New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic

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Wiener Musikverein
The Great Hall in the Vienna Musikverein building (around 2 hours after the 2015 New Year's Concert )

The New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic is the most famous New Year's concert in the world and is primarily dedicated to the works of the Strauss dynasty ( Johann Strauss father , Johann Strauss son , Eduard Strauss and Josef Strauss ). It is broadcast annually on television in (approx.) 92 countries and followed live by more than approx. 50 million viewers.


The concert took place for the first time not on New Year's morning, but on December 31, 1939. According to newspaper announcements, it was an “extraordinary concert” entirely dedicated by the Vienna Philharmonic to the winter welfare organization ( Kriegs-WHW ) opened by Adolf Hitler on October 10, 1939 , and a public rehearsal was held on December 30. On the initiative of the Philharmonic, the historian Fritz Trümpi proved that the concert was part of Joseph Goebbels ' propaganda machine. The New Year's Concert took place (and continues to this day) in the Great Music Association Hall in Vienna, which seats around 2,000 people.

The love of the conductor Clemens Krauss for waltz music, especially that of the Strauss family - "and probably also his urge to perform well" on the one hand, but also his inclusion of Hitler and Goebbels' grace in the list of those who were gifted by God after the annexation of Austria - combined in his Person with Goebbels' intention to stage Vienna as a city of “optimism, music and sociability”. Trümpi proves in his book Politized Orchester that during the National Socialist era the number of performances of works by the Strauss family by the Vienna Philharmonic skyrocketed. After the annexation of Austria, the orchestra was assigned to Goebbels, but, unlike the Berlin Philharmonic, it was not subject to Goebbels : The Vienna Philharmonic's commitment to the Nazi state was largely self-determined and responsible. Trümpi quotes from a contract between the Vienna Philharmonic and the Reichsrundfunkgesellschaft:

"[...] the orchestra undertakes to make black record recordings for Großdeutscher Rundfunk with Viennese music, primarily, of course, with works by Johann Strauss with a conductor who has a particularly good command of the Viennese note"

- Prot. KS, October 7, 1940, HAWPh, A-Pr-030, 17 .: quoted here. after Trümpi: politicized orchestras , 257

Even before the Second World War, the Nazi rulers had developed the idea of ​​"using so-called 'light music ' to strengthen the ' national community '". Maintaining the "morality at the front and at home" was historically added only from around 1940/41 (i.e. only after the first New Year's concert): The first New Year's concert - not yet so named - took place in Vienna in favor of the Winter Aid of the German People instead, to which tens of thousands of Viennese also felt internally committed.

The first six New Year's concerts - and seven more after the fall of the Nazi regime - were conducted by Clemens Krauss. Since the second concert on January 1, 1941, the concert has taken place on New Years Day. In 1941, according to the newspaper announcement, the Vienna Philharmonic played in their second academy , which has now become a tradition , for the benefit of the Nazi community " Strength through Joy " , as was the case until 1945 as a benefit concert.

Since December 31, 1952, the program of the New Year's concert has been performed on New Year's Eve as a New Year's Eve concert . A second preview was scheduled for the first time on December 30, 1962; Until 1997 this was a closed event for members of the Austrian Armed Forces , since 1998 some of the tickets have been sold.

The flower arrangements for the New Year's concert were traditionally a gift from the Italian city of Sanremo from 1980 to 2013 . In 2014, the flowers were first made available by the Vienna Philharmonic. The concert hall is decorated with around 30,000 flowers every year by the florists, in 2015 for the first time in cooperation with the Vienna City Gardens .

In 2008 there was the first live dancing in the Golden Hall, and again in 2011, when 15-year-old boys and girls from the Vienna State Opera ballet school performed. In 2014 Kathrin Menzinger and Vadim Garbuzov danced live in the hall to the waltz on the beautiful blue Danube according to their own choreography .

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the concert, the New Year's Concert: The Complete Works edition was published in 2015 , a collection of 23 compact discs of all 319 works that have been played at the event since 1941.


While the framework of the music program always consists of works from the Strauss dynasty (Johann Vater & Sohn, Josef and Eduard), works by other composers such as Joseph Lanner or Josef Hellmesberger junior are also regularly included in the program. In addition, there are also works by musical annual regents in the program of the New Year's Concert.

The great hall

The process follows a traditional ritual . The two main parts are followed by encores. From around the late 1980s, the following applies: The second encore is traditionally the waltz An der Schöne blau Donau by Johann Strauss Sohn, op. 314 (1867), here the audience interrupts the introductory bars with applause. Now the orchestra wishes the (worldwide) audience in the choir Happy New Year . (At this point, on January 1, 2007, Bulgaria and Romania could be welcomed as part of the European Community by Zubin Mehta.)

