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The Greek who created the Vienna Musikverein

31 December 2013 / 10:12:54  GRReporter
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For millions of people around the world, apart from anything else, New Year starts with the festive concert of the Vienna Philharmonic, which is held on 1 January and broadcasted by hundreds of TV channels worldwide. However, few are the chosen who have the chance to watch the musical event live from the Golden Hall of the Society of Friends of Music. Only the most observant and curious, however, know that the Society and its beautiful neoclassical building exist thanks to a Greek businessman and Maecenas - Nikolaos Doumbas.

Nikolaos Doumbas was born in Vienna to parents who come from Serres, northern Greece. In 1853, he settled in the city of Tattendorf where he bought his first weaving factory. Over time, his entrepreneurship extended in various areas of industry and finance, and he became one of the wealthiest citizens of the Austro -Hungarian Empire. Although he dealt with politics - he was a member of the lower house of the Austro- Hungarian Parliament, later he also became life member of the upper house of parliament and privy counsellor to the Emperor, he remained in history with his patronage in the field of culture.

Undoubtedly, Nikolaos Doumbas’s most remarkable contribution was in terms of music. Not only because his personal friends were composers such as Richard Wagner and Johann Strauss, who composed his famous waltz "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" at Doumbas’s house and performed it for 

the first time in front of the Greek patron. Doumbas was the discoverer of Schubert, whose manuscripts he kept after his death and bequeathed to the Vienna library. But what we will always connect the name of the wealthy Greek with is the founding of the Vienna Society of Friends of Music and the construction of its famous building. Here you can take a look at its splendour:

Nikolaos Doumbas personally reported to Emperor Franz Joseph for the completion of the construction of the building, which officially opened in January 1870. At the time, he was vice president of the Society of Friends of Music, and the building, which has the form of a Greek temple, was built almost entirely with his own money. In gratitude, the Austrian Government named one of the streets leading to the Musikverein after him.

The Golden Hall, where the festive New Year concert is held on 1 January every year, has 1,744 seats and gathers another 300 standing. Besides the festive New Year concert, there are two pre- concerts on 30 December at 11 a.m. and on 31 December at 7.30 p.m. Ticket prices for the show on 30 December range between 130 euro and 380 euro, while those for the show on 31 December - between 25 euro and 720 euro. For the festive New Year concert, tickets cost between 30 euro and 940 euro. And yet, it is difficult to obtain the desired ticket – you have to participate in a lottery which the Vienna Philharmonic carries out every spring for the right to buy a ticket for the next New Year's concert.


Nikolaos Doumbas died of a heart attack on 23 March 1900 in Budapest. He was buried with state honours in Vienna, in the alley of musicians in the central cemetery Central Frihtof, alongside Beethoven, Mozart, Strauss and Brahms.












And here is our New Year's greeting with wishes for a very festive mood:

Tags: Musicverein Society of Friends of Music Vienna Philharmonic Nikolaos Doumbas Festive Christmas Concert Strauss Richard Wagner Brahms
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