Vienna New Year Concert

Vienna New Year concert is one of the most televised classical music concerts in the world, broadcast annually to over 50 countries.

The concert is performed at the Vienna Musikverein building, a design by Danish Theopil Hansen, built from 1867-1869.

More exactly, the performance by Vienna Philharmonic is held at the building’s ‘Grand Hall‘, which, in terms of acoustics, is one of the best concert venues in the world.

The first new year concert in Vienna was held on the 1939 new year’s eve, during a period of time, when Nazi Germany had control in Austria.

That first concert was intended as a reminder of the better times, and as a token of hope for the future.

Musikverein Vienna Austria

PHOTO: Musikverein, from where the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performs the new year’s concert.

Today, millions of people get that original message through their television sets, in over 70 countries around the world.

The concert’s musical choices been, from the start, mostly lighter choices, with unique characteristics…

…always including music by Johann Strauss, “the King of Waltz“, and his contemporaries.

From 1986, the concerts have been conducted by a visiting maestro, and the selection is one of the major topics of discussion in the classical music world every year.

The first of these visiting conductors, in 1987, was Herbert von Karajan, and the concert proved to be a major success.

Von Karajan was followed by:

  • Claudio Abbado (1988, 1991)
  • Carlos Kleiber (1989, 1992)
  • Zubin Mehta (1990, 1995, 1998, 2007)
  • Riccardo Muti (1993, 1997, 2000, 2004)
  • Lorin Maazel (1994, 1996, 1999, 2005)
  • Seiji Ozawa (2002)
  • Nikolaus Harnoncourt (2001, 2003)
  • Mariss Jansons (2006, 2012)
  • Georges Prêtre (2008, 2010)
  • Daniel Barenboim (2009)
  • Franz Welser-Möst (2011, 2013)

The concert (performed on the 1st of January) is broadcast in the United States by PBS, in the United Kingdom by BBC Two, and in Australia bySBS.