The Vienna Symphony Orchestra’s Johann Strauß EnsembleThe Vienna Symphony Orchestra's Johann Strauß Ensemble was founded in 1965 and is a reproduction of the orchestra in which Johann Strauß' son began his great career in 1844 at the Casino Dommayer in Hietzing, Vienna.
Like his father and Joseph Lanner before him, the young Johann Strauß also spent much time playing with a small orchestra.
Under the leadership of concertmaster Walter Puschacher, twelve musicians from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra founded the Johann Strauß Ensemble in 1965, with the intention of reviving traditional instrumentation.
Following tradition, the first violinist is also the artistic director. The focus is thus on an authentic and typically Viennese interpretation of music by members of the Strauß dynasty and Joseph Lanner, as well as Wiener Klassiker (Viennese Classic) dance music.
There followed a long-term collaboration with Hans Totzauer, former music director at the Vienna Burgtheater. He arranged numerous pieces by the Strauß dynasty, Joseph Lanner and pieces in the Viennese Classical style for the Ensemble. These arrangements – the exclusive possession of the Ensemble and modelled on the quality of originals no longer in existence - are today the Johann Strauß Ensemble's greatest treasure.
In the first ten years under concert master Walter Puschacher, concerts took place in Austria, and there were tours to Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The first big overseas tour took the Ensemble to South Africa in 1970, followed in 1971 by the first of seven trips to the USA and Canada.
In 1975, Peter Guth took over musical leadership of the Ensemble. The USA trips continued throughout this period, and numerous concerts were also held in France, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Collaboration with Johannes Wildner began in 1984, when for a short time Wildner lead the Ensemble alongside Peter Guth. They continued to tour Scandinavia; then came regular concerts at the Bregenz festivals, the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra's Kammermusikzyklus (chamber music concert) at the Wiener Musikverein (Viennese Music Association), as well as trips to South Tyrol and Poland. Annual concert tours to Japan began in 1989, and are still a fixed date on the concert calendar today.
Concert master Anton Sorokow lead the annual tour to Japan for the first time in 2008. Since then the Ensemble has been lead by Johannes Wildner and Anton Sorokow alternately.
In addition to playing over 1100 concerts to date, the
Ensemble has featured in many records, CDs and film shoots playing works by members of the Strauß dynasty, and Joseph Lanner. Renowned solo singers are also an increasingly popular element in the programme.