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Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra


‘His [Eschenbach’s] approach is fundamentally objective, confident, sharp-edged, and analytical, and yet there is no mistaking the underlying emotional thrust.’ Gramophone 

‘Matthias Goerne, perhaps the greatest lieder singer of today.’ Chicago Sun Times


9 October 2011 (Sun) 8pm
Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
$2000, $1650, $1300, $1000, $650, $300

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Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
Baritone: Matthias Goerne

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The Legendary Viennese Sound 

Conductor Hans Knapperbusch simply described it as ‘Incomparable’. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is undoubtedly one of the finest orchestras in the world. It has a special reputation based on its historical association with some of the greatest composers, including Brahms, Richard Strauss and Mahler. The roster of conductors it has worked with is no less glittering. In its anticipated return concert, the orchestra, under the baton of the great German conductor Christoph Eschenbach, will perform some of the classic works in the Austro-German repertoire. The orchestra gives only one concert in Hong Kong, a chance that should not be missed. 





Tragic Overture


Symphony No. 8, ‘Unfinished’


11 songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn



Der Schildwache Nachtlied






Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen



Das irdische Leben






Lied des Verfolgten im Turm



Verlor'ne Müh!



Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt



Lob des hohen Verstandes






Der Tamboursg’sell

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Details of Performing Groups

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 over 160 year history, the musicians of this most prominent orchestra of the capital city of music have been an integral part of a musical epoch which due to an abundance of uniquely 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 pre-eminent musical personalities of the past. Richard Wagner described the orchestra as being 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 together through "the bonds of musical art"; and Richard Strauss summarized these sentiments by saying: "All praise of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra reveals itself as understatement."


When Hans Knappertsbusch said that the Philharmonic was "incomparable," his comment was correct in more ways than one. One notable aspect of this incomparability is certainly the unique relationship between the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and the private association known as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. In accordance with Philharmonic statutes, only a member of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra can become a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Before joining the Philharmonic therefore, one must first successfully audition for a position with the State Opera Orchestra and prove oneself capable over a period of three years before becoming eligible to submit an application for membership in the association of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Without the Vienna State Opera there would be no Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as we know it, and in Vienna it is common knowledge that this symbiosis is advantageous for both institutions, and that it greatly enriches the city's musical life.



Since its inception through Otto Nicolai in 1842, the fascination which the orchestra has exercised upon prominent composers and conductors, as well as on audiences all over the world, is based not only on a homogenous musical style which is carefully bequeathed from one generation to the next, but also on its unique structure and history. The desire to provide artistically worthy performances of the symphonic works of Mozart and Beethoven in their own city led to the decision on the part of the court opera musicians to present a "Philharmonic" concert series independent of their work at the opera, and upon their own responsibility and risk. The organizational form chosen for this new enterprise was democracy, a concept which in the political arena was the subject of bloody battles only six years later.


Over the course of 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 full orchestra membership itself. In addition to the yearly general business meeting (required by law), several additional meetings of the full orchestra take place during the year. At these meetings, any and every issue may be brought up and voted upon. In actual practice, numerous decisions are delegated to the 12 elected members of the administrative committee. These members find out at periodically scheduled elections if their decision-making still inspires the trust of the entire orchestra. With the exception of changes to the statutes, which require a 4/5 majority, all decisions are made based on a simple majority, and the execution of those votes is the responsibility of the administrative committee. While the expansion into a mid-sized business enterprise has required the hiring of some extra administrative personnel, it is nevertheless the elected officials, members of the orchestra alone who make decisions and carry ultimate responsibility.


The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has made it its mission to communicate the humanitarian message of music into the daily lives and consciousness of its listeners. In 2005 the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra was named Goodwill Ambassador of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The musicians endeavour to implement the motto with which Ludwig von Beethoven, whose symphonic works served as a catalyst for the creation of the orchestra, prefaced his Missa Solemnis - "From the heart, to the heart".



Christoph Eschenbach


In demand as a distinguished guest conductor with the finest orchestras and opera houses throughout the world, Christoph Eschenbach begins his tenure as Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra as well as Music Director of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Since his appointment to these positions in 2008, he has been playing a key role in planning future seasons, international festivals and special projects for these two prestigious institutions.



In 2009-10 Eschenbach returned to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on three occasions in Vienna and Salzburg; the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he served as Music Director from 2003 to 2008; the London Philharmonic at Royal Festival Hall and on a tour of China; the Staatskapelle Dresden; and the NDR Symphony Orchestra, where he was as Music Director from 1998 to 2004, to name just several engagements.


Highlights of 2010-11 include an engagement at the Paris Opera conducting Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler; a tour of Europe with the Staatskapelle Dresden; two weeks with the Orchestre de Paris, the ensemble he led as music director between 2000 and 2010; performances of Messiaen’s Tunangalîla Symphony with the National Symphony Orchestra as part of the Kennedy Center’s India Festival; and concerts with the Munich Philharmonic, the NDR Symphony, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the London Philharmonic and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. Principal Conductor of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival International Orchestral Academy since 2004, he also appears regularly in Germany and on tour with the SHMF Orchestra.


