The History of Kursalon Vienna and its Magnificent Concerts
Kursalon Vienna is an outstanding music hall in Austria’s capital. When it was designed and constructed, it was never intended to be such a grand place where visitors would flock to listen to excellent orchestras. It was originally intended to be a spot, where visitors were served healing mineral water. This is where the name "Kursalon" comes from, "Kur" meaning "spa treatment" in German. But the building went through changes soon after its completion with many renowned artists such as Johann Strauss II performing in its halls, making Kursalon Vienna the incredible music venue we know it as today.
An outstanding attraction for anyone who wants to travel back in time and revel in the enchanting highlights of Vienna's classical music scene, Kursalon Vienna is a must-visit for culture vultures in the city. Here’s a little bit of history on the iconic structure and a look at the different concerts it hosts to get you in the mood for your trip.
The history of Kursalon Vienna
In 1857, Emperor Franz Josef I ordered all old fortifications to be demolished and a Ring Boulevard (Ringstraße) to be built as as expansion of the city. In 1862, the 65,000m² City Park (Stadtpark) was opened to the public adjacent to the boulevard. It was created in the traditional style of an English landscaped park, designed by talented landscape painter Josef Selleny.
Construction of Kursalon followed shortly after, designed in the Italian Renaissance style by Johann Garben and built between 1865 and 1867. At the time, the building was created to increase the recreational value of the park by providing visitors with a place to partake of spa waters. Social events were strictly forbidden — but not for long. Just one year later, in 1868, Kursalon Vienna hosted Johann Strauss who performed the building’s very first concert. He directed his orchestra from the position of first violin and stunned the audience with his conduct.
Following this, the venue thrived as a hotspot for concerts, dances and meetings, rapidly becoming the place for Viennese society to see and be seen, as they celebrated the cult of the waltz and enjoyed joie de vivre in abundance.
Kursalon Vienna today
Today, Kursalon Vienna is comprised of four ballrooms spread out over two floors, alongside a 1,000m² terrace and fabulous restaurant. The venue hosts around 500 concerts each year, and welcomes more than 300,000 visitors annually who travel to Kursalon Vienna to journey back in time and immerse themselves in the classical music scene.
Johann Strauss statue at Kursalon Vienna
From the concert hall where Johann Strauss directed his orchestra, you can feast your eyes on the famous golden statue erected in 1921 to commemorate his memory. Showing a confident-looking Strauss playing the violin, the statue is so highly regarded that there’s even a replica of it in Shanghai.
Plans were put in place to build the skilled composer a memorial a few years after his death in 1903. But budget issues, combined with the beginning of WWI, meant that 18 years went by before the statue was actually created, following a design by Edmund Hellmer.
By 1935 it had endured so much damage that it needed to be removed for intense restoration work. In 1991, one of Vienna’s most photographed monuments was returned to its rightful spot.
Located on Kursalon Vienna’s upper floor, Lanner Hall is named after one of Johann Strauss’ oldest friends and somewhat underestimated musical rival, Joseph Lanner. Known for its dazzling lighting and artsy ceiling, this marvelous room is the beating heart of the building and also acts as the impressive main concert hall.
One of the most well established classical Viennese music interpreters performs every day at Lanner Hall. Under the direction of Professor Udo Zwölfer, Salonorchester Alt Wien regales audiences with evenings brimming with Viennese charm. The animated sounds of polkas, waltzes, arias and duets, in addition to operettas and piano concertos fill the air with life and feeling. Accompanied by superb opera vocalists and excellent ballet soloists, the orchestra delights spectators through truly captivating performances.
Kursalon Vienna concerts
Although Kursalon Vienna was originally designed to be a concert hall, like the Musikverein or the Konzerthaus, it is a remarkable venue full of musical history where you can witness the best waltzes, operettas and polkas performed by some of Austria’s finest orchestras. If you want to immerse yourself in an incredible classical music performance in breathtaking surroundings, book tickets for one of these Kursalon Vienna concerts.
Strauss and Mozart Concerts
Performed by Salonorchester Alt Wien, this spectacular evening invites you to enjoy some of the most beautiful melodies composed by Strauss and Mozart in an iconic venue, complemented by renowned opera singers and ballet dancers who enhance the performance into a magical sensory display.
Strauss and Mozart Christmas Concert
Make next Christmas one to remember by attending a Strauss and Mozart Christmas Concert. Performed by the incredible Salonorchester Alt Wien and heightened by remarkable opera singers and ballet dancers, this amazing event will undoubtedly be the highlight of your festive period.
New Year’s Eve Celebration
Bid farewell to the old year and welcome in the new year while waltzing to compositions from the King of Waltz himself. This truly magnificent evening includes a concert performed by the masterful Salonorchester Alt Wien, a gourmet gala dinner, fantastic firework display and after party.
Johann Strauss Ball 2020
A traditional Vienna ball is something everyone should attend! The extensive programme of the evening features a glamorous opening ceremony, waltz workshop and midnight show, amongst many other spectacular surprises that will make the night one you’ll never forget.