The Vienna Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1900 and consolidated in 1921 from the ranks of another Viennese orchestra. The group's first permanent conductor was Ferdinand Löwe, a noted pupil of Anton Bruckner who conducted the premiere of Bruckner's Symphony No. 9. He led the orchestra for its first 24 years.
Although it never aspired to the reputation of the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony's guest conductors during the early twentieth century included many names more commonly associated with the better known orchestra, among them Felix Weingartner, Gustav Mahler, Bruno Walter, Richard Strauss, and Arnold Schoenberg.
The Vienna Symphony was taken over by the city of Vienna in 1938 as a municipal orchestra. After World War II, with the resumption of artistic life in Vienna, the orchestra came under the direction of Herbert von Karajan, who was kept from working with the more prestigious Philharmonic by his rival Wilhelm Furtwängler.
The Vienna Symphony also became the orchestra of choice for early recordings by such noted conductors as Otto Klemperer and Jascha Horenstein, and also served as host to such figures as Ferenc Fricsay and even Karl Böhm, who recorded Richard Strauss' Daphne, a notably beautiful though little known opera, the premiere of which he had conducted with the orchestra in the 1930s.