Throughout the centuries, Europe has been home to some of history’s greatest classical music composers and performers – from Beethoven and Liszt, to Mozart and Strauss.
And today, the classical music scene is still thriving around the continent – offering music lovers all manner of breath-taking venues, captivating performances, and cultural exhibits.
Here are just a handful of Europe’s most inspiring cities for classical music….
When it comes to classical music, Budapest has a long, rich and proud heritage.
Whilst exploring the city, we recommend a visit to the city’s breath taking State Opera House. The Opera House plays host to at least 20 premieres each year, along with performances of many favourites, including Puccini, Verdi, and Wagner.
As well as the performances, there are also tours running daily, in a wide range of languages. The State Opera is also committed to bringing classical music to the people of Budapest, putting on outdoor concerts several times a year.
There are also a number of other venues in the city, which should certainly not be overlooked. The elegant Palace of the Arts plays host to free concerts in its open spaces, whilst the smaller Festival Theatre hosts regular performances.
The Béla Bartók National Concert Hall is renowned for being a feat of acoustics. The venue frequently plays host to a wide range of recitals, concerts, and orchestras, as part of its rotating programme.
Taking place each April, the Budapest Spring Festival encompasses all of these venues and more –bringing together a diverse mix of Hungarian and international stars!
It’s said that Vienna is to music what Athens is to sculpture and Florence is to painting, and the city is well within its rights to lay claim to being the European capital of classical music.
After all, many iconic composers such as Schubert, Brahms, Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart studied and worked here. In fact, you can still visit many of their former homes.
The home of the waltz, this city lives and breathes classical music. There are over 15,000 classical music events in Vienna each year, many of them at awe-inspiring venues. You can catch an outdoor performance in the city’s parks or enjoy regular recitals in one of the city’s great venues such as the Wiener Konzerthaus, the Theater an der Wien, the Wiener Musikverein, the Staatsoper, or the Volksoper.
Make time to visit to Vienna’s Haus der Musik, or House of Music - a high-tech museum, spread over five floors and renowned for its effective use of interactive technology to explore the physics of sound. You’ll even be able to try conducting the Vienna Philharmonic with your own virtual baton. But be warned, if you make a mistake, the musicians will put down their instruments until you get it right!
Prague is another European capital offering an array of sights, sounds, and experiences for music lovers.
In the 18th century, the world premieres of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and La Clemenza di Tito took place in the city’s historic Estates Theatre. Today, the tradition of world-class classical music continues, with the Czech Symphony Orchestra based at the magnificent Rudolfinum, where you’ll also find the classical and chamber music focussed Prague Spring International Music Festival.
Nightly concerts take place throughout the city, including in Lobkowicz Place, St George’s Basilica, and the tiny Café Mozart.
Oh, and whilst you’re there, don’t miss the Dvorak Museum for an insightful glimpse into the life of the Czech Republic’s most famous composer.
Salzburg is a key location in Europe’s classical music history and it’s not surprising given that it’s the birthplace of world-famous composer Mozart and, of course, the setting for the film The Sound of Music!
The world-famous Salzburg festival has taken place annually for almost a century, with operas, concerts, and theatre productions taking place in and around the city. The festival takes place during July and August, and, if it ties in with your visit, make sure you catch the festival’s most famous piece, the “Jedermann” by Hugo v Hoffmansthal, conducted in front of the iconic Dom.
As part of our Classic Music Series, we have a very special Danube cruise itinerary departing 24th April 2017. Featuring a private classical performance from guest Aled Jones, spend 8 days travelling from Budapest to Passau on one of our luxurious Space-Ships.