Vienna’s NEUJAHRSKONZERT – born in 1939 and still going strong
Salute to Vienna draws from the magic of Vienna’s beloved New Year’s Day tradition-a celebration of the music, art and salon days that harken back to the time when Johann Strauss and his contemporaries were alive. (1825-1899) Our North American version has its own unique appeal, being produced almost simultaneously in no less than 20 cities, in the United States and Canada in the continent’s most significant venues. Our aim is to capture the joy and phenomenon of this world-class event.
Salute to Vienna showcases the connection between the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna’s renowned “Waltz King”, Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899). In 1921, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra played Strauss’ famous Blue Danube at the unveiling of the composer’s memorial in Vienna City Park. This homage was the first step in the growing association between the Philharmonic and Johann Strauss. In 1925, to celebrate the centenary of his birth, the Philharmonic honored the Waltz King in a succession of sensational performances, which included a Strauss tribute in the city’s foremost concert hall, the Musikverein, to mark the close of the jubilee year. The ensuing years brought about a veritable Strauss renaissance, and assured the composer a firm position in the repertoire of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 1939 a decisive step marked the establishment of the New Year’s Concert.-NEUJAHRSKONZERT. On the morning of December 31st, Clemens Krauss conducted the “First Extraordinary Strauss Concert” of the Philharmonic in the Musikverein’s Golden Hall. The next concert of this sort took place not on New Year’s Eve, but on New Year’s Day.
On January 1, 1941, Krauss directed the first New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic. The concerts continued under his inspired direction and vision until the conductor’s death in 1954. Subsequently, Willi Boskovsky, first concertmaster of the Philharmonic since 1949, took over the direction of the New Year’s Concert at the orchestra’s request. The name of Boskovsky represented, and continues to represent, both tradition and the dynamic onset of the ensemble’s maturity. Boskovsky and the Philharmonic have communicated to millions of viewers that very special and unmistakable style of playing, imprecise and accurate at the same time, which can only be described as “Viennese.”
Salute to Vienna honours this heritage and is proud to keep the legacy alive, spreading the joy throughout North America.