Vienna Philharmonic names Barenboim for New Year 2022

Don’t get too excited.

He has already conducted the New Year’s concerts in 2009 and 2014 so his name has come up again for a big payday.

This has nothing to do with art: it’s just business.

But if the Vienna Phil keep reverting to the same old – same very old – conductors, they will eventually kill the New Year’s golden goose.

Statement: Daniel Barenboim occupies an extraordinary place in the history of the Vienna Philharmonic. We have not only enjoyed a long and fruitful artistic partnership with him, but also a great friendship. We are grateful to Maestro Barenboim for conducting the first Vienna Philharmonic concert after the Corona Lockdown in June 2020 at the Musikverein. Next year, he will also celebrate his 80th birthday. As a sign of this deep artistic bond, we will ask him to take the podium of the New Year’s Concert for the third time on January 1, 2022.

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    • Plus it’s a bit rich using Barenboim and his 3 times in 13 years to complain about the Wiener Philharmoniker “reverting to the same old – same very old – conductors”, when only 3 conductors account for almost 50 of the 82 years of New Year’s Concerts.

  • If the Vienna Phil went for one of the young generation of conductors such as Santtu-Matias Rouvali or Klaus Mäkelä you would be saying they were too young, too inexperienced and not the right fit. Here’s hoping in 2023 the Vienna Phil grants you your wish of a Mirga and Yuja Wang double act.

    • The ritual implyes some limits. There is no place for a star pianist, like Yuja, but a mezzo-soprano singing a couple of Lieder would be an improvement in the repertoire. Mirga would be fine in the conductor role. A hologram of H.v. Karajan would also be a sensation.

  • Can’t be more boring than bandmaster Muti, who still doesn’t understand how to shape a waltz. The best thing about his concert was his speech.

  • The choice for 2022 is obvious and it’s an outrage that the VPO is not taking it: Alondra de la Parra

    (maybe she could set another first by getting dismissed mid-concert as well!)

      • You’re right! Alondra could accomplish something that’s never been done before at a New Year’s Day concert: Conduct, AND be one of the dancers in the interludes! If Lorin Maazel was able to both conduct AND be a soloist, this would be doing him one better.

        In my opinion, this fact alone enhances Alondra de la Parra’s candidacy.

      • She is the conductor who has committed two cardinal sins in the eyes of some of the regulars here:

        1.- She is Mexican
        2.- She is a woman

        • Oh please…

          The facts are she can’t hold a job and doesn’t last very long anywhere. There have been numerous reports from colleagues that she is not well-trained, not a hard worker, and not talented. I’ve never heard her live so I can’t say for myself.

          Was her contract as Music Director of the orchestra in Queensland Australia not renewed because she is a woman and of Mexican descent (although technically she is American as she was born in NYC), and they weren’t aware of these facts when she was hired?

          • I assume the reports come from male colleagues… of course!

            You can justify it any way you can feel better and get some sleep – HERR doktor – but it needs to be called out even clearer than I did before – it’s racist AND misogynist prejudice.

            Simple as that.

            Shane Knight Eptick

  • Oh really. So you really just watch the live, not enjoying the music.

    Why don’t you quit watching the New Years Concert if you can’t just sit back and listen to the music. Conductor is only part of the show after all.

    • Same old,same old music. They can play it without a conductor. Great though Muti is, how much “conducting ”
      ,did he do yesterday? The best part of the TV transmission was the Interval. One to give a miss in future, just try to catch the interval.

    • Boring, same old music and even more boring ritual to the point of like being in a museum with an orchestra full of blokes, apart from the token woman or two so you have to watch what else is going on. Gave up on it all about five years ago.

  • What a boring choice. All these sane faces. In this age of youtube they should not ask a conductor to return within 10 years or so… So why not Ivan Fischer, Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, Riccardo Chailly or Chung? They never did the concert so than at least the face is new. Another suggestion: bring one new composed walz to keep the tradition alive!!

