Vienna Philharmonic
Vienna Philharmonic

Vienna Philharmonic

About Vienna Philharmonic

​​Arguably the world's most famous orchestra, the Wiener Philharmoniker is renowned for a beautifully burnished sound that has changed little since the 19th century. Founded in 1842, the philharmonic operates under its own "democratic self-administration" and tunes to a relatively bright A note of 443 Hz (rather than the standard 440 Hz). In 1870, it moved into Vienna's Musikverein building, where it was led until 1933 by a series of season-long conductors such as Gustav Mahler and Wilhelm Furtwängler. After that, the philharmonic abandoned the standard orchestral practice of committing to a principal conductor; instead, only highly regarded guest maestros (including Bruno Walter, Herbert von Karajan, and Leonard Bernstein) were hired for concerts in Vienna and elsewhere. Its sumptuous signature sound, a combination of atypical instruments like Viennese horns and oboe, can be enjoyed across more than 70 recordings of blue-chip fare. In the 2010s, the orchestra began to reckon with its past—primarily by opening its archive from WWII, when as many as 60 of its 123 musicians were active Nazis—while adding female musicians to the longtime all-male bastion and continuing to strive for musical excellence.

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