Performance Friday, March 2, 2012 | 8 PM

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
In his native Finland, Sibelius is a cultural icon; worldwide, music lovers recognize him as among a handful of great 20th-century symphonists. His single-movement Seventh Symphony is a breathtaking work of vast musical vistas, and you can hear it with Lorin Maazel and the storied Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Also on the program: Sibelius’s First Symphony, with its echoes of Tchaikovsky, and the distinctively uplifting, grandly heroic Fifth.


  • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    Lorin Maazel, Conductor


  • Symphony No. 7
  • Symphony No. 5
  • Symphony No. 1


  • 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 170-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.

    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."

    Lorin Maazel

    For more than 50 years, Lorin Maazel has been one of the world's most esteemed and sought-after conductors. Music director of the New York Philharmonic from 2002-2009, he assumes the same post with the Münchner Philharmoniker at the start of the 2012-2013 season. He is also the founder and artistic director of a new festival based on his farm property in Virginia, the Castleton Festival, launched to exceptional acclaim in 2009 and expanding its activities nationally and internationally in 2011 and beyond.

    Maestro Maazel is a highly regarded composer, with a wide-ranging catalogue of works written primarily over the last dozen years. His first opera, 1984, based on George Orwell's literary masterpiece, had its world premiere at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in May 2005, and was broadcast on radio and television by the BBC and on many other national radio networks worldwide.

    A second-generation American born in Paris, Mr. Maazel began violin lessons at age five and conducting lessons at age seven. He appeared publicly for the first time at age eight, conducting a university orchestra. Between ages nine and 15, he made his New York debut at the 1939 World's Fair, conducting the Interlochen Orchestra; led the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, sharing a program with Leopold Stokowski; and conducted most of the major American orchestras, including the NBC Symphony Orchestra at the invitation of Toscanini. His New York Philharmonic debut came in 1942. In the years since, Maestro Maazel has conducted more than 150 orchestras in no fewer than 5,000 opera and concert performances. He has made more than 300 recordings, including symphonic cycles or complete orchestral works of Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Richard Strauss, winning 10 Grands Prix du Disques.

    Maestro Maazel has been music director of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (1993-2002); music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1988-1996); general manager and chief conductor of the Vienna State Opera (1982-1984), the first American to hold that position; music director of The Cleveland Orchestra (1972-1982); and artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1965-1971). He is an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and his close association with that ensemble includes 11 internationally televised New Year's concerts from Vienna.

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Sibelius Symphony No. 1 (Andante)
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra;Lorin Maazel, Conductor

At a Glance     

This program presents three powerful symphonies by a composer who was once dismissed as a throwback to the 19th century but is now widely viewed as an avatar of contemporary music. Sibelius gave new life to the modern symphony, a form assumed dead with the rise of Debussy and Schoenberg. The lonely grandeur and formal originality of his seven symphonies have been heralded in our time by artists from Morton Feldman to John Adams. The three performed here, including the first and last, show Sibelius’s journey from youthful intensity to Olympian refinement.
Program Notes



Jeremy Geffen Introduces Sibelius's Symphony No. 1

The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman in support of the 2011-2012 season.

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