The whole orchestra will be attending a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall (pictured above) and will perform works by Liszt and Wagner under conductor Riccardo Muti.
This is the first time that an institution (instead of an individual) has received the prize, which is worth $1m and awarded every three years. Past recipients include Muti himself and tenor-turned-baritone Plácido Domingo. The prize is awarded in memory of the great Swedish soprano, who died in December 2005 – she herself set up the foundation to fund it.
‘Birgit Nilsson loved working with this orchestra, and we know that this choice would have pleased her greatly,’ says Rutbert Reisch, president of the Birgit Nilsson Foundation. ‘We are also very happy to have the entire Vienna Philharmonic and maestro Riccardo Muti, our 2011 Prize Laureate, here with us today.’
Talking about his orchestra’s archive, Vienna Philharmonic president Andreas Grossbauer says: ‘The Vienna Philharmonic believes that you ensure your future by remembering and documenting your past. Given the historic significance of the Vienna Philharmonic in music history and the historic significance of Birgit Nilsson herself, the Vienna Philharmonic has unanimously voted to use the entire $1m Birgit Nilsson Prize to expand its Historic Archive and to make it more easily accessible.’
King Carl Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia will attend the ceremony, which takes place at 18.00 today.