How the New Year’s Day Concert inspires music students
Published: January 24th 2014
The New Year’s Day Concert is a beautiful display of talent and music that has survived the years. Both admirers of the artistic display of the dancers that perform and the orchestra that brings the Musikverein in Vienna to life have looked to the concert to kick-off the New Year in style. An inspiration to many, music and performance teachers around the world find out how a music tour can boost your students’ interest and ambitions. We take a look at the New Year’s Day concert in Vienna to understand how this event inspires music lovers and highlights Vienna as an ideal destination for a music tour for your student group.
For years, the city of Vienna in Austria has been a landmark destination for musical excellence. Even before The Sound of Music, Austria has been known for its grand concert halls, palaces, composers and historic landmarks. The New Year’s Day Concert is one such event that continues to hold global prominence and encourages audiences to appreciate the art of composition. Since 1939, audiences have marvelled at the annual spectacle the privileged few and, later on, television audiences have enjoyed on the morning of the 1st January. The grand architecture of the Grosser Saal (Large Hall) is a fitting setting for the elegance of the New Year’s Day concert with gold adorning the hall’s walls and beautiful paintings across the ceiling. Viewers will glance above to Apollo and the 9 Muses who come together in a series of paintings created by August Eisenmenger to create an air of grandeur. It wasn’t until 1870 when the Grosser Musikvereinssaal opened its doors as the new Musikverein and the concert hall has remained as stylish and, as one leading critic said, ‘overwhelming’ since that day. From the white sculptures to the marble busts, the Grosser Saal is as an impressive sight as you will soon see.
Let us not forget the music that echoes through the hall from the moment the orchestra sit to tune up their instruments. The Wiener Philharmoniker provides the musical talent for the New Year’s Day concert and ‘talent’ is certainly the fundamental word in this instance. Picked from the best of the Vienna State Opera, who must prove their skills for a minimum of 3 years before they can apply to join the Vienna Philharmonic, only dedication and skill will see you join the orchestra at the front of the hall.
Pivotal to the performance are the offerings from the Strauss family. Johann Strauss II is particularly celebrated through the performance while other famous composers including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Lanner and Franz Schubert are also heard throughout the concert. To deliver these masterpieces a man of experience needs to be in control of the baton. This year saw the talent of Israeli Argentine-born pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim take the mantle who once again expressed a message of peace for the Middle East.
Looking ahead to 2015, it has been announced Zubin Mehta will lead the Vienna Philharmonic. Not a stranger to the New Year’s Day concert, Mehta has previously led the event on 4 occasions with the most recent appearance taking place in 2007. While the New Year celebrations always promises for new beginnings through fresh prospects and resolutions, the New Year’s Day looks to hold on tight to tradition – principles of etiquette, appreciation of an art and musical excellence.
While we get caught up with what Vienna can offer from its grand musical history, the New Year’s Day concert looks to highlight that those of our students looking to pursue a career in music can indeed do so. With tours to other destinations that have a rich musical past including Prague, Berlin and Budapest, students will soon be able to develop their musical talents and confidence when performing on stage or admiring those who are already living the dream.
Providing you with musical expertise, our music tour experts are on hand to guide you through the planning, preparation and running of your tour. Whether you seek a gothic cathedral in Belgium or a town square on the north-eastern coast of Spain, you can be sure to receive the best advice on where and when you can perform. Our tours also provide your students with a brilliant way to develop their knowledge of where masterpieces originated and sounds that are embedded in regional tradition with excursions to some of the world’s most captivating sites.