The Vienna Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic Orchestras were both founded in 1842 and throughout their 175 year histories have shared a unique connection. The Vienna Philharmonic Society has aided in the presentation of an unprecedented exhibit of archival material at Vienna’s Haus der Musik through January, 2018. This free exhibit, which opened on March 29, 2017 has already shared the history of these two venerable orchestras with over 50,000 people in the first two months. Vienna Philharmonic Chairman Andreas Grossbauer, observed "Many objects, such as the founding documents, concert programs, orchestra and tour photos, musical scores, and letters from Gustav Mahler, are available for viewing by the public for the very first time.” The similarities and differences of the two Orchestras are highlighted and the relationships of both ensembles to celebrated composers Johannes Brahms, Anton Bruckner, and Gustav Mahler are explored. The exhibit highlights the collaborations with noted conductors including Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, and Arturo Toscanini. The exhibit also addresses the impact and ramifications the National Socialist era had on both Orchestras.
Interestingly, the Haus de Musik is on the site where the composer and founder of the Vienna Philharmonic Otto Nicolai (1810-1849) lived. It is now home to the archives of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and is accessible to the public. The Nicolai Room houses a few particularly important documents from Austria's musical and cultural past: the Vienna Philharmonic's "founding decree," the program from the first Philharmonic Concert, the first photo of the orchestra, and pictures of Otto Nicolai himself.