Performance Sunday, March 3, 2013 | 2 PM

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst conclude their three-concert stay at Carnegie Hall with expansive, lush music by two composers closely associated with their native country. Frank Peter Zimmermann joins the orchestra for Berg’s Violin Concerto, a moving tribute “to the memory of an angel,” said Alma Mahler Werfel’s daughter, who died shortly before the composer began the work. Also on the program is Bruckner’s expansive "Romantic" Symphony.


  • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    Franz Welser-Möst, Conductor
  • Frank Peter Zimmermann, Violin


  • BERG Violin Concerto
  • BRUCKNER Symphony No. 4, "Romantic" (1888, Korstvedt edition)

  • Encore:
  • BACH Andante from Solo Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003


  • 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 171-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 gifted composers and interpreters-must certainly be regarded as unique. Additionally, the Vienna Philharmonic's extensive touring schedule, prolific recordings, and global television broadcasts allow the orchestra's artistry to be experienced around the world.

    The orchestra's close association with this rich musical history is best illustrated by the statements of countless preeminent musical personalities of the past. Wagner described the orchestra as being one of the most outstanding in the world; Bruckner called it "the most superior musical association"; Brahms counted himself a "friend and admirer"; Gustav Mahler claimed to be joined together with the orchestra through "the bonds of musical art"; and 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. Over the course of more than one and a half centuries, this chosen path of democratic self-administration has experienced slight modifications, but has never been substantially altered. The foremost ruling body of the organization is the orchestra itself.

    The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's mission is to communicate the humanitarian message of music into the daily lives and consciousness of its listeners. For more than a decade, the orchestra has been giving benefit concerts in support of humanitarian causes around the world, and since 1999, makes an annual donation of 100,000 Euros from its New Year's concert to a variety of international charitable organizations. In 2005, the orchestra was named Goodwill Ambassador for the World Health Organization. As of November 2008, Rolex is the worldwide presenting sponsor of the Vienna Philharmonic. 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."

    Franz Welser-Möst

    One of today's most celebrated conductors, Franz Welser-Möst leads two of the world's great cultural institutions as music director of The Cleveland Orchestra and general music director of the Vienna State Opera.

    The 2012-2013 season marks his 11th year in Cleveland, and in 2008 his contract was extended until the orchestra's centennial year in 2018. With The Cleveland Orchestra, he has built close relationships with Carnegie Hall, Vienna's Musikverein, and the Lucerne Festival. Recent seasons have also included residencies at the Salzburg Festival and at Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Since 2007, Mr. Welser-Möst and the orchestra have held an annual residency in Miami, and in 2011, they began a biennial residency at the Lincoln Center Festival.

    Since 2010, Mr. Welser-Möst has served as general music director of the Vienna State Opera. His long partnership with the company has included an acclaimed new production of Wagner's Ring cycle with director Sven-Eric Bechtolf and critically praised new productions of Hindemith's Cardillac, Janáček's Katya Kabanová and From the House of the Dead, and Verdi's Don Carlo. In 2012-2013, he leads, among other performances, new productions of Ariadne auf Naxos and Tristan und Isolde, and a reprise of the Ring cycle.

    As a guest conductor, Mr. Welser-Möst enjoys an exceptionally close and productive relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2013, he had the honor of leading the orchestra's celebrated New Year's Day Concert for the second time in three years, and the CD recording of his appearance in 2011 has reached double-platinum sales status. He has also performed with the orchestra at the Salzburg and Lucerne festivals, the BBC Proms, Suntory Hall, in the Sommernacht concert on the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace, and on a regular basis in the orchestra's subscription series at the Musikverein.

    Mr. Welser-Möst has guest-conducted all the leading orchestras in Europe and the US. He was music director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 1990 to 1996, and led the orchestra and ensemble of the Zurich Opera as general music director from 1995 to 2008.

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  • Frank Peter Zimmermann

    Born in 1965 in Duisburg, Germany, Frank Peter Zimmermann started playing the violin when he was five years old, giving his first concert with an orchestra at the age of 10. Since finishing his studies with Valery Gradov, Saschko Gawriloff, and Herman Krebbers in 1983, Mr. Zimmermann has performed with all the major orchestras in the world and collaborated with the world's most renowned conductors. His many concert engagements have taken him to all of the important concert venues and international music festivals in Europe, the United States, Japan, South America, and Australia.

    Mr. Zimmermann began his 2012-2013 season with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and Daniele Gatti in a summer festival tour. Further season highlights include performances with Andrey Boreyko and the New York Philharmonic, Franz Welser-Möst and the Vienna Philharmonic and Cleveland orchestras, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia and Bavarian Radio Symphony orchestras, and Paavo Järvi and the Berliner Philharmoniker and Orchestre de Paris.

    Mr. Zimmermann has given the world premieres of three violin concertos: Augusta Read Thomas's Violin Concerto No. 3, "Juggler in Paradise," with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Mr. Boreyko (2009); Brett Dean's The Lost Art of Letter Writing with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by the composer (2007); and Matthias Pintscher's en sourdine with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Peter Eötvös (2003).

    Also an avid chamber musician and recitalist, Mr. Zimmermann gives numerous concerts worldwide. His interpretations of the Classical, Romantic, and 20th-century repertoire are received with great critical acclaim from press and public alike. His regular recital partners are pianists Piotr Anderszewski, Enrico Pace, and Emanuel Ax.

    Frank Peter Zimmermann plays a Stradivarius violin from 1711 that once belonged to Fritz Kreisler and which is kindly sponsored by the Portigon AG.

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Bruckner's Symphony No. 4, "Romantic" (Scherzo)
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra | Bernard Haitink, Conductor

At a Glance

This concert presents two challenging Viennese works by composers who were once on the periphery of the repertory but are now frequently performed. Both pieces are ideal entries into their composers' unique symphonic worlds: Alban Berg's Violin Concerto, with its haunting lyricism, is an atonal work for those who normally dislike atonal music; Anton Bruckner's Fourth Symphony, with its epic but accessible structures, was a hit even with Bruckner's many detractors when it premiered in Vienna in 1881. Berg's concerto, dedicated "to the memory of an angel," is a moving memorial to the daughter of Mahler's former wife, who died tragically at age 18. It also turned out to be a requiem for Berg himself, who died shortly before the 1936 premiere. Bruckner's symphony, subtitled "Romantic," is a tribute to an earlier age of Viennese Romanticism, though Bruckner may well have invested it with nostalgic descriptions to make it more palatable to an audience hostile to his daring mystical abstractions.
Program Notes
This concert is made possible, in part, by the Audrey Love Charitable Foundation.
This performance is part of International Festival of Orchestras II.