Every year of my life has included watching the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert (Neujahrskonzert). The annual concert is now a global tradition for ringing in the new year, listening to classical music which is part of the fabric of Austria. I was privileged to have grown up listening to this music and it’s a joy to continue honoring the tradition of the New Year’s Concert (I am making it a goal of mine to receive the coveted tickets for the concert one year!) to enjoy this tradition with my fellow countrymen. You can watch the performance on PBS, as well as stream the concert from the PBS Great Performances website.
Another glorious part of the tradition of the concert is the Vienna Ballet’s involvement: each year, a group of the dancers are featured in a segment on Great Performances on PBS during the concert to dance in beautifully designed costumes alongside the music. Each year, the designer who is given the honor to design the costumes is able to express their artistic flair however they like – they are truly given artistic freedom.
The Neujahrskonzert is a “glorious and enduring representation of the spirit, passion, and respect held for the Austrian tradition of music, song, and dance… the elegance of an era that blended high art with popular entertainment.” (Austrian Information, November/December 2003). Truly, this is the best way of describing how the New Year’s Concert rings in the new year: it’s honoring the past with the tradition of this music and refreshing us all for the future, which holds excitement for what is to come, exactly what this music conveys. Johann Strauss Sr. “Radetzky March” is performed as the closing of every single concert (below) refreshing us all for the new year. ENJOY AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!