For as long as I can remember, I have thoroughly enjoyed the New Year's Concert in Vienna gala that is annually broadcast around the world. In a tradition that dates back to 1939, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra puts on a glamorous evening of classical music, singing, ballet, and, of course, waltzes.
This season, the 2 concerts and preview will be conducted by Maestro Daniel Barenboim (on New Year's Eve and and a matinee on New Year's Day). Even the December 30th preview is sold out.
In fact, the concerts are so popular, that there is a 3-week ticket application period from January 2 and 23 for next year's preview and concerts. There is a draw and those selected are informed via email and given the opportunity to purchase a maximum of 2 tickets for a New Year's Concert in Vienna. What a great incentive trip for a top performer or valued corporate client!
The music of Johann Strauss and Johann Strauss, Jr. (also known as Johann Strauss I and Johann Strauss II) is always featured. So the audience is treated to classics like The Beautiful Blue Danube.
Music begins just after 01:00
The concert usually ends with Radetzky-Marsch, a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
So far, I have never made it to Vienna, however, thanks to Attila Glatz Concert Productions, I have attended concerts in Montreal and Toronto. There was so much interest in the New Year's Concerts in Vienna that their annual Salute to Vienna concert series brings this glorious extravaganza to audiences all over the US and Canada. For example, the New Year's Day matinee takes place at Lincoln Center in New York, Orchestra Hall Symphony Center in Chicago, Place des Arts in Montreal, and Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. From Los Angeles to Miami and Vancouver to Quebec City, 13 cities in the U.S. and 8 cities in Canada have their own Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert.
These symphony orchestras are local. Conductors, soloists and dancers are flown in from all over Europe. This season, Maestro Christian Schulz from Vienna will be joined by soprano Monika Rebholz from Vienna and dancers from Austria's Ballett–St. Polten for the concerts in New York City, Chicago, Washington DC and New Jersey.
We are fortunate to live in a time when world-class entertainment is available close to home. If you don't see a live concert, plan to attend next season. You can catch the New Year's Concert direct from Vienna on PBS.
Photo Credits: Barry Roden