The famous Vienna New Year’s Day concert takes place on – surprise, surprise – 1 January at the Austrian capital’s Musikverein concert hall. Performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the best orchestras in the world, it begins at 11.15pm and is broadcast on TV across the world.
What music does the Vienna New Year’s Day concert include?
The programme every year consists largely of familiar waltzes, polkas and other dances by the Strauss family – especially Johann Strauss I and Johann Strauss II – but also includes other composers. Today, Johann Strauss II’s much-loved Blue Danube Waltz always features as one of the encores.
When was the first Vienna New Year’s Day concert?
Ironically, the first ever Vienna New Year’s Day Concert took place not on 1 January but on 31 December, 1939, when it was intended primarily as a wartime morale-booster. Clemens Krauss conducted the music on that occasion and continued to lead the majority of the concerts until 1954. At that point, it was taken over by violinist and conductor Willi Boskovsky, who, from 1955-79, played a large part in making it the much-loved occasion that it has become today.
Today, famous maestros from across the world take it in turn to enjoy the spotlight of what is one of the most popular events in the musical calendar. And for those who want to relive the action once 1 January is past, a recording of each year’s concert is quickly released.
Who has conducted the Vienna New Year’s Day concert throughout its history?
- Clemens Krauss: 1939, 1941–1945, 1948–1954
- Josef Krips: 1946–1947
- Willi Boskovsky: 1955–1979
- Lorin Maazel: 1980–1986, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2005
- Herbert von Karajan: 1987
- Claudio Abbado: 1988, 1991
- Carlos Kleiber: 1989, 1992
- Zubin Mehta: 1990, 1995, 1998, 2007, 2015
- Riccardo Muti: 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2018, 2021
- Nikolaus Harnoncourt: 2001, 2003
- Seiji Ozawa: 2002
- Mariss Jansons: 2006, 2012, 2016
- Georges Prêtre: 2008, 2010
- Daniel Barenboim: 2009, 2014
- Franz Welser-Möst: 2011, 2013
- Gustavo Dudamel: 2017
- Christian Thielemann: 2019
- Andris Nelsons: 2020
Is the 2021 Vienna New Year’s Concert going ahead?
The 2021 Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert is indeed going ahead on 1 January, conducted by Riccardo Muti in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. This is the conductor’s sixth New Year’s Concert with the orchestra. As usual, the concert will be broadcast in over 90 countries, but this year there will be no live audience in the hall.
What is the programme for the 2021 Vienna New Year’s Concert?
Franz von Suppè: Fatinitza March
Johann Strauss Jr.: Schallwellen (Sound Waves), Waltz, op. 148
Niko Polka, op. 228
Josef Strauss: Ohne Sorgen (Without a Care), Fast Polka, op. 271
Carl Zeller: Grubenlichter (Davy Lamps), Waltz
Karl Millöcker: In Saus und Braus (Living It Up), Galop
— INTERVAL —
Franz von Suppè: Overture to “Poet and Peasant”
Karl Komzák: Bad’ner Mad’ln (Girls of Baden), Waltz, op. 257
Josef Strauss: Margherita Polka, op. 244
Johann Strauss, Sr.: Venetian Galop, op. 74
Johann Strauss Jr.: Frühlingsstimmen (Voices of Spring), Waltz, op. 410
In the Krapfenwaldl, Polka française, op. 336
New Melodies Quadrille. op. 254
Emperor Waltz, op. 437
Tempestuous in Love and Dance, Fast Polka, op. 393
About Jeremy Pound
Jeremy Pound is currently BBC Music Magazine’s acting editor, having initially joined the magazine as deputy editor in August 2004. Before that he was the features editor of Classic CD magazine, and has written for a colourful array of publications ranging from Music Teacher to History Revealed, Total Football and Environment Action; in 2018, he edited and co-wrote The King’s Singers: Gold 50th anniversary book A former chorister at New College, Oxford, he later returned to the same university to study classics. Choral music remains a particular passion, as do early 20th-century English composers.