Discover classical music history through its legendary composers along the Danube River

Two iconic composers sparked movements in the music world, ringing in a spectacular duet of anniversaries that were celebrated in 2020. 

Happy 250th Birthday 

The year 2020 marked the 250th anniversary (WienBeethoven2020) of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth and his impact on music. The musical genius’s most famous works continue to transcend time and culture. Defying the odds of his foreboding future of complete hearing loss, he still managed to compose some of his greatest works, including his renowned Fifth Symphony. 

Vienna, Austria: Beethoven’s Second Home 

Beethoven was officially baptized on December 17, 1770, in Bonn, Germany along the Rhine River, though he was likely born a day or two earlier. However, for 35 years, Beethoven made his home in Vienna, Austria, which you can visit during select Danube River itineraries. Extend your journey in Vienna as part of your optional Vienna land package before your Gems of Southeast Europe sailing. 

Strolling the city’s streets, you can see notes of Beethoven’s past through various landmarks, from memorial plaques to museums. Imagine visiting Theater an der Wien, a cherished historic theatre venue that hosted Beethoven’s first opera performance of Fidelio. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the rich melodies of this classic opera piece. And on board many of our Danube and Rhine River itineraries, you can behold performances by local string trio La Strada as they occasionally play some of Beethoven’s works. 

A Classical Prodigy  

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – one of the world’s greatest composers – has captivated audiences for centuries with his transformative music. Stories say he spoke highly of Beethoven’s talent and promising future in music; however, there is no official proof that these icons ever met. Pushing through musical boundaries at a young age in the small city-state of Salzburg, Austria, this young composer quickly rose to fame in 1784 by performing 22 concerts within a span of five weeks. 

Salzburg, Austria: “City of Mozart” 

Salzburg honors Mozart’s legacy and the future of music by transforming into one giant stage, captivating musicians and music lovers all around during its annual Salzburg Festival each summer. Each year, visitors to the so-called “City of Mozart” during early summer may be fortunate enough to hear musicians rehearsing in the city. This festival celebrated its 100th anniversary in July 2020. 

During our Romantic DanubeMelodies of the DanubeGrand Danube Cruise, or Christmas Markets on the Danube itineraries, venture with us to Salzburg for a glimpse of the distinct golden façade of Mozart Geburtshaus at No. 9 Getreidegasse, where the visionary musician was born on January 27, 1756. You can also see more of Mozart’s legacy continue to flow while in Vienna. Visit his grand marble statue in Burggarten Park during your free time and follow his footsteps to Hofburg Palace where he performed his second public performance. 

Learn more about our Danube River itineraries and watch our virtual Sip & Sail Cocktail Hour titled “Inspired by the River: A Celebration of Classical Music” for more highlights on classical music composers, performances of their works and the regions in which they lived and performed. And don’t forget to watch our first-ever music video, “Ama Means Love (Family)” in homage to the year of music! 

Experience More Connections
“Drinking a Kölsch beer is more than just drinking a beer: it’s like drinking an entire culture.”
Read more
Cyndi Cashman raves about her girlfriend getaway on her Christmas Markets on the Rhine cruise.
Read more
Lisbon is currently one of the hotspots of European travel so take a page from the daring explorers that set sail from this magnificent city during the Age of Discovery.
Read more