Launched in 1996 with the enthusiastic support of the Austrian Embassy and the Austrian-Canadian Council, Ottawa’s Viennese Winter Ball is modeled after Vienna’s Opernball and was officially sanctioned by the Austrian Government. It quickly became a must-attend event on the Ottawa gala calendar. After being organized for many years by dedicated volunteers, in 2015 Music and Beyond was approached by the Ball’s organizing committee to take on this iconic annual event.

In addition to offering a truly magical evening, the Ball has always been dedicated to giving back to the community with over $1 million raised over the past 25 years. In 2011, the Organizing Committee refined the focus of its charitable donations with proceeds going to arts and cultural programs supporting youth initiatives. Funds raised through the Ball support the young people’s programming at Music and Beyond, showing a commitment to providing opportunities to ensure that music can be a part of all young people’s lives.

The Viennese Winter Ball has is an unforgettable experience of delicious food, drink, and dancing as well as silent and live auctions and has always been considered one of Canada’s most elegant and magical cultural galas.

In 2021, it will continue as a virtual gala, hosted by Her Excellency, The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean and internationally-renowned tenor Ben Heppner. It will feature Viennese music performed by some of Canada’s finest musicians and will introduce Austria’s new Ambassador to Canada, Sylvia Meier-Kajbic as Patron of the Ball.

Attendees can order dinner at home from one of the Ball’s partner restaurants, or create their own gourmet dinner. It will be streamed on Music and Beyond’s YouTube channel and on Rogers Television. A parallel Zoom meeting will allow people to join break-out rooms or join virtual tables to chat with other attendees. Guests can enjoy the event as a full evening of cocktails and dinner/wine, dancing, and even formal dress for the special evening. People can send in photos and videos and these will be posted on Music and Beyond’s Zoom meeting, Facebook page, and Instagram page.

As part of Music and Beyond’s comprehensive Young People’s Strategy, the Viennese Winter Ball celebrates the importance of music in the lives of all young people. Not only does the Ball create performance opportunities for young Ottawa musicians, but proceeds from the event benefit Music and Beyond’s youth initiatives including enhanced programming for young people at its Summer Festival, more young people’s concerts, and events such as the Ottawa Family Music Expo. Funds will be raised through sponsorships, an online auction, and donations.

This year, the Ball is encouraging people to support their favourite restaurants by purchasing dinner to enjoy while they are “attending” the Ball, or by contributing gift certificates which will be auctioned off to support the young people’s initiatives of Music and Beyond.