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Striking The Right Note: The World’s 10 Best Classical Music Cities

Choosing the world’s 10 best classical music cities was no easy feat, but someone had to do it!

We’ve scoured East to West, exploring the concert halls, theatres, orchestras and famous musicians which make these classical music hotspots unique.

They strike all the right notes with their audiences – and with us here at Insure4Music.

1. Amsterdam, Holland

The Dutch capital boasts a stunning array of venues, famous with classical music aficionados the world-over.

Amongst its most beloved concert halls is the Royal Concertgebouw, widely regarded as one of the world’s best and home to the Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra. Another notable venue is the Oude Kerk, a 13th century church and Amsterdam’s oldest building.

Amsterdam’s concert season runs from September to June, with free lunchtime concerts held at 12:30pm every Wednesday. If there is a musical bucket list, attending one of these shows should be on it.

2. Berlin, Germany

With one seventh of the world’s opera houses located in Germany, it’s inevitable that some of the most prestigious classical music venues are situated in the capital, Berlin.

A favourite with classical music connoisseurs is the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, an opera house dating back to 1741, famous for its outstanding performances of Wagner’s operas.

There is also the Berliner Philharmonie, home to the globally celebrated Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, which was recently voted the world’s second best orchestra.

3. Leipzig, Germany

Another German city and classical music hotbed, Leipzig is the hometown of a certain Johann Sebastian Bach.  If that wasn’t impressive enough, Wagner was born and educated here, while Mahler and Mendelssohn both spent plenty of time in the city.

The legacy left by these incredible names lives on through the annual Leipzig Bach Festival, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and the University of Music and Theatre, which was founded by Mendelssohn in 1843.

 4. London, England

Another European capital steeped in classical music heritage, London contains countless venues housing some of the greatest orchestras in the world, including Barbican Arts Centre (home to the London Symphony Orchestra) and Cadogan Hall (principal base of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra).

Above all, let’s not forget the Albert Hall. Swathed in terracotta and held under a 20,000ft glazed-iron roof, it is iconic for holding The Proms every summer since 1941. Another little-known fact about this gem? Its pipe organ is the largest in the UK.

5. Milan, Italy

Milan is truly the place to be for opera-goers. Its La Scala opera house, a flamboyant theatre enriched in red velvet and crystal chandeliers, hosts a variety of concerts and ballets. Through the years, it has premiered some of the most acclaimed operas of all time, such as Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco and Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

Other major Milanese classical music venues include the Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Teatro Dal Verme, and Teatro Verdi.

6. New York

New York’s musical heritage isn’t just founded on Broadway. The Big Apple has a stellar classical music repertoire dating back to 1842, when the New York Philharmonic orchestra was formed.

They, and many other orchestral groups, can be found playing in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts – one of many leading classical music hubs, not just in New York but globally.

Arguably New York’s finest classical concert venue is Carnegie Hall. Opened in 1891, it has hosted all manner of musicians, most notably Tchaikovsky.

7. Paris

Paris’s musical history can be traced back to the Middle Ages, so it will come as little surprise that it has made our list.

This is a city in which such classical composers as Ravel, Debussy, Chopin and Salieri have all plied their trade, producing music which remains popular among contemporary audiences to this day. Paris’s wealth of musical talent has never been without a stage, whether it be the Palais Garnier, La Philarharmonie de Paris or the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.

8. Sydney, Australia

When you assess Sydney’s classical music credentials, you needn’t look much further than its iconic opera house. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon in 1973, it occupies the flank of Sydney Harbour and its roof is constructed of over a million glazed white granite tiles, giving it its distinctive appearance.

Home to the Sydney Orchestra, the opera house contains eight performance venues, including the Concert Hall – which features the world’s largest mechanical tracker action organ!

9. Tokyo, Japan

Like Sydney, Tokyo is far removed (at least geographically) from some of the more conventional Western cities with centuries of pedigree. But its classical music portfolio is equally noteworthy.

It has as many classical venues as New York and Paris, one of which is the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall. Also known as ‘Takemitsu Memorial’ in honour of the late Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, this building is designed in a shoebox style, with its pyramid-shaped interior wrapped completely in oak. The result is a stunning resonance which only makes the resident Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra sound even better.

10. Vienna, Austria

Vienna is arguably one of the world’s leading cultural pioneers. The city holds live classic music for around 10,000 people per night and its concert schedule consists of more than 15,000 events.

Making up its musical alumni are Beethoven (who established himself in the Austrian capital), Mozart, and Haydn. Oh, and Schubert was born and bred here, too.

Its venues include the Musikverein, where you can catch the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which hosts Vienna’s renowned and internationally televised annual New Year concert. There is also the Vienna State Opera, which was recently immortalised in Mission Impossible 5!

If you want to see more of what Vienna’s music scene has to offer, the Theater an der Wien, the Staatsoper and the Volksoper aren’t half bad either.

Whether you’re performing in Paris or Peterborough, you need proof of Public Liability insurance if you’re playing live, otherwise most venues won’t allow you to perform.

Thankfully, this is where Insure4Music comes in. As well as Public Liability insurance, we can also cover equipment against theft, loss and accidental damage as well as Personal Accident insurance in case anyone hurts themselves performing. To get tailor-made music insurance from just £20 a year, get your instant quote online today!

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