As a final third encore, the Radetzky March (Johann Strauss Vater, op. 228, 1848) is traditionally played in the Nazi arrangement by Leopold Weninger . In 2005, the Radetzky March in memory of the victims of the earthquake of December 26, 2004 in Asia was not played. At the Radetzky March , the audience traditionally claps along after the conduct. In 2014 Daniel Barenboim decided not to conduct the march played by the orchestra and instead shook hands with every musician.

The recordings of the concert were to be found at number one on the Austrian album charts every year from 2001 to 2020 .

Television broadcast

Since 1959, the concert has been broadcast by ORF , the Austrian public broadcaster, not only on the radio, but also live on television. The initiator and first technical manager of these transmissions was Wilfried Scheib . The television program has been broadcast in color since 1969 . Thanks to Eurovision , it is now broadcast to over ninety countries.

As background music for the television broadcast, images, film sequences or ballet interludes (also danced live since 1987), such as those from Schönbrunn Palace, are shown for television viewers in some works . Dances are performed by the Vienna State Ballet (a result of the merger of the ballet ensembles of the Vienna State Opera and Volksoper , which used to perform alternately ), the ballet of the Bavarian State Opera and international guest stars.

At the beginning only the second part of the concert was shown, the broadcasts lasted about an hour. The ORF has been broadcasting the entire concert in full length since 1991, and the break has been bridged with an approximately 25-minute break film that is shot especially for the New Year's concert. This has so far been staged by directors such as Felix Breisach , Georg Riha , Hannes Rossacher , Werner Boote , Patrick Pleisnitzer, Gernot Friedel and Anton Reitzenstein, with the aim of presenting Austria with its cultural treasures and natural assets. The film must be understandable without words, as this is also seen worldwide, although it is not taken over by all stations. Due to the worldwide broadcast, the return to the second part is fixed in time. Since the tempos in the various performances (preview, dress rehearsal, concert) can vary, the pause in the individual performances is sometimes of different lengths. This is therefore partially bridged with a length-flexible pause film.

The picture direction was in 1989, from 1991 to 2009 and in 2011 the English director Brian Large . In 2010 and 2012 this task was taken over by Karina Fibich, from 2014 by Michael Beyer and in 2018 by Henning Kasten.

Barbara Rett has been commenting on the concert for Austrian TV viewers since 2008, succeeding Ernst Grissemann , who had previously accompanied the concert as commentator for 25 years. Further innovations in 2010 were that the ORF broadcasted for the first time in HDTV and on the Internet as a live stream .

The 2015 New Year's Concert was broadcast to 92 countries around the world and watched by more than 50 million TV viewers. In 2016, the New Year's Concert was broadcast to Brazil, Pakistan and Vietnam for the first time.

The conductors of the New Year's concerts

Riccardo Muti Andris Nelsons Christian Thielemann Riccardo Muti Gustavo Dudamel Mariss Jansons Zubin Mehta Daniel Barenboim Franz Welser-Möst Mariss Jansons Franz Welser-Möst Georges Prêtre Daniel Barenboim Georges Prêtre Zubin Mehta Mariss Jansons Lorin Maazel Riccardo Muti Nikolaus Harnoncourt Seiji Ozawa Nikolaus Harnoncourt Riccardo Muti Lorin Maazel Zubin Mehta Riccardo Muti Lorin Maazel Zubin Mehta Lorin Maazel Riccardo Muti Carlos Kleiber Claudio Abbado Zubin Mehta Carlos Kleiber Claudio Abbado Herbert von Karajan Lorin Maazel Willi Boskovsky Clemens Krauss (Dirigent) Josef Krips Clemens Krauss (Dirigent) Clemens Krauss (Dirigent)
Claudio Abbado (1933-2014) 1988 , 1991
Daniel Barenboim (* 1942) 2009, 2014
Willi Boskovsky (1909–1991) 1955-1979
Gustavo Dudamel (* 1981) 2017
Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016) 2001, 2003
Mariss Jansons (1943-2019) 2006, 2012, 2016
Herbert von Karajan (1908–1989) 1987
Carlos Kleiber (1930-2004) 1989 , 1992
Clemens Krauss (1893–1954) 1939, 1941-1945, 1948-1954
Josef Krips (1902–1974) 1946 , 1947
Lorin Maazel (1930-2014) 1980–1986, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2005
Zubin Mehta (* 1936) 1990, 1995, 1998, 2007, 2015
Riccardo Muti (* 1941) 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2018 , planned for 2021
Andris Nelsons (* 1978) 2020
Seiji Ozawa (* 1935) 2002
Georges Prêtre (1924-2017) 2008, 2010
Christian Thielemann (* 1959) 2019
Franz Welser-Möst (* 1960) 2011, 2013

Further New Years Concerts related to Vienna

Traditionally, the 9th Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven will also be performed by the Vienna Symphony on December 30th and 31st and January 1st in the Vienna Konzerthaus .

