Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Vienna Philharmonic’s Annual Summer Night Concert (2021) on GREAT PERFORMANCES, August 27 at 9 pm

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Sony Classical is proud to announce the release of this year’s Summer Night Concert 2021 with the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Daniel Harding with pianist Igor Levit as soloist.


The Summer Night Concert was performed this year on June 18, 2021. It is an annual open-air event, which has been held since 2008. The previous series was the “Concert for Europe”, which took place from 2004 until 2007. The park of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna/Austria is the magical setting for the concert. The illustrious conductors who have previously led the orchestra at this event are Georges Prêtre, Daniel Barenboim, Franz Welser-Möst, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Christoph Eschenbach, Zubin Mehta, Semyon Bychkov and Gustavo Dudamel.

Orchestra Concert at Austria’s Schönbrunn Palace.
Concert at Austria’s Schönbrunn Palace.

Thanks to its UNESCO World Heritage setting in the Baroque park of Schönbrunn with the palace as a backdrop, the Summer Night Concert adds great visual charm to its superb musical quality. This event is classical music at its very best. Millions of viewers and listeners in more than 80 countries can follow the concert online, on TV and radio. Despite the on-going coronavirus pandemic, the Vienna Philharmonic’s 2021 Summer Night Concert was able to take place once again. This time with an increased audience of 3,000 people, allocated to individuals in the medical profession who have been on the front lines during the pandemic and those involved in elementary education, as well as their partners who have made the Summer Night Concert possible. The Vienna Philharmonic devoted this very special concert to the theme of Yearning for Distant Places with musical favorites from Bernstein, Verdi, Rachmaninov, Sibelius, Elgar, Debussy and Holst.

This year’s program featured star pianist Igor Levit. Not only is this his first appearance at a Summer Night Concert, this will also be Igor Levit’s first release of an orchestral recording on Sony Classical. With the Vienna Philharmonic, Igor Levit has been performing on tours around Europe and in the US in 2019. The New York Times describes the pianist as one of the “most important artists of his generation.” Igor Levit is Musical America’s “Recording Artist of the Year 2020” and the 2018 Gilmore Artist. In November 2020 he was nominated for a Grammy in the category “Best Classical Instrumental Solo.”

As a recitalist Igor Levit regularly performs at the world’s most renowned concert halls and festivals. He is regular soloist with the world’s leading orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and of course the Vienna Philharmonic.

Pianist Igor Levit performing
Pianist Igor Levit.

Daniel Harding conducts the Vienna Phil since 2004 and also made his summer night concert debut this year. Since 2007, Daniel Harding CBE is Music and Artistic Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Conductor Laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has worked for over 20 years. A renowned opera conductor, he has led critically acclaimed productions at the Teatro alla Scala Milan, Theater an der Wien, Wiener Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and at the Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg Festivals. He continues to work regularly with the Wiener Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle and the London Symphony Orchestra. In 2018 he was named Artistic Director of the Anima Mundi Festival.

The 177-year old tradition of the Vienna Philharmonic goes back to 1842, when Otto Nicolai conducted a Grand Concert with all members of the imperial “Hof-Operntheater.” This event was originally called “Philharmonic Academy” and is regarded as the origin of the orchestra. Since its founding, the orchestra has been managed by the administrative committee – a democratically elected body – and works with artistic, organizational and financial autonomy. All decisions are reached on a democratic basis during the general meeting of all members.