Vienna Philharmonic claims birthday nights with John Williams

Vienna Philharmonic claims birthday nights with John Williams


norman lebrecht

February 07, 2022

The Vienna Phil has booked the birthday boy for March.

John Williams will turn 90 tomorrow.

The Vienna Philharmonic and the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna are pleased to present two new concerts with John Williams, Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Vienna Philharmonic. With these two special concerts, the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna Musikverein celebrate the 90th birthday of the world-famous film music composer and conductor. The concerts will take place on Saturday, March 12 at 3:30 PM and Sunday, March 13 at 11:00 AM. Ticket sales begin for members of the Society of Friends of Music on February 8, 2022, the exact day of John Williams’ 90th birthday. General ticket sales begin on February 10, 2022.


  • Viv says:

    After listening to his Berlin Concert recording, I much prefer his Vienna concert.

    • Kyle Wiedmeyer says:

      See, I think the playing in the Berlin Philharmonic was absolutely next level, certainly from sonic and technical standpoints. Definitely better than the Vienna concert in those regards.

  • Wurm says:

    JW – always a class act, many happy returns Maestro.

  • Monsoon says:

    The concerts feature his second violin concerto and the usual Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Indiana Jones clips.

    I wish for one of these birthday concerts he would have been invited to conduct the entire Empire Strikes Back score — it’s his best movie music, and over 2 hours.

  • Herr Doktor says:

    I’m not a fan of John Williams’ classical compositions although I do appreciate how much Williams’ film scores influenced Wagner when Wagner wrote his operas. But regardless, good for John Williams for developing a relationship with the world’s greatest orchestra, for which there seems to be mutual respect. And to celebrate a birthday together making music is really a gift and the most wonderful way to celebrate. Best wishes for a great birthday, John Williams! And congratulations for still going strong!

  • he says:


    So what tie-in products will be on sale in the lobby of the Muzikverein?

    Bobble Head John Williams, XXL plastic drinking cups with ET on them, keychains…

    Disney Hall in Los Angeles has nothing planned, but the Muzikverein in Vienna does.

    • Ellingtonia says:

      You have obviously never been in the shop in Philharmonic Hall in Berlin………………
      As regards Disney Hall has nothing planned, I think you will find that Williams has long been recognised in America as an outstanding composer and his work is performed all over the country. It has just taken the snobbish, arty mob (Mr Borstlap are you listening) a while to recognise what an outstanding composer he is. Still, better late than never!

      • Monsoon says:

        Not to mention that Dudamel/LA Phil have been performing his music for years, the LA Phil and DG released a 2-disc album in 2019, and Williams conducts the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl often.

        Williams also has a pretty packed tour schedule this year but he is scheduled to conduct the Hollywood Bowl in the fall.

  • freddynyc says:

    Is it customary for the VP to embrace conductors only as they approach their final years…..?

    • MacroV says:

      It seems like it. They invited Vaclav Neumann just a couple years before he died (now, in fairness, Neumann died at the relatively young age of 74). I don’t know when they first engaged Georges Pretre, but he was in his 80s when he conducted the New Years Concert.

      • Wurm says:

        That begs the question, which elder statesmen/women of the podium would you invite if you could do so? (Criteria: at least 70y/o and never conducted the VPO before).
        1. Cristian Mandeal

    • Kyle Wiedmeyer says:

      The maestro has only made a habit of touring orchestras relatively recently. IIRC he only did some of the bigger orchestras in the states (and London), like Chicago, New York, LA, etc. It’s understandable that orchestras like Vienna and Berlin have only made note of him recently, and I’m sure that his age has had them clamoring more than they might’ve otherwise.

  • Gustavo says:

    Fame at last.

    But it may be too much at a time.

    JW should be composing rather than partying with VPO and ASM.

  • Patrick says:

    Weren’t the LSO available? Indeed, it was they who immortalised JW music, having recorded Star Wars, Raiders, Jaws, Superman, Harry Potter and others, for the actual films! Or is the VP regarded as being more up market than the LSO who can read and play anything? Whatever the reasons, shame on JW.

  • MacroV says:

    Well, good for them. I know some of the old goats on this blog like to disparage Williams but I’ve been playing some of his pieces in their band arrangements; they are some of the richest, technically challenging, and satisfying pieces I’ve encountered. He is a fine composer and a great musician, and why should the VPO not have him over the celebrate his birthday. I hope he goes back to Berlin again – that show was wonderful.

    And he has been conducting the great U.S. orchestras for years; so why should he not conduct the VPO?

  • Viv says:

    I wish these new concerts with Mutter could be recorded snd released. Love the sound from JW and VPO.