and the humor and the mood among the office workers makes the Vienna Residence Orchestra special, which you also notice when you roam through the premises. Or listen to a meeting.
Now let’s have a look at the musical career. Just one year after its founding, the Vienna Residence Orchestra becomes official representative of Austria at the Mozart commemoration ceremony and plays numerous concerts at the “Wiener Klangbogen” festival.
In the following years, the orchestra is traveling around the world to various festivals but also to exclusive concerts. The best guest conductors lead the musicians through their pieces on this journey. Just to name a few: Rudolf Nureyev (yes, the famous ballet dancer), Arild Remmereit or Giuseppe Lanzetta. Their stations lead to Paris, Venice, Deauville, Mexico or Brussels and beyond
1998 was a very eventful year for the Vienna Residence Orchestra:
At the invitation of the former President of Uruguay, the orchestra travels with the solo violinist Igor Malinovsky to the largest cities in the country to perform 11 concerts. In the same year they fly to Mexico at the invitation of an NGO to play two concerts there. The revenues will benefit the construction and equipment of a football field for street children.
In addition to the exciting journeys, Paul Moser establishes a daily series of concerts in the Vienna Stadtpalais Liechtenstein, where he leads the orchestra he founded himself on the piano.
In 2001, the Vienna Residence Orchestra is one of the highlights of the local carnival on Marcusplatz in Venice.
As a result, in 2003 they receive an invitation to Dubai for the third Italian Fashion and Cultural Meeting, where a women’s quartet will perform Viennese Classical Music.
2007 and 2008 The Vienna Residence Orchestra travels to Spain and “Bella Italia”. One of the most beautiful places was probably Carnet de Mar. And also Rialp and Altafulla were `mui bien´.
Robert Lehrbaumer conducts again – at the concert in Imola. Imola was probably also the reason for the invitation to Avellino and Nereto in the following year.
the dream-like scencery in Canet de Mar
In 2009, again under the leadership of Gerhard Lagrange, the Vienna Residence Orchestra wins the “Unterföhringer Mohr” cultural award, a pure audience award. So the audience decided 😉
This is followed by more adventures at various festivals, until the next landmark turning point in the history of the orchestra:
In 2017, the extremely likeable Giuseppe Montesano takes over the artistic direction of the orchestra. One year before he was awarded the 1st prize at the International Competition for Opera Conductors in Costanta.
A young and very gifted conductor from Italy, with brown eyes to melt away, and the the Italian temperament. A great conductor who, in addition to the accurate leadership of his orchestra, also knows how to entertain the audience in a charming way.
Nowadays, the orchestra has moved with its concerts to the venerable Palais Auersperg.
Many think of the term “daily concert series” as a boring routine with the same musicians who play the same pieces every day. But that is not the case. Well, one or two interpreters may have a bad day. Who does not? But the Vienna Residence Orchestra has contracted a large pool of great artists whose biographies can be viewed at any time at wro.at. And the program changes daily, only with the exception of some popular pieces.
When Paul and Sylvia Moser founded the orchestra, the two artists had a vision. That was 20 years ago. At the time, you did not quickly search a few people over the internet, open a homepage, rent a room online, and sell tickets. At that time people had to run from pillar to post, organize, put your organized items in physical folders, enter everything in books, even the contacts were still hand-held in address books. In short, the Mosers put sweat and blood into their orchestra and their crew, creating it with a lot of imagination and love.
As already mentioned, the Vienna Residence Orchestra today performs – in addition to other guest performances, such as the Musikakademie Altenburg – daily in the Palais Auersperg. Sabine M. Gruber has written in her book “111 Places of Music in Vienna which one must have experienced” so beautifully:
“The” Residenz-Orchester “plays its part in the Palais Auersperg every evening. With concerts, which are visited by tourists from all over the world. But even for locals it is an unforgettable experience”.
Ascending the probably most beautiful double staircase in Vienna one arrives astonished in the oval Rosenkavalier hall, where renowned musicians perform the “Greatest Hits from Mozart and Strauss” in an accessible way for everybody, with first-class singing and ballet intermezzi.
At the Radetzky March the audience enthusiastically claps the beat – just like at the New Year’s concert, which everybody knows from TV, only better, because live is still live “
The Palais Auersperg is a privately owned palace whose main tenant is Sylvia Moser. With the Vienna Residence Orchestra she wants to immerse the audience in the Rosenkavalier Saal into the world of Viennese classical music. At that time, when only with the exclusive invitation of the prince one could enjoy listening to the great composers. That is why this hall is as it is, oval cut and not huge. So that even in times without amplifiers and video walls this exclusive audience had best view of the interpreters and acoustics no matter where they were seated in the hall. And so the orchestra is not filled with 50 musicians. It does not correspond to the authenticity of that time. Only if someone wonders 😊
If you would like to get a glimpse into the skills of the Vienna Residence Orchestra, here‘s a little video of the Rondo alla Turca, with Ballet, in the Rosenkavaliersaal ❤ 🎻
Now a look at the family – Sylvia Moser and her children, as well as an overview of the concerts and tours of the orchestra in Europe alone (Uruguay, Mexico etc would have hurt the clarity on the map even more).
And finally, a classic “thank you” for reading 😉