The “promotion of music in all its facets” – this was the foremost aim of the new society. Three important initiatives contributed towards this: the music lovers began organising their own concerts and thereby took the decisive step towards the establishment of a public concert life in Vienna.
They founded their academy of music, which also made them pioneers; the society’s school of music was the first public music school of all in the city of Vienna. They also recognised the necessity of systematically collecting historical musical documents. This was the beginning of the archives of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, one of the most important music collections in the world.
Of these three elements, the society has given up only one of them. The music school, which had become too small to accommodate the large numbers of students from the whole Habsburg Empire, was taken over by the government in 1909 and as the “K.K. Akademie” was the predecessor of the present Academy of Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna.
Before then the society’s music school had already made history. In addition to other famous teachers, Anton Bruckner was Professor of Harmony, Counterpoint and Organ Playing. Gustav Mahler and Alexander Zemlinsky, Leos Janàcek and Hugo Wolf sat on the benches of the Musikverein school.
The two other activities, concert organisation and the archives, have been carried out by the society for almost two hundred years. Individual commitment has remained the driving force behind the organisation and combined with the enthusiasm of music lovers has ensured that the society still retains its personal profile. This individuality has guaranteed quality for almost two hundred years.