Press Release

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Katherine E. Johnson Vice President, Communications (212) 875-5700;

For Immediate Release

New York and Vienna Philharmonics To Celebrate 175th Anniversaries with Joint Exhibit


February 23–March 10, 2017

Opening Event on February 22 To Feature Performance by
Musicians from the New York and Vienna Philharmonics

The New York Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic, both celebrating their 175th anniversaries this season, will present an unprecedented joint exhibit of archival material from throughout the venerable orchestras’ histories, to be housed at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, February 23–March 10, 2017. The exhibit will then travel to Vienna, where the New York Philharmonic will be performing on its EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour (March 29 at the Konzerthaus); the exhibit will open at the Haus der Musik on the Vienna Philharmonic’s 175th birthday, March 28.

The exhibit, Vienna and New York: 175 Years of Two Philharmonics, will launch with a private event on February 22 featuring a joint chamber music performance by musicians from the New York and Vienna Philharmonics.

Among the many treasures to be featured are documents written at the founding of each orchestra, including a call for musicians written by conductor-composer Otto Nicolai, founder of the Vienna Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic’s “Constitution of the Philharmonic Society of New York,” the formal document establishing the Orchestra’s operating principles. Other items include historic conducting scores, programs, photographs from performances and tours, and letters from composers and conductors who played significant roles in the orchestras’ histories.

Andreas Großbauer, Chairman of the Vienna Philharmonic, said: “It has been 25 years since the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has organized an exhibition of such importance and size in New York, and many items from the orchestra’s history will be shown to the public for the first time during this exhibit. We are delighted to collaborate with the New York Philharmonic Archives and premiere this joint exhibition, first in New York with the assistance of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York and then in Vienna. The exhibition will offer a unique look at two of the world’s most widely recognized orchestras from two different cultural and historical perspectives.”

Matthew VanBesien, President of the New York Philharmonic, said: “It is remarkable that these two great orchestras are both celebrating their 175th anniversaries, and I can think of no better way to commemorate this unique moment in the history of symphonic orchestras than with this important exhibit. We look forward to having New Yorkers learn more about the legacies of these two venerable yet innovative institutions at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, and then to reuniting with our Viennese friends this March on the Philharmonic’s EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour.”

Christine Moser, Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, said: “I am thrilled that the double anniversary will be celebrated at our landmark home. 2017 marks 15 years since the iconic ACFNY building opened its doors and became the leading organizer and advocate of Austrian culture in the U.S. Each year, members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra perform at the ACFNY’s flagship building, focusing especially on music by contemporary Austrian composers. We are pleased, this year, to welcome the New York Philharmonic and expand our role by hosting the exhibit.”

The New York Philharmonic is marking its 175th anniversary season with The New World Initiative, which explores Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World — which the Orchestra premiered in December 1893 — through performances, education projects, and community outreach; The New York Commissions, which presents the World Premieres of New York–themed works by New York–based composers with strong ties to the Philharmonic; and THE ART OF THE SCORE and Spring Gala, featuring complete screenings of iconic New York City films Manhattan, West Side Story, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, with live performances of the scores.

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates its anniversary at home with the launch of a new permanent archive in the Haus der Musik, one time home of founder Otto Nicolai, on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the orchestra’s first concert, on March 28. Also in honor of the anniversary, Deutsche Gramophone will release a box set of historic recordings and three books will be published: a history of the Vienna Philharmonic by French musicologist Christian Merlin, a collection of photographs by Vienna-based Swiss artist Nives Widauer, and a book that examines the orchestra’s cultural and political history and its musicians commissioned by the newly formed Vienna Philharmonic Society in New York from Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz, author and chief dramatic adviser of Volksoper Vienna. On tour in the U.S., the orchestra performs concerts conducted by Franz Welser-Möst and presents master classes and other educational activities at Carnegie Hall in New York (February 24–26), Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (February 27), and Artis―Naples in Naples, Florida (March 1 and 3).

