Austrian conductor Franz Welser-Moest will be responsible for the world-famous New Year's Concert which will be broadcast as far as Uruguay and Australia.
This will be the first time that Welser-Moest, 50, has the honour of conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in its traditional New Year's waltz fest.
AdvertisementThe cultural event, broadcast in over 70 countries as well as on the Internet, is expected to draw some 50 million viewers and listeners, from Albania and Australia to India, China, Russia and the United States.
It will also be shown for the second time in high-definition (HD) on the Internet site of Austrian broadcaster ORF (http:/TVthek.ORF.at).
Welser-Moest, only the sixth Austrian to conduct a New Year's Concert, follows in the footsteps of giants such as Herbert von Karajan, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta and Georges Pretre, who conducted this year's event.
But at a press conference on Monday, he was keen to point out a more personal link to the composers whose waltzes are performed in Vienna's gilded Musikverein hall every January 1.
"My great-grandmother ran a ballroom where Johann Strauss Senior performed, and where Johann Strauss Junior gave his first public concert," Welser-Moest said happily.
Selected -- as were his predecessors -- by the Philharmonic's musicians, who have managed the orchestra since 1842, Welser-Moest will be the 15th conductor to lead a New Year's Concert since the first in 1939.
Alongside the old Strauss favourites, the 2011 edition will bring a few novelties to the programme, such as the First Mephisto Waltz by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, who celebrates his 200th birthday next year.
The ballet interludes were choreographed by former Paris Opera dancer Jean-Guillaume Bart -- another premiere -- with costumes by South Africa's Johan Engels.
The sumptuous floral decorations in the Musikverein's Golden Hall, on the other hand, will be created for the 30th time by the Italian Riviera town of San Remo.
Aside from a cultural event, the New Year's Concert is also a big money-making operation.
The CDs and DVDs, set for release on January 7 and 14 respectively, always sell well.
As every year, tickets for the performance, which kicks off at 11:15 am (1015 GMT) on January 1, were sold out a year in advance.