    • I think they have a small pool of conductors they can invite who are frequent collaborators of the Vienna Phil. Hence the relative lack of variation in the choice of conductors every year.
      A new waltz every year is a great idea. It’s always baffled me why the programme is almost the same each year. If they still want to make it a celebration of Austrian music, why not invite composers like Olga Neuwirth, Georg Friedrich Haas, HK Gruber or Friedrich Cerha to write a waltz or polka or two?

      • Especially for John Borstlap, who can’t wait to have his New Year Concert enlightened by some new Olga Neuwirth Polka…

    • I was just thinking of Sir Simon and Chailly. I could certainly see Sir Simon embracing the whole waltz thing and his general zest for music making would make it a memorable show (if a distant third to Kleiber and Georges Pretre).

      • Playing hours of 3/4 and 2/4 is a bit beneath Rattle. Not to mention gurning masticating and swooning.

  • The business model appears to work, so why would they want to fix it? Hasn’t the goose has been laying golden eggs for 35-40 years?

      • The scores are not difficult to play competently. Playing superbly is another matter. It’s no coincidence that people keep talking about the Kleiber, Karajan and Harnoncourt concerts.

        I wish priorities were with music. Sadly, they are not. Hence my previous comment.

    • Well – speaking as someone who has actually been to the New Years Day concert, I thought it was the best I can remember. Marvellous sound, and acoustics without the audience, and interesting to hear it played in that way – orchestra played superbly. Completely their own sound. Musically – the best version for many a long-year.

      • Why should this concert be different in that regard? Concert halls and churches are usually well-sprinkled with people just there to be seen.

    • The extra reverberation was very noticeable. I thought Muti’s head would absorb a lot of sound. Maybe he’s not as arrogant as people say?

  • What about Dudamel?
    A Dudamel/ Yuja Wang combo, particularly of Rachma6(which they have already recorded), would be fabulous!

  • So when do they start “outsourcing” musicians in the Philharmonic? They would save an awful lot of money……

    • No it’s not odd timing. The conductor of the next New Year’s concert is always announced on January 1st.

  • As Norman says, it’s business! Someone on this site recently suggested that all the VPO needs is someone (anyone?) to just give a downbeat to get the whole thing started. Technically and artistically I can’t imagine the usual bog-standard fayre needs much more than that.

    • Go to youtube and watch all the different renditions of this “bog-standard fare [sic]” and maybe you will learn something. They are not carbon copies! If you think otherwise, I’m afraid you are not very perceptive.

      The orchestra could play all of this repertoire with a nod from the concertmaster, and play it well. But the music is better with some shape oven by a conductor.

  • Always good to see Daniel Barenboim’s name down to conduct the NYD concert but would love to see one of our also brilliant British conductors there John Wilson especially.

  • I’ve always enjoyed the CD of Viennese music JEG did with them; for some reason, I also think Haitink could be a very interesting choice.

  • Superb concert today. Thank you Vienna Phil. Much as I enjoy Barenboim how about an English conductor as a first? Jane Glover perhaps. She has just been made a Dame.

  • I want John Wilson to do it. His recent Chandos recordings of light music indicate he’s a conductor of real skill, taste, and passion. Maybe he could sneak some Korngold into the proceedings, a composer he clearly has an affinity for.

  • The whole argument of who the V.P.O. picks is nearly irrelevant. The program is fairly much the same, year in and year out. The orchestra knows this stuff inside and out, and probably doesn’t need much of anything from the conductor. I don’t think it would be terribly different if you had Esa-Pekka Salonen or Ingo Metzmacher waving the stick. I’m not being dour – I love these shows! But I watch them to be entertained, and to bask in the sumptuous beauty of the ‘once upon a time’ Vienna that never truly existed (and no-one cares whether it really did or not – it’s fantasy!). I don’t watch these for ‘great interpretations’ of the Blue Danube Waltz – life’s too short (or too long, depending on your perspective).

  • Yes new contempory walzes please!!! And please some non conformistic conductors Like Ivan Fischer, Francois-Xavier Roth or Teodor Currentzis.

  • I guess is required some new blood as to follow the magic of these concerts…is understandable this choice by VP but finally all the pleasure is dedicated to the world’s audience and not only to VP musicians and their conductor…

  • I’ve lost interest in this event long time ago.
    What on earth is VPO thinking when Muti has become repetitive for this event?

