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On February 21, 2012, the Vienna Philharmonic embarked on an extended concert tour to Scandanavia and the United States which commemorated a significant anniversary. On May 19/20, 1962, the 32 -year old Lorin Maazel filled in for Herbert von Karajan in the last subscription concert of the season, conducting Mozart's Symphony in G minor, KV 550, as well as Claude Debussy's "Prelude a I'apres-midi d'un Faune" and "La Mer". Since then, Maazel has conducted 76 additional subscription concerts, three Philharmonic soirées, and an additional 235 concerts at home and abroad, as well as 86 opera performances at the Salzburg Festival. This "Golden Anniversary" was marked by a Philharmonic ceremony on February 18th; the 7th Subscription Concert on February 18/19th; and the anniversary tour, which concluded with the 24th Vienna Philharmonic Week in New York.
The programs of the tour were representative of our artistic collaboration over the past decades. The first concerts were played in Oslo and Stockholm on February 21/22nd, in which Mozart's G minor Symphony and the "Ring Without Words", the symphonic synthesis of music from Richard Wagner's tetralogy "The Ring of the Nibelungen", were performed. The concert in Stockholm was followed by a disconcerting piece of news. Lorin Maazel was forced to cancel the concerts in Helsinki, Copenhagen und Aalborg of February 24th to 26th, for which had been planned the Mozart and Wagner program as well as two performances of a program including the Symphonies No. 7 in C major, No. 5 in E-flat major and No. 1 in E minor by Jean Sibelius, and enter hospital in the United States. Within only a few hours, business manager Prof. Dieter Flury, assisted by the Askonas Holt Agency, was able to find a replacement. The 47 year old Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo, whose appointment as Music Director of the BBC Orchestra London had just been announced on February 24th, filled in, and with only one rehearsal conducted the Sibelius program three times, with the "Tritsch-Tratsch" Polka, op. 214, by Johann Strauss as an encore.
In the United States, the orchestra's Honorary Member Lorin Maazel returned to the podium and conducted the four concerts as planned, in the same sovereign manner which has fascinated orchestras and audiences for the past several decades. At the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where the orchestra had last appeared in 2003 with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Mozart's Figaro Overture and the Symphony in G minor were performed, as well as the First Symphony of Sibelius and the "Rosenkavalier" Suite by Richard Strauss. The encore was the "Blue Danube" Waltz. The 24th Vienna Philharmonic Week in New York took place from March 2nd through 4th, and as in nearly all previous years, included three different concert programs - the three Sibelius symphonies, the afore-mentioned works of Mozart and Wagner and a program devoted to compositions by Richard and Johann Strauss. After "Death and Transfiguration" and the "Rosenkavalier" Suite by Richard Strauss, the second half included including the "Fledermaus" Overture, the "Secunden" Polka, op. 258, the "Emperor" Waltz, op. 437, the Csárdás from "Die Fledermaus", the "Tritsch-Tratsch" Polka and the "Blue Danube" Waltz. "Perpetuum mobile", op. 257, and the fast polka "Éljen a Magyar!", op. 332, were the encores which concluded this year's Vienna Philharmonic Week in New York.