50 Years of the Tonkunstler Orchestra in Grafenegg

From Beethoven’s «Coriolanus» overture in the Castle Courtyard in 1973 to the premiere of a fanfare by French composer Philippe Manoury in 2023: the Tonkunstler Orchestra has been coming to Grafenegg for 50 years.

In this time the major Austrian orchestra has played a typically wide repertoire: Viennese Classicism, Romanticism and contemporary music, familiar pieces and rarities, jazz and world music. The Tonkunstler Orchestra tours in Europe and Asia, while returning regularly to Grafenegg.

Since 1975 the Tonkunstler Orchestra has played at least once per summer in the Grafenegg Castle Courtyard or the Riding School, and since 1997 has played between three and eight concerts annually.

With the construction of the daring open-air stage Wolkenturm in 2007 and the equally impressive Auditorium, with its outstanding acoustics, the following year, the orchestra gained two new attractive venues in Grafenegg, both of which it inaugurated. The Tonkunstler Orchestra was appointed orchestra in residence at the first Grafenegg Festival in 2007.

These fifty years are full of stories. For the Tonkunstler’s 1975 performance of Haydn’s «Creation» with the Wiener Singverein and Walter Weller, for example, they were joined by two newcomers: Robert Holl, who would help define the Tonkunstler’s work here over the next 25 years, and Edita Gruberova. Among the other singers have been Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Piotr Beczała, Pretty Yende and Marlis Petersen, and soloists have included Sabine Meyer, Christian Tetzlaff, Sol Gabetta, Lang Lang and Khatia Buniatishvili. On the podium have been not just Tonkunstler Music Directors such as Fabio Luisi, Andrés Orozco-Estrada and, currently, Yutaka Sado, but also Ivor Bolton, Kent Nagano und Simone Young.

One concert that reverberates to this day was in September 1985. It was Beethoven’s Concerto for Piano and Ochestra No. 5 in E flat major op. 73 with the Tonkunstler’s long-standing Music Director Heinz Wallberg conducting. The soloist: Beethoven specialist Rudolf Buchbinder, who returned 20 years later as artistic director of the Festival to help build Grafenegg into a world-class musical space.

A new chapter of artistry in sound is added to the Tonkunstler story at Grafenegg each year. Hear for yourself.


19/08 Sat
Tonkunstler Orchestra / Yutaka Sado
Anniversary concert / 7.30 P.M. · Wolkenturm



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