Updated: Dec 28, 2022
By Alkis Karmpaliotis
NYC High School Student
Founder of Appreciate Opera.org
Conducting the spectacular Vienna Philharmonic New Year's celebration concerts — performed on December 30, December 31, and January 1 (the third of which is internationally televised) — has for decades been considered a great honor. The long list of past conductors includes Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, and Daniel Barenboim, among other all-time great baton wavers. The next guest conductor is announced right after the New Year's Day concert, and since 1987, the orchestra has elected a different maestro each year.
Because of the tradition of inviting a different guest each year, Franz Welser-Möst is eliminated from contention as he is leading the 2023 festivities.
So who might conduct the 2023-24 concerts?
Nelsons is arguably the Vienna Philharmonic’s favorite conductor. Because of this, he is my favorite to conduct next year's concert. He conducted the 2022 Sommernachtskonzert at Schönbrunn Palace and is slated to perform with the orchestra many times this upcoming season. He conducted the New Year’s Concert in 2020 – who’s to say he won’t come back for another run?
This is, in my opinion, a two-horse race between Nelsons and Christian Thielemann, who conducted the concert in 2019. Thielemann is one of the most well-respected conductors in Vienna, having, like Nelsons, recorded a full Beethoven symphony cycle with the Vienna Philharmonic. He is touring with the orchestra this season – and will give a few performances at Carnegie Hall in March 2023.
Jordan is scheduled to conduct several concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic this season, and with the Swiss conductor and pianist recently being named music director of the Wiener Staatsoper, this certainly could be his year.
The young music director of the Royal Opera House is scheduled to conduct several subscription concerts in Vienna this season, as well as a European tour – but he is far more likely to conduct the Sommernachtskonzert than the New Year’s Concert.
Chailly has been a longtime friend of the Vienna Philharmonic but has never conducted the New Year’s Concert.
Blomstedt has been one of the world’s most renowned conductors for decades. The 95-year-old has to conduct the New Year’s Concert at some point, doesn’t he?
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