Performance Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | 7 PM

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Opening Night Gala


Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Open a new season in the world’s finest concert hall with the one of the world’s most renowned orchestras. The Vienna Philharmonic, together with an acclaimed conductor and an international piano superstar, fill Carnegie Hall with the glorious, dramatic sounds of Beethoven’s youthful First Concerto and one his most uplifting symphonies.


  • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor
  • Lang Lang, Piano


  • BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major
  • BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7

  • Encore:
  • PROKOFIEV Precipitato from Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, Op. 83

  • Program is approximately 1 hour, 40 minutes, including one intermission


  • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

    There is perhaps no other musical ensemble more consistently and closely associated with the history and tradition of European classical music than the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. In the course of its more than 160-year history, the musicians of this most prominent orchestra of the capital city of music have been an integral part of a musical epoch that-thanks to an abundance of uniquely gifted composers and interpreters-must certainly be regarded as unique.

    The orchestra's close association with this rich musical history is best illustrated by the statements of countless preeminent musical personalities of the past. Richard Wagner described the orchestra as among the most outstanding in the world; Anton Bruckner called it "the most superior musical association"; Johannes Brahms counted himself a "friend and admirer"; Gustav Mahler claimed to be joined with the ensemble through "the bonds of musical art." Richard Strauss summarized these sentiments by saying, "All praise of the Vienna Philharmonic reveals itself as understatement."

    The Vienna State Opera Orchestra holds a special relationship with the private association known as the Vienna Philharmonic. In accordance with Philharmonic statutes, only a member of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra can become a member of the Vienna Philharmonic. The engagement in the Vienna State Opera Orchestra provides the musicians a financial stability that would be impossible to attain without relinquishing their autonomy to private or corporate sponsors.

    The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's mission is to communicate the humanitarian message of music into the daily lives and consciousness of its listeners. In 2005, the orchestra was named Goodwill Ambassador for the World Health Organization, and since 2006, the orchestra has also been a supporter of the Phonak initiative Hear the World. As of November 2008, Rolex is the worldwide presenting sponsor of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The musicians endeavor to implement the motto with which Ludwig van Beethoven-whose symphonic works served as a catalyst for the creation of the orchestra-prefaced his Missa solemnis: "From the heart, to the heart."

    Nikolaus Harnoncourt

    Born in Berlin, conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt spent his youth in Graz, Austria. Heeding his early artistic ambition, he studied cello in Vienna, and joined the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in 1952. A year later, Mr. Harnoncourt and his wife Alice founded the Concentus Musicus Wien ensemble, providing a forum for Mr. Harnoncourt's increasingly intensive work with period instruments and with Renaissance and baroque musical performance tradition. He collected historical instruments and, in addition to his performing and conducting activities, devoted his time to philosophical analyses of Musik als Klangrede ("music as speech"), which to date remain seminal works on the performance of early music.

    From 1972, Mr. Harnoncourt taught performance practice and the study of historical instruments at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, while at the same time enjoying growing success as an opera conductor. His debut at the Theater an der Wien with Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria in 1971 was followed by the now-legendary cycle of Monteverdi operas, which he developed in collaboration with Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, director of the Opernhaus Zurich. This cycle was followed by an equally exemplary and groundbreaking cycle of Mozart operas.

    Mr. Harnoncourt's career as a conductor of both orchestral works and operas encompasses Viennese Classicism, the Romantic repertoire, and works from the 20th century. With the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Berliner Philharmoniker, Mr. Harnoncourt constantly reinterprets and rediscovers the grand repertoire of orchestral work.

    A central venue for many of these projects has been-and still is-the Styriarte Festival, founded in 1985 to establish a closer link between Mr. Harnoncourt and his home city of Graz. This is also where he first conducted Schumann's Genoveva, the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, and Verdi's Requiem. His first scenic production of an opera followed in 2003 with Offenbach's La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein. In 2008, Mr. Harnoncourt both conducted and directed Mozart's Idomeneo.

    Today, Mr. Harnoncourt is one of the few true stars among conductors worldwide. Performances such as the New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra enable him to reach an audience of millions, displaying the characteristic passion and fiery intensity that identify him, first and foremost, as a true servant of his art.
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  • Lang Lang

    Lang Lang's success has catapulted him into the world spotlight. In 2008, he was featured in concert with jazz pianist Herbie Hancock at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, and was a featured performer at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2009, Lang Lang appeared in Time magazine's annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Most recently, Lang Lang has been chosen as an official worldwide ambassador for the 2010 Shanghai Expo.

    Lang Lang is seen as a symbol of the youth and future of China, and is an inspiration to the 40 million classical piano students in that country. He has made it his mission to broaden the reach of classical music around the world, with a focus on children. In 2004, he was appointed an International Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF). In 2008, he established the Lang Lang International Music Foundation with the goal of expanding young audiences and inspiring the next generation of musicians through outreach programs.

    Lang Lang began playing the piano at the age of three; by age five, he had won the Shenyang competition, and at nine, he won first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. Lang Lang's break into stardom came at age 17, when he was called upon for a dramatic last-minute substitution at the Gala of the Century, performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Shortly thereafter, he became the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the top American orchestras.

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Beethoven Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15 - 3. Rondo (Allegro scherzando)
Lang Lang, Piano, Orchestre de Paris, Christoph Eschenbach, Conductor
Deutsche Grammophon

Opening Night Gala Sponsor: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP