Strike a celebratory note in Vienna

Vienna for art and music lovers

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Baroque streetscapes and imperial palaces set the stage for Vienna's artistic and musical masterpieces alongside its coffee-house culture and thriving epicurean and design scenes.

As if you needed an excuse to visit this gorgeous, vibrant city, 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth and kicks off an abundance of cultural happenings to honor him.

Vienna is also a perennial favorite destination for art lovers, and with our travel partners at Art Tours Ltd., we can design the perfect bespoke tour for you.  

Or maybe you just want to go for the Sachertorte, and that’s ok too.

Beethoven’s B-day:

Though born in Bonn, Germany in 1770, Beethoven moved to the Austrian capital when he was in his early 20s, and then spent the rest of his 56 years changing the course of Western music from the city on the Danube. A quirky celebrity in his own time, he premiered his groundbreaking symphonies and concertos in Vienna’s grand palaces, escaped the summer heat in what are now its sleepy suburbs, and moved around between dozens of supposedly squalid apartments that sprawl across much of the city. It’s fun to visit some of his old haunts around the city.

Also fun . . . In honor of the anniversary, Vienna is mounting a year-long shindig, with concert venues, opera houses, and museums ready to tempt visitors with everything from original-instrument performances to contemporary artists weighing in on the composer’s genius.

Some highlights:

  • On Feb. 1, the Vienna State Opera will mount a rare staging of the first version of “Fidelio,” Beethoven’s only opera.

  • On March 16, the work’s second version gets its own airing at Theater an der Wien, the 18th-century opera house and concert hall, with Oscar-winning Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, known for his roles in the films of Quentin Tarantino, set to direct.

  • In April, back at the State Opera, the third and best-known version, in a classic staging dating back to the 1970s, will delight traditionalists.

  • In mid-February, the Orchester Wiener Akademie will play Beethoven piano concertos on period instruments in the Baroque main hall of the Palais Niederösterreich, a centuries-old complex where concerts were given during Beethoven’s lifetime.

  • Starting on March 25, Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, known for its Old Masters paintings, will open “Beethoven – The Exhibition,” a multi-media show featuring works in several genres, created over several centuries.

  • Later in the spring, at the Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Latvian-born, Swiss-based conductor Andris Nelsons will helm a full cycle of Beethoven symphonies between May 23 – June 7.


Masterpiece-filled Museums:

If an art tour is what you’re after, we can arrange private visits and offer exclusive access to major museums and private collections—accompanied by curators, owners, and excellent guides.

Whether you are interested in some of the finest Old Masters in the world or 20th-century masterpieces, grand imperial architecture or the great Secessionists Vienna has a unique mix to explore. The city also has an interesting contemporary art scene.

One of the Habsburgs' most dazzling Rinsgstrasse palaces, the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, houses the imperial art collection. It's packed with priceless works by Old Masters, and treasures including one of the world's richest coin collections. Behind the Hofburg, the former imperial stables have been transformed into the innovative MuseumsQuartier, with a diverse ensemble of museums, showcasing 19th- and 20th-century Austrian art at the Leopold Museum to often-shocking avant-garde works at the contemporary MUMOK. Meteorites, fossils and prehistoric finds fill the Naturhistorisches Museum, while exquisite furnishings at the applied-arts Museum für Angewandte Kunst are among the artistic feasts in store.