The European Broadcasting Union signed a 5-year distribution agreement with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under which it acquired TV and radio broadcast rights for a package of three classical concerts per year. EBU Members in over 40 territories subscribe to this package. More than double that number outside the EBU area also broadcast the annual New Year's Day Concert.
Broadcast live from the ornate Musikverein concert hall in Vienna, the New Year’s Day Concert is one of the most sought-after TV properties in the world, achieving staggering market shares of over 50% in a number of territories and reaching over 20 million viewers in Europe alone. The orchestra performs a different musical programme every year with works from the vast repertoire of the Johann Strauss family and its contemporaries under the baton of the world’s most prestigious conductors, recently including Franz Welser-Möst (2011 and 2013), Mariss Jansons (2012), Daniel Barenboim (2014) and Zubin Mehta (2015).
The 2018 Concert was broadcast in over 90 countries, thanks to the Eurovision and Euroradio networks, and conducted by Italian conductor Riccardo Muti, who has been working with the Vienna Philharmonic since 1971. Riccardo Muti has conducted over 500 concerts with the orchestra and has even been named an 'Honorary Member' of the Vienna Philharmonic. This was his fifth New Year’s Concert (following the concerts in 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2004).
Johann Strauss: Entrance March of the operetta ‘The Gypsy Baron‘
Josef Strauss: Vienna Frescos, waltz, op. 249
Johann Strauss: Bridal Parade, polka française, op. 417
Johann Strauss: Light of Heart, quick polka, op. 319
Johann Strauss: Sr Mary Waltzes, op. 212
Johann Strauss: Sr William Tell Gallop, op. 29b
Franz von Suppé: Overture of the operetta ‘Boccaccio’
Johann Strauss: Myrtle Flowers, waltz, op. 395
Alphons Czibulka: Stephanie-Gavotte, op. 312
Johann Strauss: Magic Bullets, quick polka, op. 326
Johann Strauss: Tales from Vienna Woods, waltz, op. 325
Johann Strauss: Festive March, op. 452
Johann Strauss: Town and Country, polka mazurka, op. 322
Johann Strauss: Un ballo in maschera, quadrille, op. 272
Johann Strauss: Roses From the South, waltz, op. 388 Josef Strauss Eingesendet, quick polka, op. 240
Johann Strauss: Under Thunder and Lightning, quick polka op. 324
Johann Strauss: On the Beautiful Blue Danube, op. 314
Johann Strauss: Sr Radetzky March, op.228
The filming of this year’s ballet scenes for the New Year’s Concert took place at two locations in Vienna. Ten soloists from the Vienna State Ballet performed a dance for the waltz 'Rosen aus dem Süden' by Johann Strauss at the Schloss Eckartsau. At the second location, the Hietzinger Hofpavillon, a pas de deux was danced to 'Stéphanie-Gavotte' by Alphons Czibulka. The Italian artist Davide Bombana is responsible for ballet choreography for this year’s concert. Henning Kasten, previously the ORF TV Director for the Summer Night Concert, has taken charge of the TV direction for the first time. The ballet costumes were created by Catalan costume designer Jordi Roig.
The second concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra package is the annual Summer Night Concert, an outdoor production from the gardens of Vienna’s picturesque Schönbrunn Castle that attracts a live audience of over 100,000, in addition to several million TV viewers. Like the New Year’s Day concert, TV production is by Austrian EBU member ORF, and the concert is carried to audiences around the world via the Eurovision satellite network.
A third concert is produced each year from a different international location, in partnership with a local host broadcaster. Recent concerts offered to EBU package subscribers include a memorable performance of Mahler’s 9th symphony in the centenary year of the composer’s death, (Madrid, 2011), Bernard Haitink conducting the orchestra at the BBC Proms in London (2012) and a high-profile commemoration concert in the centenary of the outbreak World War I, from Sarajevo in 2014. In 2015, the third concert was a co-production between EBU’s Danish and Finnish Members (DR and YLE) and the VPO. ‘The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Scandinavia’ was conducted by Franz Welser-Möst and filmed at the Koncerthuset in Copenhagen and the Musiikkitalo in Helsinki.