The Vienna Philharmonic is flying to Japan

The Vienna Philharmonic is flying to Japan


norman lebrecht

October 30, 2020

With all other orchestras grounded by Covid, the Viennese will have the skies to themselves.

They are playing Suntory Hall the week after next with Valery Gergiev and Putin’s other pal, Denis Matsuev.

The hall says:

We are delighted to announce that Wiener Philharmoniker / the Vienna Philharmonic will be able to travel to Japan and the following concert will take place as scheduled under the highest level of precautionary measures and self-restrictions to prevent the infection during the orchestra’s stay in Japan. Also, the orchestra and Suntory Hall appreciate your kind cooperation for practising precautionary measures.



  • Gustavo says:

    John Williams taught them how to fly and how to use the Force.

  • Concertgoer says:

    Good to see! Programs (@ $400) are:

    Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2 (w/Matsuev)
    Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations (w/Tsutsumi)
    Stravinsky: The Firebird (1910, complete)

    Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64, excerpts
    Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2 (w/Matsuev)
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique”

    Beethoven: Overture to “Coriolan”
    Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations (w/Tsutsumi)
    Strauss: Ein Heldenleben

    Debussy: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
    Debussy: La mer ― Trois esquisses symphoniques
    Stravinsky: The Firebird (1910, complete)

  • Maybe they will make the new year concert for us in Japan…

  • yujafan says:

    These programmes are hardly adventurous

  • Giora says:

    Well, with the actual tragic situation, with thousands of death and thousands of unemployed musicians and lockdowned orchestras, I find this really indecent. For me it’s like walking on bones.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    It heartens me no end to know that the Asian nations are embracing art music with both hands. It will stand in good stead in perpetuity!! Well done Wiener Philharmoniker. I hope you all are safe (and don’t go climbing any mountains!).

  • Another orchestral musician says:

    Touring during the pandemic, really? Doesn’t sound like a smart decision to me… but to each his own.

  • M. L. Liu says:

    Concerts have been back in Japan for a while. I believe a full audience is now allowed, although some performances choose to play to half capacity only, for social distancing.

    I just took a look at the schedule of Suntory Hall for November The Gergiev-ViennaPhil concerts are listed along with quite a few cancelled performances (“due to the coronavirus”), including recitals by Itzhak Perlman, Yundi Li & Jose Carrera; orchestral performances by Staatskapelle Dresden, Taiwan Symphony Orchestra & Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra; AND some Japanese orchestra performances (such as Yomiuri Nippon Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra).

  • Papageno says:

    Japanese audiences are the best they don’t cough up a storm like in the U.S.

  • fflambeau says:

    Superspreader event.

  • Nick says:

    WPO could not find a better combo of conductor/pianist for a tour to Japan?!? WOW, that’s a shame!

  • SOERATMAN says:

    Like it very much as long as pandemic protocols will be ther

  • Greenway says:


  • Chaz Blumbdin says:

    Great…another superspreader event. Despicable actions here. The program should read
    Stravinsky: The Firebird (1910, complete) followed by “Mass Death Event 2020 (potentially 2021 depending on the lag). Don’t people realize the catastrophic stuff going on? I pray that this gets canceled. Maybe another Hong Kong style strategy is necessary here?

    • Another orchestral musician says:

      Agree. Hospitals are crowded, there are not enough doctors (let alone the fact that many of them receive unfair salaries), this is really not the time to fly an entire orchestra to another continent… but now that Austria cancelled all events maybe the orchestra will not be allowed to travel. Who knows.

    • S says:

      We should not mix things up – not a single infection seems to have happened in an opera house or concert venue due to the sophisticated safety measures at those events in Austria. Calling concerts a „superspreader event“ is very dangerous, leads to destroying long grown and immensely important cultural structures and does not help anyone who is really affected and maybe hospitalised… The real problem are private gatherings and parties, not the places, where people just want to enjoy some of the finest pieces ever composed, and thus accepting strictest rules.