The Vienna Singverein (Singverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien) is the concert choir of the Vienna Musikverein with around 230 members. It is regularly requested by top orchestras and conductors for large and varied projects.


In 1812 the Handel oratorio Alexander's Feast (Timotheus) was performed in the Winter Riding School of theVienna Imperial Palace, an event, which led to the founding of the Society of Music Friends in Vienna(Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien). The first choral activities of the Musikverein go back to the initiative of Antonio Salieri, for example, taking part in the First Performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnisand the Symphony No. 9 in 1824.

The choir was founded in its present form in 1858. The first choir master was Johann von Herbeck until his transfer to the Vienna Court Opera. The Singverein has been substantially involved in many first performances from Schubert’s musical play Die Verschworenen (The Conspirators), Johannes Brahms’ A German RequiemAnton Bruckner’s Te deumGustav Mahler's Symphonie No. 8 and Franz Schmidt’s Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln up to composers of the second post war period, like Gerd KührChristian MuthspielArvo PärtWolfram Wagner and Otto Zykan.

Since its foundation the Singverein has been partner of important conductors, among them Franz SchalkWilhelm FurtwänglerDimitri MitropoulosKarl Böhm and Leonard Bernstein. From 1947 to 1989 Herbert von Karajan defined the profile of the choir and made it known world wide through recordings, concert film productions on laser disc.

Concert tours took the choir to Australia, Japan and the USA; further concerts among others were in Israel, Athens, Berlin, Budapest, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Pisa, Rome, and Zurich. In 1959 a performance of the Bruckner Te Deum took place in the Vatican, as well as in 1985 a performance of the Mozart Coronation Mass during the High Mass with Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica under Karajan.

Choir MastersEdit

The first choir master Herbeck was followed by Johannes Brahms, then from mid-twentieth century Ferdinand Grossmann, Reinhold Schmid and Helmut Froschauer. Since 1991 Johannes Prinz has been the choir master engaged by the Vienna Musikverein.

Conductors and OrchestrasEdit

In recent times the choir has worked, among others, with Daniel BarenboimBertrand de BillyHerbert BlomstedtMichael BoderAndrey BoreykoPierre BoulezSemyon BychkovRiccardo ChaillyMyung-whun ChungChristoph von DohnányiGustavo DudamelChristoph EschenbachVladimir Fedosejev,Ádám FischerRafael Frühbeck de BurgosDaniele GattiValery GergievLeopold HagerNikolaus HarnoncourtMartin HaselböckKristjan JärviMariss JansonsPhilippe JordanTon KoopmanEmmanuel Krivine, Markus Landerer, Fabio LuisiLorin MaazelSir Charles MackerrasWayne MarshallZubin MehtaCornelius MeisterIngo MetzmacherRiccardo MutiAndrés Orozco-EstradaEiji OueSeiji OzawaKrzysztof PendereckiGeorges PrêtreSimon RattleWolfgang SawallischTugan SokhievChristian ThielemannMarcello ViottiBruno Weil and Franz Welser-Möst.

The Vienna orchestras regularly working with the Singverein are the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, The Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra as well as the Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra. Among the orchestras outwith Vienna are the Berlin Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Bavarian State Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra London, L’Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France and the Orchestre National de France, the Austrian-Hungarian Haydnphilharmonie, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio, the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini, and the Chamber Orchestra of the Zurich Opera House.

Jubilee 2008 and NewsEdit

The Jubilee-Season 150 Years Vienna Singverein (2008) was celebrated by a concert tour to Moscow (Gala concert with the Missa Solemnis in the Tchaikovsky Conservatory), a ceremony and a joint concert with the Vienna Singakademie in the Musikverein and in the Konzerthaus singing the Berlioz Requiem. The final Jubilee Concerts took place in Amsterdam with the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest under Mariss Jansons, four performances of theRequiem op. 89 by Antonín Dvořák. Finally a Leonard-Bernstein-Concert and then a High Mass with Cardinal Christoph Schönborn in St Stephan’s Cathedralwith a performance of Beethoven’s Mass in C.

The Season 2009/2010 began with a concert tour to Japan, where Haydn’s The Creation and Brahms’ Requiem were performed in the Izumi-Hall in Osaka. In honour of his 80th birthday, Nikolaus Harnoncourt again conducted the Singverein in a performance of Schmidt’s Book with Seven Seals. On the occasion of his 85th birthday, Pierre Boulez conducted concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic and the Singverein; including the Song of the Night (Symphony Nr 3, op. 27) by Karol Szymanowski and Symphonie de psaumes by Stravinsky as well as the Glagolitic Mass (Glagolská mse) by Janáček. Further, for the first time the Singverein was brought in by Christian Thielemann to perform the Ninth Symphony in the complete cycle of the Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic. The Singverein also took part in the Vienna Summer Night’s Concert, which the Philharmonic gave in the park of the Schönbrunn Palace and was broadcast live on Austrian Radio and TV and internationally on 3Sat, singing the Moon Chorus from Otto Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor. After two performances of Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bucher, in Vienna and In the Linz Bruckner House – with the RSO under Bertrand de Billy, Johanna Wokalek, Peter Matic, Herbert Lippert and the Vienna Boys’ Choir – the Singverein made a guest appearance with this work in the Felsenreitschule at theSalzburg Festival. It was de Billy’s last concert as principal conductor of the RSO, Fanny Ardant played Jeanne. Later in August, the Singverein performedMendelssohn’s Cantata, The First Walpurgis Night (MWV D3) at the Grafenegg Music Festival.

To celebrate the centenary of the first performance Mahler’s Symphony Nr. 8 (Symphony of a Thousand), in which the Singverein took part in September 1910, the choir, along with the Philharmonic Choir Munich and the Tölzer Boys’ Choir, was invited to the Gasteig Philharmonie to give two performances under the direction of Christian Thielemann in October 2010.

In the year 2011, concerts with works by Olivier Messiaen, Schostakovitsch and Mahler under Ingo Metzmacher, Bruckner’s E minor Mass and choral works by Peter Planyavsky under Johannes Prinz and for the first time under Cornelius Meister and Gustavo Dudamel, works by Janáček and Mahler took place.

Recent Recordings (CD, DVD, Livestream)Edit


  • August Böhm: Geschichte des Singvereines der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien. Wien 1908.
  • Gottfried Möser (edit., Text: Desiree Hornek / Chronik: Rudolf Toncourt): Festschrift 125 Jahre Singverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien (1858–1983). Viennna 1983.
  • Gottfried Möser: Der Singverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien; seine Geschichte mit besonderer Darstellung der Jahre 1933 bis 2000. Vienna 2003.
  • Gottfried Möser: Das Chorwesen in Wien in der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Thesis Vienna 2004.
  • Joachim Reiber: Wiener Singverein – Menschen Stimmen Götterfunken (2007) *[1]

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