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Barenboim: New Year concert in Vienna is symbol of music's importance

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Star conductor Daniel Barenboim wants to remind people of the importance of music in an upcoming New Year's Day concert in Vienna.

"I hope that it inspires some of the politicians all over the world to really think of the importance of the spiritual need of music for the population," Barenboim told reporters in the Austrian capital on Wednesday.

At the concert on Saturday, the 79-year-old maestro will conduct theVienna Philharmonic through their annual waltz and polka round for the third time, following performances in 2009 and 2014. The concert will be broadcast in 92 countries.

Last year's event under Riccardo Muti took place in front of an empty concert hall due to the pandemic.

This year, the audience is allowed to return, although the number of spectators was reduced to 1,000 at short notice. Around 700 ticketholders were told that they could no longer attend and that a seat would be reserved for them a year later instead.

At events with more than 1,000 people, only those with booster shot scan be allowed in, under the latest rules in Austria.

Because many guests from Germany and Switzerland had not yet received the top-up jab, reducing the number of seats was the best solution, said Philharmonic board member Daniel Froschauer.

"We are lucky that we can do this with 1,000 people because music has to be enjoyed live," Barenboim said.

He also stressed that more must be done for the musical education of children.--dpa

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