Vienna Philharmonic makes Mariss Jansons an honorary member

Vienna Philharmonic makes Mariss Jansons an honorary member


norman lebrecht

June 05, 2018

Message received:

Vienna – Maestro Mariss Jansons has been awarded Honorary Membership in the Vienna Philharmonic. The orchestra’s chairman, Daniel Froschauer, presented the award on Tuesday, June 5, during rehearsals for upcoming concerts in the Musikverein. “It has been my honor to conduct this orchestra many times. These encounters always provide me with a feeling of musical happiness and an unforgettable experience. I am very pleased to receive this honorary membership”, said Jansons.

The Latvian conductor conducted the Vienna Philharmonic for the first time in April 1992. Since that time, Mariss Jansons has conducted the Vienna Philharmonic on 110 occasions, including three New Year’s Concerts in the years 2006, 2012 and 2016.


  • Nik says:

    Makes sense. They sound fantastic together, and always have.

  • msc says:

    Von Karajan is spinning…. Am I right that he was never made an honorary member? Yet Mehta and Ozawa and Muti and …. But I’m glad to see Jansons so honored.

    • MacroV says:

      It might not have been a thing back in Karajan’s day. The orchestra may promote its traditions, but not all are particularly old: Only in the late 70s/early 80s did they start having guest conductors for the New Years concert, for example.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Karajan was Ehrendirigent (honorary conductor) of the Vienna Philharmonic; so was Karl Böhm. It’s in the Wikipedia entry of the Vienna Philharmonic (at least in the German entry).

      Karajan was also honorary member of the Vienna State Opera (1979) and lifelong member of the Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (1949).

      No shortage of honors for Karajan in Vienna.

      • Pedro says:

        And the Staatsoper is at the Herbert Von Karajan-Platz! A long way to go for Jansons ( who incidentally won the Karajan prize for young conductors, given by the Maestro himself ).

        • Petros Linardos says:

          Definitely long way to go for Mariss in Vienna. Moreover, Karajan had received the honors I listed before he was Mariss’ current age. The Karajan Platz by the Staatsoper was posthumus.

          On the other hand, Mariss can reasonably expect his name to live on somehow at Munich’s forthcoming concert hall.

  • Shalom Rackovsky says:

    Maestro Jansons was recently made an honorary member of the Berlin Philharmonic, too. [That presentation is actually available to view on the Digital Concert Hall.] Both honors are entirely justified and well deserved.

  • Barry Guerrero says:


    Is it just me? . . . I find most of Jansons’ recordings truly competent, but not a whole lot more.

    And I know that this is truly terrible to say, but I can’t stand watching videos of him conducting because of those beaver teeth that keep protruding. I wish they would just show the orchestra and his back side. I know, I know! . . .

    I recently picked up the BR Klassik box set of Mahler symphonies 1-9, because it has a better sounding issue of the Colin Davis Mahler 8 (a personal favorite) than the original RCA. In that box, Jansons has four performances: symphonies 2, 5, 7 and 9. The M2 and M7 are very good, but the two more recent ones (5 and 9, obviously) are really kind of duds.

    • Karen says:

      “Is it just me? . . . I find most of Jansons’ recordings truly competent, but not a whole lot more.”

      It’s not just you. I too find him consistently reliable and mediocre.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      I feel that way about some of Jansons’ recordings, and about three of concerts of his I attended in the past.

      Yet this Mendelssohn 3rd sounds exceptional to me.

      It is a work I have a soft spot for, one for which I have a hard time finding satisfying performances. Maybe I am overly picky and opinionated about how this work should go. But to my ears, in this work Jansons has no superiors and few equals.

      About the teeth, I don’t give a damn. (I am only distracted in the video of Petrenko conducting the Tannhauser overture at the Bavarian State Opera, but not because of any teeth…)

      • Barry Guerrero says:

        Yes, that M3 does sound good. But just to prove what charlatan I can be, I actually like the Klemperer recording, where he cuts out that corny (to me) ending altogether, and ends the symphony on a decrescendo-ing minor chord (ala Dvorak 9 and others).

        In spite of “Ein Feste Burg”, I actually like his 5th the best. The “Italian” is wonderful in the two outer movements, but less so with the two inner movements.

        • Petros Linardos says:

          Klemperer’s recording of the Mendelssohn 3rd with the Bavarian RSO is one of very favorite CDs from my entire collection. I don’t know about his Philharmonia recording.

          Konwitschny’s Mendelssohn 3rd, easy to find on youtube, is also very much to my taste.

          • Pedro says:

            Karajan’s is remarkable too. One of my first CDs.

          • Barry Guerrero says:

            Konwitschny was a hugely underrated conductor. He came out of that Dresden/Leipzig school. Unfortunately, what’s available on cd is really limited.

    • Shalom Rackovsky says:

      I have heard him live several times, conducting the Concertgebouw and the Berlin Philharmonic. I found all of these performances to be absolutely outstanding- insightful, exciting and memorable. I did not find him to be pedestrian in any way. My opinion is entirely subjective, as is yours, and carries no more weight than yours. However, I thought it appropriate to put it out there.

      • Barry Guerrero says:

        Many say that. I’ve never seen him live, so I’m thinking that what he does just doesn’t ‘jump out’ on recordings so much.

        I thought he sounded best in Pittsburgh (great Shostakovich 8th!), and some of the Bavarian Radio is really good too. For the recent Vienna New Year’s Concerts – which are all pretty much the same – I thought the one with George Pretre really stood out.

  • Ben says:

    Congrats on the long overdue recognition!