For the past 175 years, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has been inseparably linked with European musical tradition, from the classical to the contemporary. The philharmonic's performances have gone down in musical history, and several masterpieces have been written for the ensemble.
Since its inception by Otto Nicolai in 1842, the fascination that the orchestra has held for prominent composers and conductors, as well as for audiences all over the world, is based not only on a homogenous musical style carefully bequeathed from one generation to the next, but also on its unique history and structure. The foremost ruling body of the organization is the orchestra itself.
In accordance with philharmonic statutes, only a member of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra can become a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Before joining the philharmonic, one must first audition for a position with the State Opera Orchestra and then successfully complete a three-year period before becoming eligible to submit an application for membership in the association of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performs approximately 40 concerts annually in Vienna, presents Vienna Philharmonic weeks in New York and Japan, and has participated in the Salzburg Festival since 1922. The orchestra makes yearly guest appearances, playing more than 50 concerts in leading concert halls and festivals around the world; presents the New Year's Concert, which is broadcast internationally in more than 90 countries; and presents the free Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn, which is attended annually by up to 100,000 people.
Since 2008, Rolex has been the Exclusive Sponsor of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
From the beginning, the orchestra has displayed a strong social consciousness, characterized by a commitment to individuals in need and the fostering of young musicians. To this day, the orchestra annually performs numerous benefit concerts and develops initiatives for needy persons.
The musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra endeavor to implement the motto with which Ludwig van Beethoven prefaced his Missa solemnis: "From the heart, to the heart."
Franz Welser-Möst is one of the most distinguished conductors of our day. He has been music director of The Cleveland Orchestra since 2002, and his contract currently runs until 2022.
The artistic profile of his long-term collaboration with The Cleveland Orchestra, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2018, is characterized by exceptional programming, numerous premieres, innovative staged opera productions, and a strong commitment to building up a new and, above all, young audience through groundbreaking projects and collaborations. In addition to their regular residencies in the US and Europe, Mr. Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra have appeared at Carnegie Hall, Tokyo's Suntory Hall, and at the festivals of Salzburg, Lucerne, and Grafenegg.
As a guest conductor, Mr. Welser-Möst has a particularly close and productive relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. He has twice appeared on the podium for its celebrated New Year's concerts, and regularly conducts the orchestra in concert at Vienna's Musikverein, the Lucerne Festival, the BBC Proms, and on tour in Japan, Scandinavia, and the US. This special relationship was recognized in spring 2014, when he was presented with the orchestra's Ring of Honor.
From 2010 to 2014, Mr. Welser-Möst was general music director of the Vienna State Opera. In addition to cultivating the entire repertoire, he conducted 20th-century works such as Janáček's Káťa Kabanová, From the House of the Dead, and The Cunning Little Vixen, as well as Hindemith's Cardillac. In Vienna and Cleveland, he has focused on the operas of Richard Strauss and conducted performances of Salome, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Arabella.
Mr. Welser-Möst is a regular guest at the Salzburg Festival, with recent appearances that include performances of Rusalka, Der Rosenkavalier, Fidelio, and, in summer 2016, a new production of Strauss's Die Liebe der Danae. In 2017, he conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra there in a new production of Aribert Reimann's Lear.
During the 2017-2018 season, Mr. Welser-Möst conducts the Staatskapelle Dresden at the Salzburg Easter Festival, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Mr. Welser-Möst has received many other honors and awards, and his numerous CDs and DVDs have earned many international prizes.