A Viennese Christmas is about the lights, the sights, the smells, and the sounds. Expect fewer sleigh bells and more violins, though: you’re in the concert capital of classical music, after all.
Here are my tips for finding the best classical concerts, church recitations, choir performances and more during the Advent season.
Note that these are mostly general tips with some suggestions based on specific concert schedules at various popular venues (at the time of writing).
Goodness, Vienna has so many. All the popular venues continue their programme through the Advent season. However, here are some Christmas-themed highlights from the major concert halls and orchestras:
Mozart and Strauss performances
(The Kursalon venue at Christmas)
Various orchestras and ensembles perform the music of Mozart and Strauss with visitors in mind, usually at historic sites and often in period costume. I’ve listed them here, but seasonal changes to the usual routine are common.
This is where Mozart lived and the location of the main museum dedicated to the composer. Keep an eye out for concerts in the Bösendorfer Saal in the basement. Frankly, it’s rather cool listening to, for example, Mozart’s music in the same house he composed it in.
The Musikverein ranks as probably the world’s most prestigious and best classical music venue. It’s still a little early for Christmas 2022 schedules, but planned events already include:
- The Wiener Domorchester and Domchor perform a Christmas concert with the “music of the masters” on December 10th
- Soprano Christiane Karg and pianist Gerold Huber offer an evening of Christmas songs from the likes of Humperdinck, Cornelius, Richard Strauss, and more on December 13th
- If we stretch out the concept of the Christmas period a little, then consider the rather excellent New Year’s Concert from the Wiener Philharmoniker, which traditionally take place on December 30th and 31st, as well as January 1st.
The Musikverein has daily “normal” performances: I’ll highlight planned seasonally-themed concerts as they eventually appear in the programme.
More info and tickets on Musikverein events available at their website.
Browse for your Christmas accommodation
(service provided by Booking.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
Another prestigious venue is the Konzerthaus, which usually has a more eclectic advent choice. Scheduled at the time of writing, for example:
- A Swinging Christmas with the Gerhard Aflenzer Broadway Big Band on December 17th
- The Wiener Symphoniker and Arnold Schoenberg Chor perform parts I, II and VI of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on December 21st and 22nd
The Konzerthaus always hosts Christmas in Vienna. This is the rather-apt title of a traditional gala music event held every (normal) year. Planned 2022 dates are December 16th (preview edition) and December 17th (the main event).
International singers accompany the Vienna Boys’ Choir, the Konzerthaus’s own choir (the Wiener Singakademie), and the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra for a seasonal sing-song and feel-good evening of entertainment.
The program can range from traditional carols and songs to pop classics, opera arias, and orchestral compositions. If you miss out on tickets, the national broadcaster (ORF) usually shows it on TV (as do many other countries, I believe).
More info and tickets for Konzerthaus events available at their website.
The opera houses
- The Staatsoper commonly performs Strauss’s Die Fledermaus at New Year as an established tradition, which you can (usually) catch as a livestream or view outside on the streets on a giant screen
- The Volksoper opera house holds a traditional Christmas Concert (2022 date TBA)
Various churches hold advent concerts and choral recitals through advent. Here are the more popular ones, though it may be a while before they have details of Christmas 2022 schedules.
A beautiful Baroque church in the centre, which hosts concerts in the church itself and also in the crypt.
The grand cathedral is the heart of the city and obviously worth visiting in its own right.
At the time of writing, advent concerts are scheduled on several days through late November and December, and the world-famous Wiener Symphoniker orchestra has a planned concert in Stephansdom on December 14th.
Home to the Italian congregation in Vienna, this large gothic church also sits in the city centre. Unlike many similar locations, the Advent concerts tend to be an eclectic mix of different performers and works.
The mighty baroque church on Karlsplatz normally has a fair few concerts in the advent season programme. In 2022, for example, the Orchestra 1756 and Ensemble 1756 plan regular evening performances of Mozart’s Requiem and The Four Seasons.
This neo-gothic giant should have hosted, for example, a Christmas concert by Stella Jones & The American Christmas Gospel in 2021.
And another church in the old town with concerts typically focusing on the peak era of Viennese classical music (think Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, etc.).
The previous Advent also had carols and festive tunes performed on trumpet and organ.
Vienna Boys’ Choir
The Wiener Sängerknaben are usually quite busy at the end of the year.
Various choirs traditionally sing each year at the Christkindlmarkt on the Rathausplatz.
Still not found something?
For a list of absolutely everything, try the official tourist office events calendar.