Pro-Ject 175 Vienna Philharmonic Recordplayer turntable Sidebar

Vienna Philharmonic

As 2018 starts, many HFN readers will be settling down to watch the televised New Year Day Concert from the splendid Musikverein Golden Hall (built 1870) and the Vienna Philharmonic in its festive programme – mainly Strauss family related pieces nowadays. This year, Riccardo Muti will conduct. It's a tradition that dates back to the time of Clemens Krauss in the 1930s, who later simulated these concerts on early Decca LPs.

The history of the VPO itself, though, dates back to 1842 when a group of four men, one the composer Nicolai, determined that an independent symphony orchestra drawn from players at the Vienna Hotoper should be formed. Its first permanent conductor Otto Dessoff was ultimately forced out by intrigue – the VPO has long been a hotbed of dissent, as Gustav Mahler soon discovered, when appointed in 1898. However, since 1933 the VPO has developed, without any conventional 'principal conductor' appointment, into one of Europe's finest orchestras. Until 2003 women were excluded from being VPO members (before that a female harpist appeared uncredited) and recruits have to undergo a probationary period with the Vienna State Opera before taking auditions to join. It runs under a system of Democratic Self-Administration. CB

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