Vienna echoes to the music of numerous legendary composers, including the great Johannes Brahms. Born in Hamburg, he lived permanently in Vienna from 1872 until his death in 1897 and occupies an honorary grave at the main cemetery.
- Funeral at the Stadtkirche, burial in Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof (on April 6th, 1897)
- Grave located next to Strauss II and near Schubert and Beethoven
- Easily reached by public transport and easily found within the cemetery (Grave 26 in group 32A)
- See also: Brahms in Vienna
Brahms’ funeral and burial
(The Brahms grave on the right with the grave of Strauss II and his wife, Adele, on the left)
Johannes Brahms passed away on April 3rd, 1897 in his long-term residence on Vienna’s Karlsgasse. His rooms lay practically in the shadow of the great Baroque Karlskirche church and just a short walk from the Musikverein building (where two of his symphonies made their first public appearance).
The papers greeted Brahms’ death with appropriate sadness. The Neues Wiener Journal began their report thus (my translation):
Music has suffered an irreplaceable loss. One of its giants – Johannes Brahms – is no more.
The Neues Wiener Tagblatt struck a similar tone (my rough translation):
The entire musical world is in deep mourning: Johannes Brahms is no longer alive. This most important of musicians, the greatest of today’s composer of symphonies has been taken from them
At 2.30pm on April 6th, Brahms’ coffin and funeral procession left the collecting point in front of Karlskirche for the Lutheran Stadtkirche church on Dorotheergasse in the centre of Vienna’s old town.
(The Stadtkirche where the funeral service was held)
Condolences and flowers had arrived from friends and admirers across Europe in such number that six vehicles were needed to carry them. Anton Dvorak and many other distinguished mourners from the arts, music, and politics followed the coffin.
The procession made a brief stop at the Musikverein for that institution to pay its last respects. The previous evening’s concert had begun with musical tributes to Brahms, their former artistic director and honorary member.
The coffin then continued on to the Ring, turning to pass down the side of the State Opera House before eventually reaching the church.
After the service, they buried Brahms in an honorary grave at the city’s main cemetery, where a last speech included the promise to preserve his musical legacy for the future (a promise which certainly seems to have been kept).
Where is Brahms’ grave?
You’ll find Brahms in Grave 26 of Group 32A in the Zentralfriedhof. The permanent gravestone, sculpted by Ilsa Conrat, was added in 1903 (the Brahms Museum in Hamburg also has a marble bust of Brahms by Conrat.)
That group of graves includes various artistic and musical personalities, most notably Beethoven and Schubert. Just over two years after Brahms, Johann Strauss II was buried here in the spot next to his friend. Other neighbours include further members of the Strauss family and Joseph Lanner.
The cemetery is huge, but the musician graves lie close to the main entrance at Tor 2 (reached on trams 11 and 71; the latter leaves from central tram stops like Schottentor, Rathausplatz, Parlament, Ring/Volkstheater, Burgring, Oper/Karlsplatz, Schwarzenbergplatz).
Once at Tor 2, just go through the gates and keep going in a straight line. The composer graves and a memorial to Mozart (whose grave lies elsewhere) eventually appear alongside the road on the left.
Address: Zentralfriedhof, Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, 1110 Vienna