Dudamel takes baton for New Year’s concert

Gustavo Dudamel will become the youngest ever conductor to lead the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s (VPO) annual New Year’s Concert. The musical extravaganza on 1 January is now in its 75th year, and past editions have featured conductors such as Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim and Zubin Mehta.

The 35-year-old first conducted VPO in 2007, and led its celebrated Summer Night Concert in 2012. He also took charge of its Vienna Philharmonic Week in Japan in 2014.

‘It’s an honour,’ said Dudamel in an interview with the Irish Independent. ‘It’s a symbol of the future because an institution so traditional, a concert also very traditional with conductors who are also very traditional, suddenly it’s chosen a young man.’

The programme includes a selection of works by Johann Strauss Snr and Johann Strauss Jnr, as well as pieces from Franz von Suppé, Carl Michael Ziehrer and Otto Nicolai. It will be broadcast live in over 90 countries around the world, with an expected viewing audience of 50 million.