Who’s conducting Vienna’s next New Year?

Announcement: The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has invited Gustavo Dudamel to conduct the New Year’s Concert 2017.


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  • Well done the VP, about time some of the younger conductors got the call, perhaps there is hope that they will invite a woman in the foreseeable future.

  • The Dude shows up in the latest series of ‘Mozart in the Jungle”, along with Josh Bell, Lang Lang, and Manny Ax (as they are called).

    • Did you see the episode? It was so enjoyable. At first I couldn’t believe it really was Joshua Bell and Lang Lang.
      We love Mozart in the Jungle – very well acted, really good series.

      • Well acted? Good series? And you are supposed to be someone that likes culture?

        That pastiche is easily one of the worst things ever produced – the narrative is preposterous, only slightly bettering the ludicrous acting. What are you talking about?

  • Nice to see someone of the new generation take over the next New Years concert ! Dudamel is also a VERY marketable choice and these things also count in the choice.

  • Maybe he can cajole them to play something from his terrific record, Fiesta. Really break the Viennese/Strauss mould.

    • Yes, why bother playing any Viennese music at all, eh? Why not have a gamelan orchestra program? With entirely female Asian performers to please William Osborne. Throw the Austrian junk out of the window!

    • I appreciate that that was a joke, of course, but in case anybody thinks that it was supposed to be taken seriously, the Vienna New Year’s Concert without Viennese music would be like Bayreuth without Wagner!

    • I’d have no problem with Dudamel introducing some Latin music into next year’s program. Let each conductor “localize” the program a little with music from his/her own country. I think Muti did La Gazza Ladra at one of his. If they ever engage an American conductor (not holding my breath) it would be interesting to see him/her do a little Sousa. Or Bernstein (pity they never invited him to conduct the show).

    • AZ Opera Fan is completely right!!! Dudamel should stop play all old moldy Austrian Germanic things including even older than J. Strauss such Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler, etc etc. He could save the world, if he keeps playing only fiesta stuff (And be the Messiah as it was promised 8 or 10 years ago).

      I’m anxious to see WPO playing “Guantanamera”!


        • Preferably in another city, even another continent: Dudamel and the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar doing a Latin American feast at Caracas. That would be genuine.

        • It was a irony. I cannot stand Dudamel playing any classical european/northamerican music. He must avoid anything from Monteverdi to Rihm. Doesn’t matter the continent. If WPO needs some hype, go foward, but don’t count with me. i don’t have a strong stomach

  • If the WPO wanted some new blood, Nelsons would be the ticket. Dudamel is too much and unwisely involved with Venezuela´ s present government but, on the other hand, may be he can convince his friend President Maduro to release all the political prisoners of Venezuela so that they can attend the concert. The Vienna Philharmonic should have known better.

  • For someone who every year feels the need to state that he is not going to watch it, Mr. Lebrecht surely is quite obsessed with the Neujahrskonzert. Is he a “closet Viennese”?

  • Well this year’s concert was, by the best standards of the past (Kleiber, Karajan, even Maazel and Ozawa), affected, crude, and at times pretty scruffy. It was emblematic of the whole dreary affair that Jansons didn’t even know that the clapping to the first strain of the Radetsky March is supposed to be soft! But I guess, with Dudamel, they can do even worse and most likely will. Just about ANYONE would be a better choice, but I guess it comes down to selling the product.

    • I’m watching it now, and I agree with most of your comment. If they were to say that they do it for the publicity and money, then I can appreciate that. Dudamel is a draw for sure. It is entertaining, to a point. I think it’s run its course outside of Austria. In my opinion, there’s too much wrong than right.

  • For norman, the future of the New Years concert should be a youth Vienna Phil composed of All-Female African/Asian/Latin orchestra playing Marquez’s Danzon led by Dudamel

    Obviously, these teenagers come from Vienna’s poorest neighborhoods, thereby proving that Classical Music is a tool for social change….so many new audiences will surely follow.

    (For the readership: feel free to vomit any time you want)

    • Yes, an orchestra who can play the New Year’s Eve programme with their eyes closed, after 75 years of tradition, is permanently damaged by one guest conductor. Solid logic there, Tim. It’s not as if conductors such as Welser-Most or Mehta made it clear, in previous years’ performances, that they’re just tokens waving their hands on the podium. Dudamel will definitely ruin it by doing, at worst, the very same thing.

  • Some ridiculous comments on this thread. And who really cares what William Osborne thinks? I’m sure that he’s an impeccable authority on the history of the VPO- but he’s not God. I cannot comment on Dudamel’s suitability to host next year’s event. He’s a very promising young conductor but perhaps a more senior figure would be a better choice.

    The cynical commentator above who talks about the ‘crudity’ of this year’s concert like most of the others (under some of the most gifted conductors in history). Totally misses the point. The Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Day Concert is one of the few stylish events left in a world of mainly ‘crudity’. Whether you rate Strauss Waltzes as good music or not- the orchestra always play beautifully with such grace. Truly life-affirming stuff.

    • In fact I love Strauss’s waltzes and polkas, Mark, but the performance this year had no genuine feeling for the music. (I was actually looking forward to Jansons’s go at it, since I have enjoyed his work in other repertory.) Though the VPO certainly can play this music in its sleep or without a conductor, it DOES make a difference who is on the podium. Just watch and listen again to Kleiber’s concerts or the singleton by Von Karajan. Actually the VPO COULD have played the program BETTER without a conductor (like Jansons) imposing his gross affectations of tempi and rubati on the music!

  • I have a suggestion to the Vienna Philharmonic:

    Showcase your outstanding orchestra qualities, by going back to the Konzertmeister as the leader of the orchestra in the New Years eve repertoire. You don’t need a dedicated conductor for this type of repertoire.

    That way you could send a strong message to the wider public and also to the musical world, what is actually important in music: Team collaboration, not stardom of a single leader, but the team is the star, excellence is achieved by a team, where the common effort results in more than only the addition of the single elements.

      • I’d have no need to watch, only to listen. I would not mind hearing the VPO in the Musikvereinssaal with the lights off.

        Let’s wait for New Year 2017 to pass judgment on the Dude’s performance. Until then: happy and safe 2016, everyone.

        • Are you saying that the music is perceived by listening? Show that heretic the torture chamber and make him renounce. He could reveal the force of music, that is dangerous. We want no music. We want entertainment. We to see it all, the shoelaces of the Vienna Philharmonic. Are there still some brown ones? Do they sweat much? How is the state of the hair dressing profession in Vienna? All these are most important question which only the picture can transmit. The sound must stay behind, totally irrelevant, I mean, seriously, sound, are you nuts?

    • Yes, what a good idea!

      My favorite conductors of this event over the past few years are Pretre (how he appeared to enjoy himself, which is what it is supposed to be about), Kleiber and Harnoncourt.

  • I’d like to see the 2017 concert include a piece by a woman composer – perhaps Lou Koster (the Luxembourgian “waltz queen” of the early 20th century – her music got a first digital recording this year on Naxos), or maybe Germaine Tailleferre or Cecile Chaminade et al. – there are plenty of fine options. Tokenism? Affirmative action? Exactly – and just what’s needed. The VPO NEEDS to affirm actively that it’s no longer the orchestra that dragged 15 years past all the other majors in opening its ranks to women. And no, it would not entail any dip in musical quality. The best of the Strauss waltzes are glorious (if performed well) but many are occasional pieces and were meant as such. The best of the above composers is wonderful stuff.

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