The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the famous New Year's Concert

When and by whom was the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra founded? Where does the annual New Year's concert take place and since when do we have the concerts?

The birth of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra coincided with March 28, 1842, when the conductor Otto Nicolai conducted a "Great Concert" in the Redoutensaal. It was performed by the "All-Orchestra Staff of the “k.k. Hof-Operntheater ". Until then, the city had no existing professional musicians concert orchestra.

At first it was called the "Philharmonic Academy" and for the first time all the principles of the "Philharmonic Idea" that is still valid today were realized. The most important principle: Only an artist involved in the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera can become a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

With the season 1870/71, the orchestra moved to the Golden Hall of the Musikverein building in Vienna, which proved to be an ideal place of action due to the excellent acoustics. Under the conductor Hans Richter (subscription conductor from 1883-1898) the orchestra gained a great reputation and worked together with Anton Bruckner, Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner.

The first encounter between Johann Strauss Sohn and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra brought the world premiere of the waltz "Wiener Blut", which Strauss composed for the then opera ball in 1873. This took place in the large Musikvereinssaal.

The last meeting with Strauss was at the Hofoper on May 22, 1899, when he conducted the "Fledermaus," he got pneumonia and died less than two weeks later.

Gustav Mahler was also an important subscription conductor from 1898 to 1901. He was responsible for international appearances. In 1922 the orchestra performed at the first opera performances of the Salzburg Festival.

The origins of the Vienna New Year's Concert fall into a dismal time in the history of Austria. The Philharmonic Orchestra gave a concert on New Year's Eve in 1939, the net profit of which was dedicated to the National Socialist fundraiser “Kriegswinterhilfswerk” which was kind of ambivalent.

From 1 January 1941, the concert was understood in the midst of the war as a "truly Viennese celebration of joy". It is mainly dedicated to the Strauss dynasty. Only after the war did the concerts receive the name New Year's Concert.To this day, the waltz "At the beautiful blue Danube" and the "Radetzky march" are the extra piece of music at the end of the New Year's concert.

Many famous conductors stood at the podium of the New Year's Concert, the longest was Willi Boskovsky, who led the concert for 25 years. Today, the conductor is changed every year. The concert is broadcast in 90 countries worldwide and the approximately 2,000 tickets can be obtained by a lottery system.

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