World premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Vienna
May 7, 1824
German composer Ludwig Van Beethoven with the Rasowmowsky Quartet
The performance was conducted by Michael Umlauf under the composer’s supervision, in the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna. This was the composer’s first on-stage appearance in 12 years; the hall was packed with an eager audience and a number of musicians.
The premiere of Symphony No. 9 involved the largest orchestra ever assembled by Beethoven and required the combined efforts of the Kärntnertor house orchestra, The Vienna Music Society (Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde), along with a select group of capable amateurs. While no complete list of premiere performers exists, many of Vienna’s most elite performers are known to have participated.
Beethoven – Symphony No. 9 in D minor Op. 125 The choir of the Berlin German Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
At the end of the performance (though some sources say it could have been after the 2nd movement), it was said that Beethoven continued conducting even though the music had ended. One of the soloists stopped him and turned him around to accept his applause. The audience was well aware of Beethoven’s health and hearing loss, so in addition to clapping, they threw their hats and scarves in the air so that he could see their overwhelming approval.