Franz Gruber standing holding his Guitar and posing for the camera
Franz Xaver Gruber with guitar

Salzburg’s most famous artists

Mozart is regarded as one of the most famous composers in the world - he was born in Salzburg

Salzburg has produced a number of great artists, writers and musicians over the centuries, many of whom have left their mark here. We've compiled a small selection of artists (excluding Mozart) who have a connection to Salzburg:

Herbert von Karajan

Karajan’s performances were phenomenal. You only have to listen to one of his amazing records or watch one of his live concerts to understand why. He was born in Salzburg and died in Anif, on the outskirts of Salzburg. During his productive life, he not only created amazing music with “his” musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and modernised classical music – from how it is interpreted to techniques used. He also greatly influenced the Salzburg Festival for several decades and initiated the Salzburg Easter Festival and the Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

Joseph Mohr & Franz Xaver Gruber

Joseph Mohr created the most famous and popular Christmas carol in the world with just one poem and Franz Xaver Gruber composed the music. By visiting the seven places in SalzburgerLand that commemorate them, you’ll see that their lives were not easy. Their Christmas carol “Silent Night” came about only because they could not afford to repair their organ.

Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig came to Salzburg in 1919, just after the end of a terrible war, and went on to live there for 14 years. He wrote some of his most famous books such as “The World of Yesterday” at Paschinger Schlössl, also called the “Zweig Villa”. He was a pacifist and believed in a united Europe. He emigrated soon after the Austrian fascists searched his house in 1934. You can view his former residence, the Zweig Villa, on Kapuzinerberg only from the outside as it is privately owned. However, you can go to the Stefan Zweig Centre on Mönchsberg to find out more about his life and works.

Angelika Kirchschlager

A true star in today’s opera scene. Born in Salzburg, she now lives in Vienna and has worked with the greatest names and orchestras in the classical music scene. She studied percussion and piano at the Mozarteum, later changing to vocals. She now even teaches there. She has performed at the Salzburg Festival and Salzburg Easter Festival several times since 2003 and recently even collaborated with Konstantin Wecker and published her own autobiography. She has never forgotten her Salzburg roots. You might even get to see her at the Großes Festspielhaus during your visit, who knows?

Thomas Bernhard

Thomas Bernhard is something of a patron for the many Salzburg natives who have a strong love-hate relationship with their home town, yet he couldn’t stay away. No one wrote so eloquently and uncontrollably as he did. Thomas Bernhard spent the first decades of his life, writing his stories and creating his very own style, at Lake Wallersee, in Traunstein in Bavaria, in Saalfelden, and finally in Salzburg.

Georg Trakl

Georg Trakl undoubtedly has the most tragic story of all. The Trakl House at Mozartsteg is now a meeting place for artists and you will find a plaque with one of his most beautiful poems on the Linzergasse.

Born to a bourgeois mother addicted to drugs, Trakl’s life was full of difficulties from the onset. He didn’t pass his final school exams and decided to study pharmacy so he could have access to drugs for his own personal use. His life alternated between weeks of excess and creative phases. As a qualified pharmacist, he went to the frontline during the war but found it difficult to endure the ugly side of the First World War. He processed his experiences in poems, having suffered from depression for a long time. After a failed suicide attempt, he ended up in a hospital in Krakow where he later died from a cocaine overdose.

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