Concentus Musicus Wien (CMW) is an Austrian baroque music ensemble based in Vienna. The CMW is recognized as a progenitor of the period-instrument performance movement.
Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Alice Harnoncourt co-founded the CMW in 1953, along with several musicians from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. The CMW did research and rehearsal for 4 years before their first official concert; the CMW's first public concert was in May 1957 at the Schwarzenberg Palace in Vienna. The CMW gave a regular concert series at the Schwarzenberg Palace from 1958 to 1962. The CMW made its formal debut in the Mozart-Saal of the Vienna Konzerthaus in February 1962, and performed concerts regularly there until 1971. The CMW staged its first opera at the 1971 Wiener Festwochen with Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. The CMW's first concert at the Musikverein, Vienna, was in 1973. The orchestra has continued to perform regularly at the Musikverein since then. Nikolaus Harnoncourt directed the ensemble from the cello until 1987, and subsequently led the CMW as its conductor and artistic director.
The CMW first toured North America in 1966, including its Boston debut for the Peabody Mason Concertseries. Subsequent American tours followed in 1968 and in 1971.
The CMW made their first recording in 1962, of music for viols by Henry Purcell, for the Telefunken label. This recording began a long recording relationship with Telefunken, later Teldec, that continued into the 1990s. Among the CMW's recording projects with Telefunken and Teldec were the complete cycle of cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, over the period from 1971 to 1990, recorded by the CMW and Harnoncourt, as well as Gustav Leonhardt and the Leonhardt-Consort.. The CMW's final commercial recordings with Nikolaus Harnoncourt were two recordings of music of Beethoven, the 4th and 5th Symphonies and the Missa solemnis, the latter being Harnoncourt's final recording.
Nikolaus Harnoncourt retired from the CMW and from conducting in general in December 2015. In parallel with her husband's retirement, Alice Harnoncourt retired from the CMW. In succession to Alice Harnoncourt, the current leader of the ensemble is Erich Höbarth. In succession to Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the CMW's current artistic leader is the harpsichordist Stefan Gottfried. The ensemble's current manager is Maximilian Harnoncourt, grandson of Nikolaus and Alice Harnoncourt. Wikipedia