By Alkis Karmpaliotis
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of AppreciateOpera.org
The Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concert, performed every year at 11:15 AM on January 1 in the iconic Musikverein Wien, is arguably the most famous concert in the world. It consists of a program of waltzes, polkas, and other classic Viennese music. The concert is preceded by a preview performance on December 30 and a New Year's Eve Concert, or Silvesterkonzert.
Conducting the event has long been considered a great honor and high achievement for conductors. As I like to say, if you're on the podium of the Vienna New Year's Concert, you know you've made it as a musician! Since 1987, the Vienna Philharmonic has invited a different conductor each year, typically someone who has worked with the orchestra for at least a decade. Given this tradition, Maestro Christian Thielemann, who is slated to lead the festivities for the second time in 2024, is eliminated from contention. So now the question remains: who will succeed him in 2025?
Andris Nelsons, perhaps the Vienna Philharmonic's favorite conductor to work with, is the safest pick on this list. He made his New Year's Concert debut in 2020 and followed that performance up with an appearance at the 2022 Sommernachtskonzert at Schönnbrunn Palace.
With a partnership dating back to 1961, Zubin Mehta and the Vienna Philharmonic have long been considered a very tight-knit pair. The acclaimed maestro has conducted the New Year's Concert five times, most recently in 2015, and it is very probable that he may be invited back, a decade later, for a sixth appearance.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera and Philadelphia Orchestra, has developed a very close relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic over the last few years, leading their annual concert series at New York's Carnegie Hall in 2022 (in place of Valery Gergiev), and conducting the 2023 Sommernachtskonzert. His reward may be an invitation to the next New Year's Concert.
Philippe Jordan is one of the most sought-after conductors in the world right now and enjoys a close working relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic. He has served as the Music Director of the renowned Wiener Staatsoper since 2020, and a New Year's Concert invitation is practically inevitable.
Other potential debutants include Jakub Hrusa, Daniel Harding, and Herbert Blomstedt!