Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews returns for the third time to host the merry annual New Year's celebration with the Vienna Philharmonic, under the direction of Mariss Jansons from Vienna's Musikverein. This is Jansons' second time at the podium of this much cherished event. The famed Vienna Boys' Choir will add their celestial voices to the gala.
From Vienna: The New Year's Celebration 2012, featuring the infectious melodies of the Strauss Family and contemporaries, will air live Sunday, January 1 at 2:30 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) with an encore performance that evening at 7:30 p.m. (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the broadcast at 9 p.m.)
Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers.
The venerable concert is the largest world-wide event in classical music reaching over a billion people annually through radio and television in 72 countries. The Vienna Philharmonic's traditional New Year's program has showcased Viennese musical culture at the highest level, and since the first television broadcast in 1959, sent the world a New Year's greeting in the spirit of hope, friendship and peace. (The telecast has been a Great Performances tradition on PBS since 1985.)
Andrews is delighted to return to Vienna for what has become for her a most pleasurable tradition. "It is always a privilege and a wonderful spoiling to visit Vienna, especially at holiday time. The sights and sounds are glorious and I bask in the irresistible music all around me, particularly the beautiful Strauss waltzes."
She has been a frequent and luminous presence on Great Performances, starting with "An Evening with Alan Jay Lerner" (1989); "Julie Andrews in Concert" (1990); "Some Enchanted Evening: Celebrating Oscar Hammerstein II" (1995); "Back on Broadway" which spotlighted her return to the Great White Way in "Victor/Victoria" (1995); "Hey, Mr. Producer! The Musical World of Cameron Mackintosh" (1998); "My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies" (1999); its follow-up "My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs" (2001); and the restoration of the classic 1957 "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella" (2004). She also hosted the Emmy Award-winning series Broadway: The American Musical in 2004.
As is customary with these broadcasts, Ms. Andrews will travel from her home base in the Musikverein hall itself to visit multiple picturesque Vienna landmarks: a steam railway for Lumbye's "Steam Railway" gallop; the Belvedere Palace for the three ballet sequences, choreographed by Davide Bombana; and the Augarten Palais, home of The Vienna Boys' Choir.
The Vienna Boys' Choir is one of the oldest boys' choirs existing in the world since 1498 when Maximilian I called the first dozen boys to the court as members of the newly formed court music band. Numerous vocalists, violinists, conductors, and pianists have sung in their ranks: Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Karl Zeller, Hans Richter, Lovro von Matacic and Clemens Krauss. In the days of the First Republic they were regarded as Austria's "singing ambassadors." Since those days the Vienna Boys' Choir has given concerts under nearly all the great conductors of this century: Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Herbert von Karajan, Carlos Kleiber, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti and Sir George Solti. And, every Sunday the Vienna Boys' Choir sing solemn mass in Vienna's Hofburg chapel, continuing a tradition unbroken since 1498.
Since the autumn of 2003, Mariss Jansons has been the principal conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and since September 2004 principal conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, therefore presiding over two of Europe's most prestigious orchestras, both steeped in tradition.
From 1979 up to the year 2000, Jansons was music director of the Oslo Philharmonic, which during his tenure became an international orchestra of note. He was also involved with the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic as permanent conductor from 1971 until 1999. In addition to that he also appeared as principal guest conductor for the London Philharmonic Orchestra between 1992 and 1997. From 1997 until 2004 he was Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Mariss Jansons has worked together with the world's most important orchestras, guesting with great success for leading American and European orchestras.
Jansons first conducted the New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic in 2006.
On January 10, Sony Classical will release the live recording via CD-on-demand exclusively at Amazon.com and ArkivMusic and through all major digital service providers, followed by a nationwide CD release on January 24, and DVD and Blu-ray on February 7th.
Great Performances is funded by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, Vivian Milstein, Vera von Kuffner Eberstadt, The Starr Foundation and the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, public television viewers, and PBS. Exclusive corporate support for the concert is provided by Rolex.
From Vienna: The New Year's Celebration is directed by Karina Fibich, with John Walker as producer/writer. For Great Performances, John Walker and Cara Cosentino are producers; Bill O'Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.
Visit Great Performances Online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information about this and other programs.
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