Vienna Philharmonia Ensemble

Masterful interpretations of classical music

The ability to make the familiar appear in a new light is truly a rare gift. When you combine this with spontaneity, artistic fantasy and imagination, you get a freshness, urgency and joy of experimentation that perfectly describe the Vienna Philharmonia Ensemble. This ensemble was founded in 1996 by Peter Wächter, exclusively with members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to the quartet, a string trio, a string quartet, a string quintet and the Philharmonia Ensemble, which is expanded to include wind instruments, were formed at the same time.

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The ensembles endeavour to reinterpret works from the Viennese Classical and Romantic periods. In doing so, they draw on the lifelong experience of Primarius and his colleagues. They are inspired by the soundscapes of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and its world-famous conductors, by the special Viennese musical interpretations and by the many ideas of the ensemble members themselves.

Over decades, the quartet has gained experience in chamber music and can point to numerous successes in concerts, particularly in Austria, throughout Europe and Japan. Critics praise the “immeasurable wealth of sound possibilities and offerings”, an “enormous spectrum of details” and “a wide range of musical imagination”. Many CD recordings of the quartet are also available on the market.

The musicians feel honoured, both individually and collectively, by repeated invitations to famous music halls around the world and for their wide-ranging repertoire. This recognition manifests itself not only in awards, but also in the adoration and love of the audience, which is a reflection of the high standards they set for themselves and their listeners.

In addition to their stage presence, the members of the quartet are also involved as teachers at various orchestral institutes, in masterclasses and in private lessons. They also see every concert as a lesson to pass on their enthusiasm for music, regardless of whether they perform alone or together.


Peter Wächter, violin

Peter Wächter, born on 8 October 1941 in Vienna, received the decisive impetus to play the violin from his grandfather. From the age of eight, he took lessons from Erich Graf. After leaving school, he continued his violin studies at the then Academy of Music with Franz Samohyl, a legendary teacher of several generations of violinists and violists, including thirty members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

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His first engagement was with the Bad Gastein spa orchestra in 1961, and in the 1961/62 season he worked with the Lower Austrian Tonkünstlerorchester. This was followed by an engagement with the Burgtheater Orchestra before he took up his post at the Vienna State Opera on 1 January 1964. Only nine months later, after a successful audition, he was promoted to principal second violin. On 1 November 1965, he became a member of the Vienna Philharmonic, and from 1981 he held the position of first violinist of the second violin section.

During his time at the academy, Wächter studied chamber music with Wilfried Böttcher, laying the foundations for his successful career. He was a member of the Philharmonia Quintet, co-founder of the Küchl Quartet, with whom he gave more than 330 concerts between 1973 and 1980, member and leader of the Vienna String Soloists and the Philharmonia Trio. He has also played in the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle for 41 years and was also a ticket administrator from 1969 to 1975 and a committee member in an advisory capacity from 1975/76 and 1991/92. Since 2001 he has been artistic director of the Steinbach Philharmonic Weeks in Steinbach am Attersee.

Peter Wächter has been involved in over 30 recordings on disc and CD, including all of Joseph Haydn’s string trios and all of Brahms’ piano quartets. He has been awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, the Medal of Honour for Services to the Federal Capital of Vienna and the Cross of Merit of the Province of Salzburg, among other honours



Programme proposal “fifty to fifty – classical music and Biedermeier”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
String Quartet KV 575 in D major “Violets”

  1. Allegretto
  2. Andante
  3. Menuetto. Allegretto
  4. Allegretto

‘Alla turca’ from the Piano Sonata KV 331

Johann Strauss Son

  • Treasure Waltz op. 418
  • Annen-Polka op. 117
  • Tritsch-Tratsch, Polka fast op. 214
  • ‘Sounds of home’, song and cárdás from the operetta “Die Fledermaus”
  • Wo die Citronen blüh’n, Waltz op. 364
  • On the Hunt Polka fast op. 373
Programme suggestion “Into the New Year with Lehár and Ziehrer”

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy – String quartet op.12 E flat major

  1. Adagio non troppo – Allegro non tardante
  2. Canzonetta. Allegretto – Più mosso
  3. Andante espressivo – attacca
  4. Molto allegro e vivace

Carl Michael Ziehrer

  • Fan Polonaise op. 525

Franz Lehár

  • Free and young, march from the operetta “Schön ist die Welt”

Carl Michael Ziehrer

  • On the high seas, Waltz op. 66
  • Münch’ner Kind’l, Polka française op. 395
  • Let go, Polka fast op. 386

Franz Lehár

  • Gold and Silver, Waltz op. 79
  • ‘Hör’ ich Cymbalklänge’, song and Csárdás from the operetta “Zigeunerliebe”

Carl Michael Ziehrer

  • Sensationsnachricht, Polka fast op.418