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On December 17 and 18, 2008, the Vienna Philharmonic participated in a particularly moving concert event. As a part of the 4th Philharmonic Soirée and a concert for the Society of Friends of Music, Alfred Brendel made his last public appearance. This great master of the piano, who has been an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic since 1998, selected Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Concerto in E-flat Major, KV 271 ("Jenamy"), as well as encores from Schubert, Beethoven, Bach/Busoni and Liszt to constitute his farewell from the concert stage. The conductor for these memorable concerts was Sir Charles Mackerras, who conducted in addition Mozart's "great" G Minor Symphony, KV 550, as well as the Symphony No. 4 in C Minor, D 417 ("Tragic") by Franz Schubert.
This final concert, which was attended by the President of Austria, Dr. Heinz Fischer, as well as numerous personalities from the international music scene and many former statesmen and politicians such as Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel, Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer, Dr. Wilhelm Molterer, Dr. Ursula Plassnik und Franz Morak, was followed by a reception given for Alfred Brendel in the Glass Hall of the Musikverein, where the former chancellor Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer presented him with the Honorary Cross for Sciences and the Arts 1st Class.