About the New York Philharmonic
Founded in 1842 by local musicians led by American-born Ureli Corelli Hill, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, and one of the oldest in the world. The New York Philharmonic plays a leading cultural role in New York City, the United States, and the world. This season the Philharmonic will connect with up to 50 million music lovers through live concerts in New York City and on its worldwide tours and residencies; digital recording series; international broadcasts on television, radio, and online; and as a resource through its varied education programs and the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives. In the 2016–17 season the New York Philharmonic celebrates its 175th anniversary and Alan Gilbert’s farewell season as Music Director. The Orchestra has commissioned and/or premiered works by leading composers from every era since its founding in 1842 — including Dvořák’s New World Symphony, John Adams’s Pulitzer Prize–winning On the Transmigration of Souls, dedicated to the victims of 9/11, and Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Renowned around the globe, the Philharmonic has appeared in 432 cities in 63 countries — including the groundbreaking 1930 tour of Europe; the unprecedented 1959 tour to the USSR; the historic 2008 visit to Pyongyang, D.P.R.K., the first there by an American orchestra; and the Orchestra’s debut in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2009. The New York Philharmonic serves as a resource for its community and the world. It complements its annual free concerts across the city — including the Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer — with Philharmonic Free Fridays and wide-ranging education programs, among them the famed, long-running Young People’s Concerts and Philharmonic Schools, an immersive classroom program that reaches thousands of New York City students. The Orchestra established the New York Philharmonic Global Academy — collaborations with partners worldwide offering training of pre-professional orchestral musicians, often alongside performance residencies — following the launch of the flagship collaboration with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Shanghai Conservatory of Music, including the formation of the Shanghai Orchestra Academy. Additional Global Academy partners include the Music Academy of the West and The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. The Orchestra also has a residency partnership with the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan. The New York Philharmonic has made more than 2,000 recordings since 1917, including several Grammy Award winners, and its self-produced digital recording series continues in the 2016–17 season. The Orchestra’s extensive history is available free, online, through the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives, which currently makes available every printed program since 1842; by the end of 2018 more than three million pages of documents from the Archives, one of the world’s most important orchestral research collections, will be available for free. Music Director Alan Gilbert began his tenure in September 2009, succeeding a distinguished line of 20th-century musical giants that includes Leonard Bernstein, Arturo Toscanini, and Gustav Mahler.

About the Vienna Philharmonic
There is perhaps no other musical ensemble more closely associated with the history and tradition of European classical music than the Vienna Philharmonic. Over the course of its 175 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 — is regarded as truly unique. The orchestra’s close association with this rich musical history is best illustrated by statements of countless pre-eminent musical personalities of the past. Richard Wagner described the orchestra as one of the most outstanding in the world; Anton Bruckner called it “the most superior musical association”; Johannes Brahms counted himself as a “friend and admirer”; Gustav Mahler claimed to be joined with the orchestra through “the bonds of musical art”; and Richard Strauss said, “All praise of the Vienna Philharmonic reveals itself as understatement.” The Vienna Philharmonic is renowned for its distinctive musical style passed from generation to generation, as well as its structure and history. Formed in 1842 by Otto Nicolai and members of the Imperial Court Opera Orchestra as a professional orchestra for the performance of symphonic repertoire (which until that time had not existed in Vienna), the orchestra’s initial objective was to perform symphonies by Mozart and Beethoven in their own city. Assuming all responsibility and risk, the musicians formed a democratic orchestra and a “founding document” outlining a self-governing administration (which will be on display during the exhibit) was drafted by Otto Nicolai. The document, which is followed by the orchestra to this day, stipulates that only musicians of the opera orchestra can become members of the Philharmonic; that musicians organize and present their concerts autonomously; and that they divide earnings among themselves. Members of the Vienna Philharmonic have long selected conductors of distinction to lead the orchestra, beginning with Otto Nicolai who served as its first conductor. With the introduction of subscription concerts in 1860, conductors were chosen to be engaged for an entire season, and in 1933, the orchestra adopted a system of engaging only guest conductors. Those who have led the Vienna Philharmonic throughout its history include Wagner, Verdi, Bruckner, Brahms, Richter, Mahler, Furtwängler, Krauss, Toscanini, Kleiber, Szell, Walter, and Bernstein, among others. Today, the Vienna Philharmonic presents more than 40 concerts annually at the Musikverein in Vienna, performs over 50 concerts on tour around the world, and appears every summer (since 1922) at the Salzburg Festival. With numerous benefit concerts at home and on tour, today’s Vienna Philharmonic is much more than Austria’s most coveted “cultural export.” Orchestra members are considered ambassadors, expressing through their performances the ideals of peace, humanity, and reconciliation. Examples of this are a historic performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Sir Simon Rattle in 2000 at Mauthausen, the former site of Austria’s largest concentration camp during World War II; annual concerts in New York City benefiting the American Austrian Foundation/Salzburg Cornell (Medical Seminars); and, beginning in 1999, an annual donation of partial proceeds from the New Year’s Concerts to a variety of humanitarian organizations. The Vienna Philharmonic has been Goodwill Ambassadors for the World Health Organization since 2005 and in 2006, became supporters of the “Hear the World” initiative, a hearing awareness campaign. For the past five years, the orchestra has performed benefit concerts for victims of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and reactor disaster in Japan, and in 2016, the orchestra helped restore and open the Philharmonic House for Asylum Seekers in St. Aegyd Austria.

About the Austrian Cultural Forum New York
With its architectural landmark building in Midtown Manhattan, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York is dedicated to innovative and cutting-edge programming, showcasing the best of Austrian contemporary art, music, literature, performance, and academic thought in New York and throughout the United States. In addition to presenting three group exhibitions per year in its multi-level gallery space and housing around ­­­­­­­10,000 volumes of Austriaca in its state-of-the-art library, it hosts over 100 free events per year in its own auditorium and supports at least as many projects at partner institutions across the nation.

Visit for more information.

# # #