© WPH / Jeannette Handler
≡ InfoBall der Wiener Philharmoniker
The first highlight of the evening's festivities is the ceremonial opening in the Golden Hall. The areas around the main floor and on the upper level fill an hour beforehand with guests securing for themselves a good vantage point from which to view the proceedings. Richard Strauss composed a festive fanfare for the first ball in 1924, and this work has been performed at every ball since that time. When the brass players of the Philharmonic begin the fanfare from the balcony overlooking the hall, the entrance of the guests of honor begins.
At the head of this long procession is the evening's Honorary Conductor. In contrast to its concerts, the Philharmonic sits in the middle of the dance floor on this occasion, in order to make room on the stage for the guests of honor, which include numerous luminaries from the world of art, politics, and society, as well as supporters of the orchestra who comprise the membership of the ball's Patronage and Honorary Committee. Once all prominent guests are seated, the Honorary Conductor leads the Philharmonic in a performance of a popular composition from the orchestra's repertoire.