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Following a rehearsal at the Musikverein on April 27, 2005, Vienna's mayor Dr. Michael Häupl was presented with the Franz Schalk Medal of the Vienna Philharmonic. The award was the result of a decision made at the general meeting of the orchestra on October 27, 2004, and is a response to the manifold activities of the recipient on behalf of the ensemble. The occasion was the commemoration of the mayor's 10 years in the office he assumed on November 7, 1994. During this time he has proved himself often to be a close friend of the orchestra, whether it be through his help in dealing with difficult issues or his public affirmation of this association (Throughout his tenure, he has been one of the most faithful and enthusiastic attendees at the Philharmonic Ball, for example.).
The Franz Schalk Medal was created in 1963 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Franz Schalk (1863-1931), the long-serving first conductor of the Court Opera and the first director of the Vienna State Opera. Between 1918 and 1929, during an extremely difficult time period, Schalk directed the opera while keeping a watchful eye upon the Philharmonic musicians. He delayed the retirement of older players as long as possible to avert possible financial ruin for the affected musicians during the economically catastrophic conditions in the wake of the First World War, and was particularly attentive to the younger players. "Achtet mir auf meine Philharmoniker (look after my Philharmoniker)", he was reported to have said on his death bed, and this moving sentence is the motto inscribed on this medal, which is presented to those personages who have consistently gone out of their way to be of special assistance to the orchestra.