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Vienna Philharmonic: Bio

There is perhaps no other musical ensemble more consistently and closely associated with the history and tradition of European classical music than the Vienna Philharmonic. In the course of its 170 year history, the musicians of this most prominent orchestra of the capital city of music have been an integral part of a musical epoch which due to an abundance of uniquely gifted composers and interpreters must certainly be
regarded as unique.

The orchestra's close association with this rich musical history is best illustrated by the statements of countless pre-eminent musical personalities of the past. Richard Wagner described the orchestra as being one of the most outstanding in the world; Anton Bruckner called it "the most superior musical association"; Johannes Brahms counted himself as a "friend and admirer"; Gustav Mahler claimed to be joined together through "the bonds of musical art"; and Richard Strauss summarized these sentiments by saying: "All praise of the Vienna Philharmonic reveals itself
as understatement."

A Symbiotic Relationship: Vienna State Opera / Vienna Philharmonic
When Hans Knappertsbusch said that the Philharmonic was "incomparable," his comment was correct in more ways than one. One notable aspect of this incomparability is certainly the unique relationship between the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and the private association known as the Vienna Philharmonic. In accordance with Philharmonic statutes, only a member of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra can become a member of the Vienna Philharmonic. Before joining the Philharmonic therefore, one must first successfully audition for a position with the State Opera Orchestra and prove oneself capable over a period of three years before becoming eligible to submit an application for membership in the association of the Vienna Philharmonic. The engagement in the Vienna State Opera Orchestra provides the musicians a financial stability which would be impossible to attain without relinquishing their autonomy to private or corporate sponsors. This independence which the Philharmonic musicians enjoy through the opera is returned in kind due to a higher level of artistic performance gained through the orchestra's experience on the concert podium. Without the Vienna State Opera there would be no Vienna Philharmonic as we know it, and in Vienna it is common knowledge that this symbiosis is advantageous for both institutions, and that it greatly enriches the city's musical life.

Artistic and Entrepreneurial Autonomy
Since its inception through Otto Nicolai in 1842, the fascination which the orchestra has exercised upon prominent composers and conductors, as well as on audiences all over the world, is based not only on a homogenous musical style which is carefully bequeathed from one generation to the next, but also on its unique structure and history. The desire to provide artistically worthy performances of the symphonic works of Mozart and Beethoven in their own city led to the decision on the part of the court opera musicians to present a "Philharmonic" concert series independent of their work at the opera, and upon their own responsibility and risk. The organizational form chosen for this new enterprise was democracy, a concept which in the political arena was the subject of bloody battles only six years later.

Democratic Self-administration
Over the course of one and a half centuries, this chosen path of democratic self-administration has experienced slight modifications, but has never been substantially altered. The foremost ruling body of the organization is the full orchestra membership itself. In addition to the yearly general business meeting (required by law), several additional meetings of the full orchestra take place during the year. At these meetings, any and every issue may be brought up and voted upon. In actual practice, numerous decisions are delegated to the twelve elected members of the administrative committee. These members find out at periodically scheduled elections if their decision-making still inspires the trust of the entire orchestra. With the exception of changes to the statutes, which require a 4/5 majority, all decisions are made based on a simple majority, and the execution of those votes is the responsibility of the administrative committee. While the expansion into a mid-sized business enterprise has required the hiring of some extra administrative personnel, it is nevertheless the elected officials, members of the orchestra alone who make decisions and
carry ultimate responsibility.

The Message of Music
The Vienna Philharmonic has made it its mission to communicate the humanitarian message of music into the daily lives and consciousness of its listeners. In 2005 the Vienna Philharmonic was named Goodwill Ambassador of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The musicians endeavour to implement the motto with which Ludwig von Beethoven, whose symphonic works served as a catalyst for the creation of the orchestra, prefaced his "Missa Solemnis" - "From the heart,
to the heart".

1 Carl Michael Ziehrer: Schonfeld March op. 422  
2 Josef Strauss: Transactions Waltz op. 184  
3 Josef Hellmesberger: Elfin Dance  
4 Johann Strass the Younger: Express, polka schnell op. 311  
5 Pictures of the North Sea, waltz op. 390  
6 Eduard Strauss: Post-Haste, polka schnell op. 259  
7 Johann Strass the Younger: Overture to the operetta The Gypsy Baron  
8 Josef Strauss: The Ballerina op. 227  
9 Johann Strauss the Younger: Artists' Life, waltz op. 316  
10 The Bayadere, polka schnell op. 351  
11 Eduard Strauss: Opera Soiree, polka francaise op. 162  
12 Johann Strauss the Younger: Eva Waltz from the opera Knight Pazman  
13 Csardas from the opera Knight Pazman  
14 Egyptian March op. 335  
15 Joseph Hellmesberger: Entr'acte Waltz  
16 Johann Strauss the Younger: In Praise of Women, polka mazur op. 310  
17 Josef Strauss: Music of the Spheres, waltz op. 235  
CES 2018 - Pro-ject 175th Anniversary Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Turntable

There are few concerts in the world that are awaited with as much excitement as the New Year's Concert from Vienna. Under the direction of Christian Thielemann, the Vienna Philharmonic ushers in the New Year with a concert in the magnificent Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein.

The concert is relayed to over ninety countries all round the world, reaching an audience of more than fifty million.

The 2019 New Year's Concert will be conducted for the first time by Christian Thielemann. A native of Berlin, Thielemann has been a regular and welcome guest of the Vienna Philharmonic since 2000, with the result that his first New Year's Concert may be seen as setting an example and providing an appropriate tribute to his previous work with the orchestra. According to the orchestra's chairman, Daniel Froschauer, orchestra and musicians trust each other completely: "The profound musical understanding and trust that have existed from the outset and that have always functioned perfectly have subsequently borne remarkable fruit in the symphonic repertory as well."