The Vienna Hofburg Orchestra organizes its traditional New Year's Eve and New Year's concerts on December 31 and January 1 in the magnificent halls of the Vienna Hofburg . The program consists of the most famous melodies of waltz and operetta music by Johann Strauss (son) , Emmerich Kálmán , Franz Lehár and opera arias by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart .

Parallel to the concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic, there used to be the New Year's Concert of the Vienna Art Orchestra (1977–2010) under the title “All that Strauss” in the Vienna club “ Porgy & Bess ” on the evening of December 31 and January 1 .

Since 1994, the Symphony Orchestra of the dispute Volksoper Vienna New Year's Concert in the Suntory Hall of Tokyo . The program, consisting of Viennese dances and marches, is played annually - before the orchestra leaves for the Far East - on December 27th in Oberschützen in Burgenland .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Fritz Trümpi : Politicized Orchester: The Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under National Socialism. Vienna: Böhlau Verlag 2011, 257
  2. ^ Daily newspaper Wiener Latest Nachrichten , December 22, 1939, p. 4, rubric Von Tag zu Tag
  3. Wiener Latest Nachrichten , December 28, 1939, p. 5, category Kleiner Kunstspiegel
  4. The New Year's Concert and many an untenable legend . Article of December 29, 2015, accessed on January 1, 2016.
  5. Fono Forum: Vienna “New Year's Concert” rolled from brown to gold , accessed on January 1, 2016
  6. ^ Daily newspaper Neuigkeits-Welt-Blatt , Vienna, December 22, 1940, p. 11, category art and culture
  7. ^ Vienna Philharmonic: History of the New Year's Concert ( Memento from December 15, 2005 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Flower arrangements at the New Year's Concert for 25 years from San Remo . City hall correspondence of October 21, 2005, accessed on January 5, 2015.
  9. New Year's Concert 2014: Florist team delighted with spring flower arrangements . APA notification of January 2, 2014, accessed on January 5, 2015.
  10. New Year's Concert 2015: Flowers from the Vienna City Gardens . Press release of the City of Vienna about APA from December 22, 2014, accessed on January 2, 2015.
  11. “New Year's Concert 2014” live on ORF: Michael Beyer stages the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Ballet . APA notification dated December 7, 2013, accessed on January 5, 2015.
  12. - New Year's Concert “almost something sacred” . Article dated December 29, 2015, accessed December 29, 2015.
  13. Jeroen HC Tempelman: On the Radetzky March ( Memento from November 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF file; 221 kB), page 5
  14. - New Year's Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic . Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  15. Ljubiša Tošić: Daniel Barenboim: “When I was invited, I hesitated” . In: , December 27, 2013, accessed on December 27, 2013.
  16. ^ "Backstage - The New Year's Concert 2014": Felix Breisach's ORF film about the concert break takes a look behind the scenes . APA notification dated December 19, 2013, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  17. TV-Media: Happy New Year: Riccardo Muti conducts the 60th TV New Year's concert . TV-Media , issue 1/2018, pages 8–11, accessed on January 1, 2018.
  18. - father and daughter play at the New Year's concert . Article from December 27, 2014, accessed on January 2, 2015.
  19. ^ "New Year's Concert 2014" live on ORF: Michael Beyer stages the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Ballet . APA notification dated December 10, 2013, accessed on January 5, 2015.
  20. ^ "New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic" 2016 on ORF: Preparations for the 58th live broadcast started . APA notification dated December 22, 2015, accessed December 22, 2015.
  21. Classically elegant New Year's Concert 2008., January 1, 2008. Retrieved on January 2, 2011.
  22. ^ French-Italian declaration of love: "New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic". ( Memento from January 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) New Year's Concert 2010 "on ORF 2 in HD, on Ö1 and as a live stream"., January 1, 2010. Retrieved January 2, 2011
  23. New Year's Concert 2015 with Zubin Mehta . Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  24. Kleine Zeitung , accessed on January 1, 2018
  25. ^ Ö1 : Des Cis , November 13, 2017