  • Barenboim produced good music on the last occasion; and unerstands the nuances of the Concert Waltz/Polka. In addition he is approaching the his 80 milestone; hence I empathise with choice. But 2023 VPO should consider a fresh face, perhaps Rattle or Gergiev; but ensure that their choice respects the light-classical genre’.

  • I do not understand the antagonism to Barenboim here! The statement by the Orchestra is clear and convincing and many of the great conductors invited have done it several times and welcomed! I grew up watching Willy Boskovsky year after year, golden years, conducting traditionally from the bow — did we mind? Of course the younger and wonderful conductors like Mirga will have their turn and be hugely successful but to invite Barenboim in his 80th year is a great idea for orchestra and public alike! My one gripe is something else – repertoire! This is chosen, like the conductor, by the orchestra members and perhaps understandably they like to choose unknown pieces by the Strauss family and others. Very rarely do I come away having heard those pieces remembering anything to recognise if I hear them again or wanting to hear them again. Unfortunately these unknown pieces are often very boring! There is such a rich repertoire of the pieces we all love and I personally think it a shame that you have to wait until near the end to hear only a few of the great, much loved works. Does anyone remember Barbirolli’s Viennese Night at the Proms? One gem after another and there is a huge choice of that great much loved repertoire! Please, dear players, give us more of the great repertoire which you play like no other orchestra! Gold and Silver Waltz, Tritch Tratch Polka, Thunder and Lightening Polka, Pizzicato Polka, Suite from Rosenkavalier.., I could go on and on! Great music!

  • The choice of conductor makes no difference to anybody; hard to see why anybody should be getting worked up about it. The repertoire is largely unchanging. The musicians would play identically if you stuck an inflatable tube man on the podium. Most of those in the worldwide audience wouldn’t be able to pick any given conductor out of a line-up, and the choice of conductor makes precisely zero difference to their decision whether to watch it.

  • One could live in hope that Barenboil may not make it to 1 Jan 2022, but somehow I doubt that will happen, alas. The most puffed up and over-rated man and musician it has ever been my ‘pleasure’ to endure on stage.

  • The base concept here seems to be tradition and memory of Vienna’s glorious past with respect to their music—not diversity, fresh faces, or supreme talent. (I love the music, not the dancing. But I’m sure others feel differently). DB is an acknowledged genius, perhaps uniquely gifted as both pianist and conductor. So he’s more than qualified to come to an orch. that wants him to lead. Sure, I’d prefer some others—Tilson Thomas, Paavo Jarvi, Manfred Honeck, Semyon Bychkov, Osmo Vanska—but these are not likely to be wanted by the VPO. And they have a right to their preferences.

  • I would like to see Manfred Honeck do it. He understands the idiom perfectly but still brings individuality to the repertoire.

    • As a former member of the orchestra he would be excellent. His brother is currently first concertmaster (I can already hear the carping about keeping it in the family!). I re-watched the Kleiber 1989 concert on New Years Day afternoon as an antidote to Muti: Rainer Honeck played no 3 in the first violins on that occasion

      • Not true that they love him in Pittsburgh. Only a few of his pets love him. Most don’t respect him. The orchestra isn’t going anywhere at the moment, unfortunately.

  • I guess we’re all entitled to our own views of Barenboim. I saw his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra at Carnegie Hall some years ago. In truth I only went because it seemed such a worthy cause, but I was bowled over by the talent of the musicians. However, I was puzzled by his conducting technique. At several points, he was waving the baton around the level of his knees. I would not like to have been sitting at back of the violas trying to follow that beat.

    • Mostly the musicians don’t need the conductor to keep them going they know their score anyway. Notice how most of them don’t even look at the conductor whilst playing their instruments, so don’t be so finicky and critical of a lion in the musical world.

  • Why can’t we get to see the new years 2021 concert in Australia on sbs specifically. It is screened to 90 other countries ! Is it because of lack of money or what.

  • Cherchez l’homme! . . . AGAIN!!!
    MPSF!!! Male, pale, stale, frail, etc . . .
    Big money though – entirely coincidentally, of course[?].
    Discuss.

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