'Star Wars' tops bill at Vienna Philharmonic's free summer concert

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The Independent Culture

The sounds of Hollywood will ring out in the grounds of Vienna's magnificent Schoenbrunn Palace next month, when the Vienna Philharmonic gives its traditional summer concert, organisers announced Friday.

For this year's Summer Night Concert on June 8, the orchestra - which counts among the world's best - will play excerpts from the music to the blockbuster "Star Wars", it announced at a news conference.

Under the motto "Moon, Planets, Stars", the free open-air concert will be the first time that the Vienna Philharmonic has featured the music of one of Hollywood's best-known composers, John Williams, said the orchestra's chairman Clemens Hellsberg.

Alongside three titles from Williams' "Star Wars" suite, the orchestra will also play "Mars" from Gustav Holst's "The Planets" and waltzes by Josef Strauss and Joseph Lanner. And the Russian-Israeli painist Yefim Bronfman will be the soloist in a performance of Liszt's Second Piano Concerto.

Conductor will be Franz Welser-Moest, the new general music director of the Vienna State Opera.

Originally, the idea of performing the music from "Star Wars" came from the state opera's outgoing chief conductor, Seiji Ozawa. But the Japanese maestro has had to pull out for health reasons and Welser-Moest agreed to replace him.

"Nevertheless, the orchestra wanted to keep 'Star Wars' in the programme," said Hellsberg.

It will be the eighth year that the Vienna Philharmonic has given its free Summer Night Concert, which it sees as complementary to its ultra-exclusive New Year's Eve Concert in the Austrian capital's hallowed Musikverein concert hall.

"A venue like Schoenbrunn and its baroque park is an extraordinary setting in which to show the world what the Vienna Philharmonic, the city of Vienna and the classical music is all about," said Welser-Moest.

This year's concert, which will be broadcast live to around 60 countries, is expected to draw crowds of around 100,000 to Schoenbrunn.