Vienna’s New Years Concert
The New Year Concert ( Das Neujahrskonzert der Wiener Philharmoniker) of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is a concert that takes place each year in the morning of January 1 in Vienna, Austria. It is broadcast around the world to an estimated audience of one billion in 44 countries.
Vienna New Year’s ConcertThe music is mostly that of the Strauss family (Johann Strauss I, Johann Strauss II, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss). The flowers that decorate the Wiener Musikverein concert hall are a gift each year from the city of San Remo, Liguria, Italy.
The concert always ends with several encores after the main programme. The musicians then collectively wish the audience a happy new year, and close with Johann Strauss II’s Blue Danube Waltz followed by the Radetzky March. During this last piece, the audience claps along in time and the conductor turns to conduct them instead of the orchestra. A break from the tradition in recent times would be during the 2005 edition conducted by Lorin Maazel where the programme concludes with the ‘Blue Danube’ waltz as a mark of respect to the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
The concert was first performed in 1939 (on 31 December of that year) conducted by Clemens Krauss. In 2006, not for the first time in the history of the “Neujahrskonzert”, there was a work of Mozart: the overture to The Marriage of Figaro. For several years, the concert has been telecast on PBS.