As a pianist, he continues his fruitful collaboration with baritone Matthias Goerne. The duo is recording Schubert's three song cycles - Die Schöne Müllerin, Die Winterreise, and Schwanengesang, the first installment of which was released in May 2009 to critical acclaim. In the summer of 2010, they performed the complete cycle in three recitals (and Eschenbach played Schubert monumental Sonata in B-flat, D960) at the Salzburg Music Festival, where Eschenbach also conducted two concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.


A prolific recording artist over five decades, Eschenbach has an impressive discography as both a conductor and a pianist on a number of prominent labels. His recordings include works ranging from J.S. Bach to music of our time and reflect his commitment to not just canonical works but the music of the late-20th and early-21st-century as well. Eschenbach's discography includes recordings with the Orchestre de Paris, and with the London Symphony, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hamburg NDR Symphony and the Houston Symphony, among many others. Over the past five years, there are 16 critically acclaimed recordings featuring Eschenbach with the Orchestre de Paris and the Philadelphia Orchestra, a number of which have received prestigious honours including BBC Magazine “Disc of the Month,” Gramophone “Editors Choice,” and the German Record Critics’ Award, among others. His recent recording of the music of Kaija Saariaho with the Orchestre de Paris and soprano Karita Mattila won the 2009 MIDEM Classical Award in Contemporary Music.



Mentored by George Szell and Herbert von Karajan, Eschenbach held the posts of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Tonhalle Orchestra from 1982 to 1986; Music Director of the Houston Symphony from 1988 to 1999; Music Director of the Ravinia Festival from 1994 to 2003; and Artistic Director of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival from 1999 to 2002. His many honours include the Légion d’Honneur; Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; the Officer's Cross with Star and Ribbon of the German Order of Merit; and the Commander's Cross of the German Order of Merit for outstanding achievements as pianist and conductor. He also received the Leonard Bernstein Award from the Pacific Music Festival, where he was co-artistic director from 1992 to 1998.



Matthias Goerne


Highly praised for his warm, fluid baritone voice and his profound interpretations, Matthias Goerne is one of the most internationally sought-after vocalists and a frequent guest at renowned festivals and concert halls including Carnegie Hall, New York, Wigmore Hall, London, and Teatro alla Scala, Milano.


Conductors of first rank such as Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa and Simon Rattle as well as eminent pianists such as Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Leif Ove Andsnes, Alfred Brendel and Christoph Eschenbach are among his musical partners.


Goerne performs with leading orchestras including the foremost American orchestras such as Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony as well as London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris. Tours and guest appearances have led him in recent years throughout the whole of Europe, to the United States, Asia and also to Australia.


Since his opera debut at the Salzburg Festival in 1997 Goerne has appeared on principal opera stages in the world, among others, at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, Teatro Real in Madrid, the Paris National Opera, the Vienna State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. His carefully chosen roles range from Papageno and Wolfram right up to the title roles in Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, Paul Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler and Aribert Reimann’s Lear.


Goerne’s successful performance has been documented in numerous CD recordings, many of which have received prestigious awards. Currently he records a series of 11 CDs with selected Schubert songs (“The Goerne/Schubert Edition”).


From 2001 through 2005 Goerne taught as an honorary professor for song interpretation at the Robert Schumann Academy of Music in Duesseldorf. In 2001 Goerne was appointed Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music in London. Born in Weimar, he studied with Hans-Joachim Beyer in Leipzig, with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

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Programme Length

Running time of the concert is about 2 hours with an intermission of 20 minutes.  Audience are strongly advised to arrive punctually.  No latecomers will be admitted until the interval or a suitable break in the programme.

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Ticket and Concession

Tickets available from 11 August onwards at all URBTIX outlets, on Internet and by Credit Card Telephone Booking.

On the first counter booking day: 11 August, each patron can purchase up to a maximum of 6 tickets of the concert per transaction.

Half-price tickets available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and the minder, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (Limited tickets for full-time students and CSSA recipients available on a first-come-first-served basis)

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Concert Plus

9 October 2011 (Sun) 
Piazza, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

7pm  Pre-concert Talk (Conducted in Cantonese)
        From Vienna to Victoria Harbour: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the Stars
        Speaker: Dr Oliver Chou (Senior Writer at South China Morning Post & Music Columnist at
        Yazhou Zhoukan)

8pm  Live Relay

Admission free. Seats available on a first-come-first-served basis.

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Programme Enquiries: 2268 7321    

Ticketing Enquiries: 2734 9009 

Credit Card Telephone Booking: 2111 5999 

Internet Booking:


The presenter reserves the right to change the programme and substitute artists should unavoidable circumstances make it necessary. 




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