The orchestra was formed in 1900 by the conductor Ferdinand Löwe. It was then called the Wiener Concertverein (Vienna Concert Society). In 1913 it moved into the Konzerthaus, Vienna. In 1919 it joined with the Tonkünstler Orchestra. In 1933 it got the name it has today: Vienna Symphony (Wiener Symphoniker).
Their first concert after the war was on 16 September 1945, when they performed Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 3. Their conductor Josef Krips quickly helped them to become a great orchestra. From 1946 they were often conducted by Herbert von Karajan who toured with them throughout Europe and North America. In 1959 the VSO performed for Pope John XXIII at Vatican City.
Today Fabio Luisi is their chief conductor.
Chief conductors [change]
- 1900-1925 Ferdinand Löwe
- 1920s-1930s Wilhelm Furtwängler (as director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde)
- 1933-1940s Oswald Kabasta
- 1946-1948 Hans Swarowsky
- 1948-1960 Herbert von Karajan (as director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde)
- 1960-1970 Wolfgang Sawallisch
- 1970-1973 Josef Krips (artistic advisor)
- 1973-1976 Carlo Maria Giulini
- 1980-1982 Gennady Rozhdestvensky
- 1986-1991 Georges Prêtre (principal guest conductor)
- 1991-1996 Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
- 1997-2005 Vladimir Fedoseyev
- 2005-present Fabio Luisi