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Vienna for music lovers

© by Österreich Werbung, Photo: Diejun

Vienna – is often rightly referred to as the capital of classical music. Nonetheless, the Vienna music scene reaches far beyond Haydn and Strauss. We also found magnificent local sounds as well as modern multicultural blends.

Austria and Vienna have deservedly gained a good reputation among music lovers over the last decades, mostly through the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year Concerts or its opera house, and lately for its vibrant contemporary music scene.

Roland Neuwirth & Extremschrammeln, Music, Vienna, Austria
Roland Neuwirth & Extremschrammeln was for years among the most popular artists performing Wienerlied. Photo: Xenia Bluhm / Österreich Werbung ©

The soul of the Viennese

No matter what genre or type of music they like, people interested in music will find something they like in Vienna. Nonetheless, Austria’s capital has put much effort into offering various events. You can enjoy live music from small pubs to big concert venues. Like most large cities worldwide, Vienna has created a fertile ground for uniquely local music phenomena. Doing a deep dive into the character of the Viennese is enough. If you know German, we recommend listening to the so-called Wienerlieder (Vienna song).


Vienna created its musical sound through the Wienerlied about 150 years ago. This music is not just a musical phenomenon but also a socio-cultural phenomenon. Wiener Volksliedswerk estimates that between 60 and 70,000 Wienerlieder have been written since its humble beginnings. Thus, one can safely say that this is a prevalent phenomenon—at least in Vienna. Wienerlieder reflects the Viennese love for drama, melancholy, and, of course, their beloved Vienna.


Multicultural Vienna

Countless local bands, which often consist of pure amateurs or a mix of amateur and professional musicians, are plentiful in Vienna. They make music in many different genres. They sing just as often in German as in English. Moreover, as a native, I love to hear music in my Viennese dialect. The band Trancitiv has made it into their signature to write all their lyrics in Viennese, accompanied by reggae tunes. Trancitiv writes songs about day-to-day life, for better or worse and dresses them with reggae music. This blissful mixture of Austrian and Caribbean culture works incredibly well and nicely reflects Vienna’s multicultural society.

Danube Party Island

Parts of The Donauinsel (Danube Island), the 21 km (13 mi) long and up to 0,5 km (550 yds) wide island in the middle of the Danube, is functioning all summer as a festival area. The undisputed biggest event, the music festival Donauinselfest, is a massive affair attracting up to 3 million visitors over three days. Besides this mega venue, several smaller concerts and cultural events occur on the island during the summer. We’ve visited Afrika Tage (Africa Days), primarily a food and cultural event with live music onstage. The live festival ground is a hotpot of exotic impressions from the African food stalls, bustling market stalls and lively rhythms of African and Caribbean tunes.

Classic Vienna

It’s not possible to disregard classical music when discussing Vienna. A good tip for those who want to hear (see) classic, contemporary, or modern music is to visit the Wiener Festwochen. Musical events and performances are staged at many different venues throughout the city. Moreover, you can find a repertoire across different cultural genres and venues, such as opera, theatre, and concert halls. Nevertheless, don’t worry if you miss the festival. Numerous classical music venues run around the year in the Austrian capital.

Check out the Vienna Tourist Office website for an overview of what the musical Vienna offers.

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Written by Arnold Weisz

Globetrotting multilingual communications specialist born in Vienna, Austria – with passion for scuba diving, golf and culinary delights! 15 years of experience as a scuba- and travel reporter for among others: X-Ray Dive Magazine and Dykking.