Where Music Meets the TU Vienna
 Johann Strauß II monument¹
 in the Stadtpark of Vienna

Johann Strauß II

In Austria, and especially in Vienna, there is a long-standing and flourishing tradition of classical music and opera. It is fair to say that this tradition makes up an important part of Vienna's famous history. An example of this is the Strauß dynasty, which gained enormous popularity while living in Vienna, with Johann Strauß II (1825 -1899) leading the way. Surprisingly, and in stark contrast to his later musical career, Johann Strauß II studied at the Wiener Polytechnikum, the predecessor of the today's Technische Universität Wien. Despite a life-long rivalry with his father and adverse political struggles, he nevertheless became one of the most prominent composers of his time.
His repertoire encompasses operettas, waltzes, quadrilles, and polkas. He was at the forefront of the golden era of Viennese operetta, and composed one of the best known operettas, "Die Fledermaus". In addition, the operettas "Eine Nacht in Venedig" as well as "Der Zigeuner Baron" are worth mentioning here. Due to the numerous waltzes he composed (e.g "Kaiserwaltzer"), he is also called the "King of the Waltz". Even today, the well-known waltz "Donauwaltzer", regularly performed as the highlight of the New Year's concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, still intrigues the audience. He was fascinated by the technological advancements of the time, and dedicated several compositions to them. Two of them can be heard on this year's Annual Review CD.

On the CD version of our Annual Review 2009:

1. Elektrophor (Electrophor), op. 297 (in 1865) Fast polka [2:44] Performed by the TU Orchestra
2. Durchs Telefon (Through the telephone²), op. 439 (in 1890) Polka [2:40] Performed by the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra³

¹ Author: Friedrich Böhringer, Distributed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License
² Loose translation
³ With friendly permission of NAXOS Deutschland GmbH


TU Orchestra

The Orchestra of the Vienna University of Technology was founded in 1984 by Gisela Kemmerling, the wife of the rector at that time. The goal of the orchestra is to promote musical activities at the university and to contribute significantly as a musical hallmark to the self-concept of its alma mater. As well as students and associates of the University of Technology, students from other universities in Vienna and other interested instrumentalists are warmly welcome as participants.
The orchestra has given concerts in every semester since its founding with both full symphonic instrumentation and chamber music ensembles of all sizes. The repertoire includes compositions from all stylistic epochs from J.S. Bach to Gottfried von Einem, as well as premier performances of works which have been especially composed for the orchestra. Tours have taken the orchestra to Budapest, Graz and Salzburg, as well as to Turkey, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Slovenia. Very soon, chamber music groups will be formed with various instrumentation to provide musical accompaniment for festive occasions and international congresses at the University of Technology.
In 1996 the orchestra broadened its musical spectrum and performed an opera for the first time at the Vienna University of Technology. This was "La Serva Padrona" by Pergolesi, which they also presented in a guest performance in Italy. This development was continued successfully in both Italy and Vienna with performances of Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte" (1998), Rossini's "Il Barbiere di Seviglia" (1999) and Haydn's "L'Infedeltà delusa" (2000). In 2003/2004 further opera projects were successfully realized: "Don Carlo" by Verdi and "Die Zauberflöte" and "Die Entführung aus dem Serail" by Mozart.
The orchestra's 15th anniversary was celebrated in 1999 in the Großer Musikvereinssaal (the concert hall of the Vienna Music Association, home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) as a benefit concert for the charity "Menschen für Menschen" with a performance of Haydn's oratorio "Die Schöpfung".
The orchestra was on tour in Slovenia for New Year's Eve 2005/06. In May 2006 they were invited to travel to Istanbul, where they performed at a local German high school for the opening of a week of culture.
In December 2004 the orchestra celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gala concert in the Wiener Konzerthaus.
We will be celebrating the 25 year existence of our orchestra on December 13, 2009 with a gala concert in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Music Association. The program includes the 9th symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven.

ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra

In 1969, the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra emerged from the Grand Orchestra of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) and ever since has been gaining status as one of the most versatile orchestras in Austria. Since its foundation, the Vienna RSO has concentrated mainly on cultivating contemporary music. Under its chief conductors Milan Horvat, Leif Segerstam, Lothar Zagrosek, Pinchas Steinberg, and Dennis Russell Davies, the ORF Orchestra continued to expand its repertoire to include music from the pre-classical period all the way to the avant-garde. As of September 1, 2002, Bertrand de Billy has been Chief Conductor of the Vienna RSO.
In addition to its own concert series at the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the orchestra has been performing regularly at major festivals in Austria and abroad, with particularly strong ties to the Salzburg Festival. Extensive touring took the Vienna RSO last to Japan, furthermore to the USA, South America and Asia, as well as to many countries throughout Europe. Guest performers of the Vienna RSO have included such famous artists as Leonard Bernstein, Ernest Bour, Andrew Davis, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Gielen, Hans Werner Henze, Ernst Krenek, Bruno Maderna, Krzysztof Penderecki, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Guiseppe Sinopoli, Hans Swarowsky and Jeffrey Tate. Starting with the season 2009/2010 the Hungarian composer and conductor Peter Eötvös will become first guest conductor. Cornelius Meister - currently Music Director in Heidelberg - will take over the Chief Conductor position starting with the season 2010/11.
Over the past years the Vienna RSO has also established its position as opera orchestra with productions at the Theater an der Wien. Since 2007 the orchestra has been closely cooperating with that theater.
The orchestra's comprehensive recordings for the ORF and CD productions cover music of all genres, including many first recordings of representatives of the classical modern era in Austria and Austrian contemporary composers.
Part of the philosophy of the Vienna RSO is to pay special attention to up-and-coming young musicians. Examples that the orchestra is keen on performing this task are, for instance, the Orchestra Academy, the final concerts of the university's Conductors Class, rehearsals for children, and the series "Classic Temptation": The latter are talk concerts at the ORF RadioKulturhaus and the Theater an der Wien, where children and youngsters are given an introduction to exemplary works of musical history.

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