In a first time, Vienna Philharmonic presents New Year’s concert without live audience

The 2021 edition of the Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Concert took place on Friday, without any live audience in the “Golden Hall” of the Musikverein in Vienna, under the baton of Italian conductor Riccardo Muti.

Daniel Froschauer, the Vienna Philharmonic’s chairman of the board as well as the first violinist, at the concert said “As an ambassador of music and together with maestro Muti we would like to send a message of hope and optimism through our concert,”.

“The music of the New Year’s Concert has carried us through dark days as well as joyous times. In this sense, we wish you a very unforgettable New Year’s Concert, a happy new year, and a healthy new year,” he added.

For the first time in its 81-year history since the event started in 1939, the New Year’s Concert by Vienna Philharmonic took place in front of empty ranks in the “Golden Hall” of the Musikverein in Vienna. In Austria, owing to high rates of COVID-19 infection, no concerts could be performed before audiences until 18 Jan 2021. The musicians and staff of the Vienna Philharmonic were subjected to a regime of daily COVID-19 test to ensure the safety of the New Year’s Concert.

Despite the absence of an in-house audience this year, classical music lovers worldwide were able to enjoy the concert and applaud the musicians from their homes.

Around 7,000 people from 90 countries and regions, registered online to send audio broadcasts of themselves applauding from their homes which were played several times through the sound system in the “Golden Hall”. All musicians present there and an estimated 30 to 50 million online audience were able to share their delight.

It marked the sixth time that of his conducting the prestigious New Year’s concert when conductor Muti raised his baton.

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