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Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (in German: Wiener Philharmoniker) is the best known orchestra in Austria and one of Europe's major ensembles. Its home base is the world-famous Musikverein. The members of the orchestra are chosen from the Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera.

Although the orchestra is widely acknowledged as one of the world's finest, it has come in for some criticism because until recently it has not allowed women to play in it. Some people associated with the organization have also been criticised for saying that it is important to maintain the ethnic uniformity of the orchestra (that is, white Europeans) in order to maintain high playing standards. The violinist Fritz Kreisler was turned down when he applied for a chair in the string section, and though Gustav Mahler converted from Judaism the year before he was appointed conductor, he only held the post for four seasons.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Conductors
3 Selection of recordings
4 External links

History

The orchestra can trace its origins back to 1842, when Otto Nicolai formed what he called a "Philharmonic Academy"; it was an orchestra which was fully independent, and which took all its decisions by a democratic vote of all its members. These are principles the orchestra still holds today.

When Nicolai left Vienna in 1847, the orchestra almost folded, and it was not very active until 1860, when Carl Eckert joined as conductor. He gave a series of four subscription concerts, and since then, the orchestra has given concerts continuously.

The orchestra has attracted some very famous and acclaimed conductors. From 1875 to 1882 Hans Richter was principal conductor, and the orchestra gave the premieres of Brahms' second and third symphonies. Gustav Mahler held the post from 1898 to 1901, and under him the orchestra played abroad for the first time (in Paris). Subsequent conductors were Felix von Weingartner (1908-27), Wilhelm Furtwängler (1927-30) and Clemens Krauss (1930-33).

From 1933, the orchestra has had no one principal conductor, but instead has a number of guest conductors. These have included almost a great number of the world's best known conductors, including Richard Strauss, Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, Georg Solti, Leonard Bernstein, and Claudio Abbado.

Since 1941, the orchestra gives a concert on New Year's Day dedicated to the music of the Strauss family, and especially Johann Strauss II, the Vienna New Year's Concert.

Conductors

Principal Conductors

Guest Conductors

Selection of recordings

External links