Tonkünstler Orchestra

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Tonkunstler Orchestra
Smetanova Litomysl 2018 (004).jpg
Tonkunstler Orchestra in Smetana's Litomyšl 2018 with pianist (front) Ivo Kahánek
Native nameTonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich
Former name
  • N.S. Wiener Tonkünstlerorchester
  • Gausymphonieorchester Niederdonau
  • Landessymphonieorchester Niederösterreich
  • Niederösterreichisches Tonkünstlerorchester
Founded1907 (1907)
Concert hall

The Tonkunstler Orchestra (German: Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich, German pronunciation: [ˈtoːnˌkʏnstlɐ ˌɔʁˈkɛstɐ ˈniːdɐˌʔøːstəʀaɪ̯ç] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) is an Austrian orchestra based in Vienna and St. Pölten, Lower Austria.

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.

Vienna Capital city and state in Austria

Vienna is the federal capital, largest city and one of nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Lower Austria State of Austria

Lower Austria is the northeasternmost of the nine states of Austria. Since 1986, the capital of Lower Austria has been St. Polten, the most recently designated capital in Austria. Previously, Lower Austria's capital was Vienna, even though Vienna has not officially been part of Lower Austria since 1921. With a land area of 19,186 km2 (7,408 sq mi) and a population of 1.612 million people, Lower Austria is the country's largest state; it is the second most populous after the federal state of Vienna. Other main cities are Amstetten, Krems an der Donau and Wiener Neustadt.


Origin of the name

The orchestra's name has its origins in the Tonkünstler-Sozietät, Wien, which was organizing concerts in the era of Haydn and Mozart. This name lived on in the Viennese "Tonkünstler Orchestra Association", which was founded at the beginning of the 20th century. The first concert was performed in 1907 at the Musikverein presenting works of Karl Goldmark, Edvard Grieg, Franz Liszt and Ludwig van Beethoven. In 1913 the Viennese Tonkünstler Orchestra were the first to perform Arnold Schönberg's "Gurrelieder". The Sunday afternoon performances of the orchestra were very popular with the Viennese audience. During World War I, the orchestra had to merge with the so-called "Vienna Concertverein" due to financial hardships. The association continued to organise concerts until 1933.

Musikverein concert hall in Vienna, Austria

The Wiener Musikverein, commonly shortened to Musikverein, is a concert hall in the Innere Stadt borough of Vienna, Austria. It is the home of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra.

Karl Goldmark Hungarian composer

Karl Goldmark was a Hungarian-born Viennese composer.

Edvard Grieg Norwegian composer and pianist

Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is widely considered one of the leading Romantic era composers, and his music is part of the standard classical repertoire worldwide. His use and development of Norwegian folk music in his own compositions brought the music of Norway to international consciousness, as well as helping to develop a national identity, much as Jean Sibelius and Bedřich Smetana did in Finland and Bohemia, respectively.


In the mid-1930s, the National Socialist conductor Leopold Reichwein founded a new orchestra, which took the name N.S. Wiener Tonkünstlerorchester after Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938. The orchestra then became the Gausymphonieorchester Niederdonau in 1939. It was doing concerts throughout World War II, mostly with the Kraft durch Freude and in supporting the Wehrmacht. The orchestra renamed itself in 1945 to Landessymphonieorchester Niederösterreich. In 1946 this ensemble tied to the Tonkünstler tradition and called itself Niederösterreichisches Tonkünstlerorchester (Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra). The tradition of Sunday afternoon concerts was also revived. In 2002, the orchestra underwent a re-structuring process and is now called Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich (Tonkünstler Orchestra of Lower Austria). The Tonkünstler was the first Austrian orchestra with a division focused solely on music education.

National Socialism, more commonly known as Nazism, is the ideology and practices associated with the Nazi Party – officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party – in Nazi Germany, and of other far-right groups with similar aims.

<i>Wehrmacht</i> unified armed forces of Germany from 1935 to 1945

The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe. The designation "Wehrmacht" replaced the previously used term Reichswehr, and was the manifestation of the Nazi regime's efforts to rearm Germany to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted.

Music education is a field of study associated with the teaching and learning of music. It touches on all learning domains, including the psychomotor domain, the cognitive domain, and, in particular and significant ways, the affective domain, including music appreciation and sensitivity. Music training from preschool through post-secondary education is common in most nations because involvement with music is considered a fundamental component of human culture and behavior. Cultures from around the world have different approaches to music education, largely due to the varying histories and politics. Studies show that teaching music from other cultures can help students perceive unfamiliar sounds more comfortably, and they also show that musical preference is related to the language spoken by the listener and the other sounds they are exposed to within their own culture.

From 2004 to 2009, Kristjan Järvi was principal conductor of the orchestra, [1] and his work with the orchestra included a commercial recording of Leonard Bernstein's Mass . In the 2009–2010 season, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, who was the orchestra's assistant conductor for two years, took up the post of principal conductor. His current contract with the orchestra is through the 2014-2015 season, after which he is scheduled to step down as principal conductor. In November 2013, the orchestra announced the appointment of Yutaka Sado as its next principal conductor, effective with the 2015-2016 season, with an initial contract of 3 years. To mark the opening of the 10th Grafenegg Festival in August 2016, his contract with the Tonkunstler was extended until summer 2022. [2] [3]

Kristjan Järvi Estonian conductor

Kristjan Järvi is an Estonian-born American conductor and pianist. Järvi is the younger son of Neeme Järvi, and the brother of conductor Paavo Järvi and flutist Maarika Järvi.

Leonard Bernstein American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist

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Mass (Bernstein) play

Mass is a musical theatre work composed by Leonard Bernstein with text by Bernstein and additional text and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy, it premiered on September 8, 1971, conducted by Maurice Peress and choreographed by Alvin Ailey. The performance was part of the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Mass premiered in Europe in 1973, with John Mauceri conducting the Yale Symphony Orchestra in Vienna.


Tonkunstler musicians in Grafenegg Musiker-in-Grafenegg.jpg
Tonkünstler musicians in Grafenegg

Tonkünstler Orchestra has its residencies in Vienna and Lower Austria. In Vienna, they perform concerts in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein. The Musikverein "Glass Hall" serves as the orchestra's rehearsal room. As the state orchestra of Lower Austria, Tonkünstler have a second residency in Festspielhaus St. Pölten. From summer 2007, the orchestra is also "orchestra in residence" at the international Grafenegg Music Festival.

Festspielhaus St. Pölten theatre in St. Pölten, Austria

The Festspielhaus St. Pölten is a Festspielhaus in St. Pölten, the capital of Lower Austria. It is located next to the Landesmuseum, the Ausstellungshalle, the Landesbibliothek, the Landesarchiv and the Klangturm in the cultural district of St. Pölten.

Principal conductors

  • Leopold Reichwein (1933–1939)
  • Bert Costa (1939–1943)
  • Friedrich Jung (1944–1945)
  • Kurt Wöss (1946–1951)
  • Gustav Koslik (1951–1964)
  • Heinz Wallberg (1964–1975)

Kurt Wöss was an Austrian conductor and musicologist.

Heinz Wallberg was a German conductor.

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  1. Ben Mattison (20 December 2005). "Kristjan Järvi Extends Contract With Austria's Tonkünstler Orchestra". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  2. "Yutaka Sado wird Chefdirigent des Tonkünstler-Orchesters" (PDF) (Press release). Tonkünstler Orchestra. November 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
  3. "Yutaka Sado wird neuer Tonkünstler-Chefdirigent". Der Standard. 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2013-11-28.