Strauss Festival Orchestra Vienna
Founded in 1978 by artistic director/conductor Peter Guth and Managing Director/oboist Herbert Vedral, the Strauss Festival Orchestra has, through its numerous concert appearances at noteworthy music festivals and on television, tours throughout Europe, Asia and America, as well as with its many CD productions, earned an international reputation for its authentic interpretation of Viennese music. The SFO sparkles with its wide range of repertoire, from the classical period to the music of the Strauss dynasty to the Viennese Operette. Peter Guth conducts from his position as principal Violinist accordingly, faithfully maintaining the tradition of Johann Strauss. And with a contingent of prominent experienced Viennese musicians, the Strauss Festival Orchestra, meeting the highest artistic demands, maintains its foremost position among a multitude of similar ensembles.
Guth and his colleagues earned some special recognition when they acted as pioneers of a cultural exchange program with China. They haye journeyed there seven times since 1993, more than any other orchestra. Through television appearances in China, they have achieved a certain stardom and have made many public appearances alongside noteworthy Chinese musicians. On the occasion of The Strauss Jubilee Year 1999, Vienna's mayor Dr. Michael Häupl and his wife assumed the honorary presidency of the Orchestra.
The SFO, in addition to the annual tours in Europe, Japan and China, acted as musical ambassadors of the city of Vienna, making numerous appearances including the commemoration ceremony of the 100th anniversary of Strauss' death in the Vienna town hall. The Strauss Festival Orchestra's first tour to South America was a huge success. Following such spectacular concerts as those in Buenos Aires and the open-air concert for 20,000 people in Sao Paulo, the SFO was invited back for another tour in 2000. Another spectacular event in 1999 was the Strauss-Gershwin Gala. Taking place in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musical Society (Wiener Musikverein), this was a co-production between Austrian television's ORF and the "Salute to Vienna" Concerts, under the patronage of US President Bill Clinton and Austrian President Thomas Klestil. Also appearing were the Wiener Sängerknaben together with the Boys Choir of Harlem as well as many other soloists from both countries. Legendary film Star Gregory Peck hosting the festivities made the Gala an extraordinary media event. As the crowning finish to The Strauss Jubilee Year and to mark the Start of a new millennium, the SFO were invited by the Vienna Association of the Concert Hall (Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft) to perform, on the 30th of December 1999 and on the Ist of January 2000, the first New Year's concerts ever to feature exclusively Viennese music. This recording, live from the grand hall of the Vienna Concert House, allows the listener to participate in every aspect of the titillating atmosphere of this concert, from its enraptured audience to its remarkable conclusion. The grace and beauty of an unadulterated sound, Viennese charm and musical joy are trademarks of this Orchestra. Without false sentiment, loyal to tradition but nevertheless playing to a modern Standard, the Strauss Festival Orchestra earns the appreciation and enthusiasm of all who listen. Among the top European ensembles, the Strauss Festival Orchestra keeps the Viennese music culture alive and ensures a continuing fascination of Viennese music.
Peter Guth - conductor
Educated at the Musikakademie in Vienna and the Konservatorium in Moscow, where he studied for three years under David Oistrach, Peter Guth achieved success as a soloist and as a member of the Wiener Trio. Instructional work, publications about modern violin methodic theory, activities as an avid proponent of modern music, as well as his earlier distinction of being the first Principal Violinist of the RSO in Vienna rounds off the portrait of this versatile and well-known Austrian musician. As artistic director/conductor of the Strauss Festival Orchestra of Vienna and through repeated invitations to appear as guest conductor by more than 100 renowned symphony orchestras, Peter Guth has established his exceptional career in the most important music capitals in the world. Concert tours and award-winning television and CD productions bring him together with many internationally renowned orchestras, such as the Royal Philharmonie Orchestra of London, the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo and the San Francisco Symphony. With unparalleled style and with the help of his wide ränge of musical experience, Peter Guth became one of the first exponents of Viennese Music. In 1999, the Strauss Jubilee Year, Peter Guth condueted more than 104 concerts around the world making his third appearance as guest conduetor for the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and beginnintg the year with New Years concerts in New York and Philadelphia. Other highlights of the year included a Fledermaus (The Bat) production, Vienna's official contribution to the Strauss Jubilee Year, performed in Jerusalem, Gala concerts with the Radio Orchestras of Frankfurt, Leipzig and Stuttgart as well as with the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira in Rio de Janeiro and the Orquesta Filarmönica de Gran Canaria and of course the many important concerts by the Strauss Festival Orchestra.
Perhaps this production of the New Years concert of the Strauss Festival Orchestra, recorded live from the Vienna Concert House, can illustrate why Gramophone magazine, in the April 1999 edition, wrote: "Guth is surely the most stylish Straussitm around these days."
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