Christmas in Austria
SALZBURG, Austria – A wide variety of holiday concerts are available to tourists
visiting Austria during the holiday season. This is to be expected in a land that gave
rise to the musical genius of Wolfgang Mozart, Anton Bruckner, Johann Strauss Sr.
and Jr. and Franz Schubert. Concert venues range from magnificent castles and
fortresses to cruise boats on the Danube and a tiny chapel along the Salzach River.
The hottest ticket in Salzburg is for “Salzburger Adventsingen,” a program of Advent
music and folk lore which began more than a half century ago. With close to 100,000
ticket requests each year, only 30,000 will be lucky enough to gain admission. Still,
there are dozens of other concerts to be heard each week during the Advent,
Christmas, and New Year season.
Some of the most delightful are the
candlelight concerts in the
Hohensalzburg Fortress overlooking
the city. If you´re lucky you may hear
the unusual “Concerto for Strings and
Alpenhorn” by Leopold Mozart,
Wolfgang´s father. Just be sure that you
are not sitting in the front row where
you will find several alpenhorns extending right off the stage. Other holiday
concerts are held at the Mozarteum, at the outdoor Christmas Market, and in various
churches and concert halls throughout the city.
Just outside Salzburg, on December 24, a torchlight and lantern procession will
move from the Franz Gruber School in Arnsdorf to the Silent Night Memorial Chapel
in Oberndorf. You can join the procession and even sing the carols with people from
all over the world who flock to the birthplace of the world´s best known Christmas
carol, “Silent Night.”
The Advent concert series in Innsbruck features groups of family singers and
instrumentalists similar to the Trapp Family Singers of “Sound of Music” fame. In
Austria, it´s not at all unusual to find families who play music, everything from
classical to folk melodies, in their leisure hours. When they come together in concert
at Innsbruck’s Congress Hall, it becomes a memorable occasion.
Meanwhile in Vienna, choirs from around the world present traditional and modern
Christmas songs and folk music in the ceremonial rooms of the Vienna City Hall on
weekends in November and December as part of a yearly international choral
The fact is, every village, every hamlet, and every city in Austria will be filled with
the glorious sounds of the holiday season throughout November and December. It is
truly the land of the “Sound of Music.”