The Viennese Ensemble plays popular European music from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Much of what we play is by composers that were (and sometimes still are) well known: Brahms, Strauss, Elgar, Mendelssohn and many others.

This music is from before the time of affordable and easily available recordings.  Like the vocal standards of the twentieth century, it was reinterpreted, rearranged and performed by generations of musicians.  It was published as piano sheet music and played in private homes.  It was adapted by small local orchestras and played at dances, for festivals and celebrations, and in music halls and cafes.

Barbara’s sheet music library once belonged to a small orchestra in Holland that began performing between the wars and disbanded in the 1980s.  Even thirty years ago, this type of group was rare.  By the 1940s, small classical pop orchestras had mostly been replaced by swing bands.

Like swing, this music wasn’t usually performed with machine-like precision in stuffy concert halls.  It was vibrant and alive and it echoed through gas-lit streets in cities throughout Europe and Britain.  Like the popular music of today, it was influenced by folk music, by immigrants and minority communities, and by more exotic-seeming music from Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Far East.

100 years ago, this was pop music.  The people who built Glasgow may have been humming these tunes.


We welcome bookings at public and private events and celebrations. We’ve played at church concert series, hotels, community events, George Square, Princes Square, the Burrell Collection, Geilston Gardens, and of course at weddings and other celebrations.

We can choose our own playlist according to the type of event, or you can select pieces from our live music archive or from our full repertoire list.

Hire us through our agent, Freak Music, for private events and commercial venues.

Contact Daphne Wassermann (daphne@aquarius1000.plus.com) to book the Viennese Ensemble for community and charitable events and non-profit venues.

from left: Charlotte Wright, Barry Noakes, Iain McNaught, Barbara Olding, Daphne Wassermann, Carolina Paterson Marco, Deidre Miller


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